Fairmont City Council heard from representatives Jennifer McCoy and Aaron Warford of Bolton & Menk on Monday, with discussion centering on the future of the Downtown Plaza/Blue Earth Avenue intersection. With a focus on the utilization of a mini-roundabout and reducing traffic lanes, McCoy said switching from four lanes to three has been proven across the nation to improve the safety of traffic corridors. Warford reminded the council that roundabouts force traffic to slow down, which is their primary safety feature.
Councilman Randy Lubenow raised constituent concerns about pedestrian safety. Councilman Bruce Peters said that in talking with Fairmont public works director Troy Nemmers, one idea raised is that of installing pedestrian-activated signals. Known as a rapid flashing beacon, a button would be pushed and a light would flash to alert traffic to pedestrian traffic. Warford said such an upgrade would add a significant level of safety, and is certainly a possibility.
Mark Sievert, interim city administrator, addressed the council concerning an additional half-cent local option sales tax to fund street improvements. The council had previously voted to submit a resolution for the sales tax to state lawmakers, only to receive some pushback from Minnesota House staff. “ Discussion is going to continue, and they would certainly be willing to work with [state Rep. Bob] Gunther and [state Sen. Julie] Rosen to get something drafted,” Sievert said. “At this point, I think it makes sense to continue to move forward.”
The council approved $6,000 in funding for the Interlaken Heritage Days community festival on June