CROOKSTON – Discussions about short-term solutions for a downtown Crookston intersection where a 10-year-old girl was hit by a semi are underway, says Amy Finch, Crookston city administrator.
Finch gave an update on plans for the North Broadway and Roberts Street intersection Monday, Oct. 11, at a Crookston City Council meeting.
Earlier Monday, Finch met with the city's police chief, public works director, county engineer and representatives from the Minnesota Department of Transportation and SRF Consulting Group, the consultant chosen for an upcoming corridor study on US Highway 2 through downtown Crookston. While the meeting did not result in an immediate plan for the intersection, it got the ball rolling toward a temporary solution to keep pedestrians and cyclists safe in the downtown area.
Late in the afternoon of Oct. 4, Kaylee Acevedo was on her bicycle on the sidewalk in downtown Crookston when she was struck by a semi, according to Minnesota State Patrol Sgt. Jesse Grabow. The semi was traveling westbound on Highway 2 when it attempted to turn onto North Broadway. The back of the truck entered the sidewalk during the turn and Acevedo became entangled in its back tires, according to police. She was dragged about a block and a half.
She was taken to RiverView Health in Crookston, and was later air-lifted to Sanford in Fargo.
Since the incident, some have called for more safety measures on the corner.
One possible short-term solution for the intersection would be to close the right-turn lane at the intersection, making the inside lane a combination through lane and turn lane. The resulting extra space would create a buffer between the sidewalk and traffic. The team also discussed evaluating signal timing to ensure pedestrians have enough time to make it through the intersection before traffic starts.
Finch said the options discussed in the meeting are still being considered, and before being implemented, MnDOT needs to evaluate potential issues that could arise after altering the intersection.
“If I went and threw some cones out today, I don’t have the professional expertise to understand where the transitions should take place,” said Finch. “We want to make sure that the solution we propose and bring forward is also not creating other dangers or moving a dangerous incident to another area.”
The proposed solutions, if deemed safe by MnDOT, would be temporary fixes until the completion of the corridor study, which aims to analyze the impacts of new sidewalks along Highway 2 through downtown Crookston and identify alternatives that are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
City Council member Kristie Jerde asked about the depth of the corridor study, saying she believes the downtown safety issues are more extensive than just the stretch of highway that runs through downtown. She says many people wonder if there is enough signage telling truckers to take the bypass around town.
Council member Joe Kresl echoed Jerde’s concerns, saying that when truckers type destinations into their GPS guidance systems, it routes them through Crookston instead of around the city.
Options for rerouting truck traffic around town also was discussed at Monday's meeting, said Finch, but like the proposal of closing the turn lane, any plans to reroute need to be considered by MnDOT before being implemented. It was determined that the immediate issue with the intersection is that trucks are not able to make the tight corner, so temporary solutions need to focus on alleviating that issue.
“It certainly isn’t the end today, but we wanted to find a solution that we could really focus on that could be implemented quickly to provide some safety on that corner to begin with as we continue to work through those other aspects,” said Finch.
Finch said the team from Monday’s meeting will meet again before the next City Council meeting on Monday, Oct. 25.