Regarding the downtown driving lane and roundabout debate in Pelican Rapids…

The safe space for entering and exiting vehicles is non-existent, (in the recent downtown demonstration set up by MnDOT. 

When state workers are too close to traffic in order to keep their workers safe they use safety cones, flagmen, trucks with crash impact bumpers and portable cement dividers. To keep us safe, all we get is a white line. 

On the drawings the state provided every thing centered in their lanes. They had a pickup with mirrors. Why didn’t they show us with the doors open and how close the traffic is? I parked my full size pickup and opened both doors – both doors went beyond the white lines into bike path and traffic lanes. This brings up some questions that should have some answers:

—Why don’t they show us what happens when parked vehicle and traffic are not centered and both crowd the same line?

—What happens when a parent takes a child out of a infant seat and has to step backwards up to get clear of the car and are close to or in the traffic lane (whether centered or not centered perfectly)? 

—What happens when a eighteen foot combine comes through or a four wheel drive tractor with duels? 

—What happens when a person has to get a walker out of the back seat?

—What happens when sixteen by eighty foot mobile home comes through? 

The parking arrangement and personal space for entering and exiting a vehicle with this plan is not a safe plan for us. 

The roundabout is not the answer either. I have talked to no one that is in favor of this calamity. 

One big reason is loss of fourteen parking spaces. Parking spaces generate dollars, this a big negative to our business downtown. Is the highway department going to reimburse the merchants for there loss, (I doubt it}.

I believe roundabouts are safer in rural settings where the vehicles are doing fifty miles per hour or faster and they have to slowdown. 

They tell us the cost of street lights and their maintenance costs but there was no discussion that a cost of a roundabout can be any where from two hundred thousand dollars to 11.4 million dollars. 

There is maintenance with roundabouts as well – plowing snow can add up to several hundred dollars each time its done as it is more difficult to keep the round about clear of snow.

Richard Westby