Blaine council executes permit for Naples Street trail

Blaine will use will use a federal block grant to pay for a pedestrian trail along Naples Street from 95th Avenue north to the Metro Transit Park-N-Ride lot.

Robert Therres, public services manager, and City Engineer Jean Keely presented the project to the Blaine City Council Aug. 2.

The trail will be placed in existing Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) right of way.

MnDOT allows trail placement its right of way as long as the municipality involved signs a limited use permit agreement.

Keely said the city has received several inquiries from residents and local commuters requesting the trail.

The city was able to secure a U.S. Department of Energy Efficient Community Block Grant (EECBG) to fund construction.

The federal program is stimulus-related and is modeled after existing grants.

During discussion Aug. 2, Councilmember Dick Swanson asked about pedestrian safety in the area.

Keely said staff met with MnDOT, Metro Transit and Anoka County about adjusting the light timing if needed for pedestrians.

Councilmember Russ Herbst said 95th Avenue speed limits needed more workshop discussion.

“How do we get pedestrians and bikers across the road? It’s a death trap,” Swanson said.

Councilmember Dave Clark added, “If we are going to have a safety problem at that intersection, you will have a trail to nowhere.”

Clark asked if it would be possible to change the traffic light timing and improve pedestrian safety.

Therres said changes in traffic light timing were not discussed when the government agencies met. He said the city would ask the county to look at the timing.

Keely said council action to approve the grant needed to occur the night of Aug. 2 because the trail grant application had a time constraint of Sept. 20.

“How far up against the time deadline are we?” Clark asked, wondering if the council could modify the motion under discussion and add landing pad light timing.

Clark asked Therres if the city could afford to delay the project two weeks.

Therres said a delay wasn’t possible and the road was under Anoka County jurisdiction.

Councilmember Katherine Kolb wanted to execute the permit Aug. 2 so the project could move ahead.

“It will take drivers a little time to get used to it,” Kolb said.

While councilmembers unanimously approved the limited use permit, there was additional discussion when the paving bid for the new trail project was presented.

Keely said the city received three bids for the Naples Street trail project.

Omann Brothers Paving, Inc. of Albertville was awarded the low bid at $85,193.

Clark wanted to amend the bid motion, making approval contingent on the Anoka County Highway Department agreeing to review and adjust signal timing.

Swanson opposed Clark’s amendment. He said the city was working against a timeline and stated a landing in the median would take care of signal timing.

Clark responded his amendment would not require the timing to be done before project billing.

Kolb was concerned about using the word “contingent.” Swanson suggested Clark reword the amendment, taking that word out.

Clark withdrew his motion. Swanson offered a friendly amendment to the motion, requesting Anoka County and MnDOT to review signal timing to maximize safety.

The amendment and amended motion were unanimously adopted.

Tim Hennagir is at [email protected]