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Duluth Councilors Put Park Point Small Area Plan Talks, Vote on Hold

Updated: 05/12/2014 9:44 PM
Created: 05/12/2014 10:00 PM WDIO.com
By: Alan Hoglund
ahoglund@wdio.com

Talk on a controversial plan laying out potential changes to Duluth's Park Point was put on hold in Monday night's city council meeting.

One of the biggest sticking points for people living there is a proposal to move part of the main road.

After you cross the Aerial Lift Bridge, Lake Avenue continues straight until 13th Street, between hotels and homes. The turn in the road at Franklin Square is often referred to as the "S-curve." 

Included in the Park Point Small Area Plan - tabled in the council meeting - is a proposal to move that curve closer to the bridge.

Keith Hamre, Duluth's director of planning and construction services, said "one proposal is to move the curve from 13th Street to 8th Street, bringing the traffic down to Minnesota Avenue, disconnect that portion of Lake Avenue and make it a pedestrian or bike plaza."

Hamre said residents would still be able to access their homes, but most pedestrians and vehicles would be split.

Shifting the curve is a plan Betty Sola, a resident of Park Point for 19 years, said a majority of her neighbors oppose. They flooded into the hallway outside the city council chambers after Council President Linda Krug announced that their comments wouldn't be heard at the evening's meeting.

Sola said "everybody in the City of Duluth wants a new street; wants their potholes fixed. We want it the way it is. We can see that with the changes they're [the city] recommending, there is going to be even more traffic backup."

Hamre said moving the curve isn't the only option. Another would be improving 8th Street and Minnesota Avenue, making them more bike and pedestrian friendly.

Even if city councilors eventually approve a plan to move the curve, Hamre said it wouldn't happen until after 2021.

The small area plan is up for discussion again on May 27, Hamre said.

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