City to look at rectangular rapid flashing beacon

NEW ULM — An application for a rectangular rapid flashing beacon (RRFB) will once again come before the City Council. The council tabled accepting the beacon last January.

Earlier this month, the Safety Commission recommended the council authorize an application to fund one on Broadway at 4th South Street. At this time the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) has $7.5 million in grants for local projects that enhance transportation goals, and the city could apply for some of this grant money.

In October of last year, the council did authorize a Transportation Alternatives application to fund a substantial portion of the cost to install a RRFB on Broadway at 4th S. Street, but declined to commit to deliver and maintain the facility at the January 3, 2017, meeting, citing need versus the cost.

The cost to install the RRFB at this location is $125,000. If the federal grant is offered, it would fund 80 percent or $100,000 and the city would fund 20 percent or $25,000 of the cost. The city would also need to fund preliminary and construction engineering estimated to be $15,000. The estimated cost to maintain the beacon is $2,500 per year.

In January the council was uncertain if this intersection would be used by pedestrians. City Engineer Steve Koehler said it was the best location for a new beacon, but was uncertain if it would attract additional pedestrians.

The nearest controlled pedestrian crossing on Broadway was at the Center Street and 10th S. Street intersection.

A flashing light was previously installed at 4th South, but was removed following a mill and overlay of the street. The original light was installed to assist people on the west side of New Ulm walking to St. Mary’s.

The funding behind the Transportation Alternatives application is generally available every year.

The New Ulm Fire Department Relief Association pension benefit levels will be discussed. A resolution coming before the council would place benefit levels at $4,375 per year of service for 2018. The proposed increase was part of a three-year increase agreement approved by the city in 2016.

James Kretsch with Minnesota Strasse is requesting a public right-of-way license to allow Brennan Construction to block the sidewalk and parking lane adjacent to the property located at 103-123 S. Minnesota.

The city will consider a motion to declare found bicycles surplus property. The New Ulm Police have cross referenced with theft reports and no owners have been identified for these bikes. The NUPD currently has 45 unclaimed bikes.

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