Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - The Rochester City Council voted Monday night to proceed with a major upgrade of the stretch of North Broadway between Civic Center Dr and Silver Lake.

The 4-3 vote was in favor of design option 2C, which was favored by businesses along the roadway.

Voting in favor of 2C were council members Staver, Hruska, Bilderback, Hickey. Voting nay were members Campion, Wojcik, Johnson.

The team that has worked on the project design favored what was known as Option 2B.

Here is the summary of the three options that were considered:

• Option 2B – includes medians through all intersections on Broadway except at the following signalized locations: Civic Center Drive, 7th Street, 10th Street and 13th Street.

• Option 2B Alternate – includes medians through the 5th Street, 10th Street and 12th Street intersections since these all exhibit crash rates that exceed statewide averages.

• Option 2C – includes medians on Broadway Avenue between intersections but not through any of the public street intersections.

Option 2B was presented to business owners and the public in Nov-Dec 2017. Several existing drive-by business types on Broadway Avenue expressed significant concern with Option 2B. Businesses categorized as drive-by businesses are those that customers frequent on impulse and rely on convenient access. Existing drive-by businesses on Broadway Avenue include McDonald’s, Gingerbread House,
Great Harvest Bread, Taco Bell, Dairy Queen, Moka, Baraka Grocery, Cenex and Holiday. Six of these nine drive-by businesses were rated “difficult” when considering how access may be provided to them with Option 2B.

Option 2B Alternate was developed by the Project Team as a direct response to the expressed concerns and unique needs of the drive-by businesses. This option still addresses safety issues at 5th Street, 10th Street and 12th Street yet opens intersections at 6th, 8th, 9th and 11th Streets. Traffic signals would remain
at Civic Center, 7th Street and 13th Street in this option.

Option 2B Alternate does not propose a new signal at 10th Street since it is no longer warranted with adjacent intersections remaining open.

Option 2C achieves a reduction in conflict points at driveways but does not address crash issues at 5th Street, 10th Street and 12th Street within the past 10 years. Safety and mobility criteria would be used as triggers to construct medians at these intersections in the future if thresholds are exceeded.

The Council Monday approved the appointment of Battalion Chief Eric Kerska as the city’s next fire chief.  Kerska has been with Rochester Fire Department since 1994, and in his current role since 2009. His appointment will be effective June 30, when current chief Greg Martin retires.

Eric Kerska

 

Prior to taking on the role of Battalion Chief, Kerska spent nine years as a Fire Captain and six years as a Firefighter. His educational background includes an Associate of Applied Science degree in Fire Sciences from John Woods College, a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Winona State University, and a Master of Science degree in Strategic Studies from the US Army War College. Kerska also served in the Army National Guard from 1983 – 2015, including service in Iraq and Kuwait, retiring as a Colonel.

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