Duluth City Council listens to safety concerns about West Skyline

Duluth City Council listens to safety concerns about West Skyline

On Monday, February 26th, Duluth City Council members listened to residents about the safety concerns along West Skyline Parkway, after the tragic passing of Ken Bickel who lost his life after being hit by a car while walking..

It’s been nearly one week since Ken Bickel, a 70-year-old man, was tragically killed walking along West Skyline Parkway. He was hit by a vehicle on Tuesday. Residents hope the Duluth City Council listens to their frustrations.

Cindy Bickel, the sister of Ken, hopes changes happen soon. Concerns have echoed across the Duluth community. People are hoping the Duluth City Council listens to public input about pedestrian safety along the road.

“I’ve seen many people speeding. It really makes it not safe. Also, no warning signs to drivers to watch for pedestrians or bikers. There’s no signs to slow down,” Cindy said. “I’d like to ask you to please assist, so nobody else can be killed or hurt on that road. Every life matters.”

Other family members echoing that same message. Justine Bickel, Ken’ daughter-in-law worries there could be another fatality if there are no changes.

“If there had been a speed limit sign or a marked crossing, Ken may still be with us today. What I saw in the aftermath was horrific,” Justine said. “It’s very clear that speed was a factor. I fear for the next fatality at what’s supposed to be the most beautiful spot in town. I beg of you all to take action. Do something about this section on Skyline, before summer starts, before we have yet another senseless, tragic death.”

The Duluth City Council held a moment of silence for Ken Bickel during their meeting after hearing from Cindy and Justine.

Councilor Tara Swenson, said many residents in neighborhoods along West Skyline asking for change. She said they have already started the process on addressing how to make Skyline safer.

“That’s my district. It’s not something that any of us have taken lightly, through council or even administration. So I appreciate how strong of a voice you brought forward today,” Swenson said. “I assure you we are working collaboratively to address the situation.”

There is not a set date for the public to share their input. Although one of ideas is turning Skyline into a one-way driving road, sharing it with pedestrians and bikers. Another idea is to try and widen the road or shoulder for other bikers and people traveling on foot.

For more information about the Duluth City Council meeting you can read more here. Also for the story about other residents’ ideas on how West Skyline Parkway could become safer you can read more here.