Council Minutes, June 15, 2020

Posted: June 15, 2020

City of LeRoy MN – Council Meeting Minutes, June 15, 2020

A special meeting of the LeRoy City Council was called to order by Mayor Brian Thiel on Monday, June 15, 2020, at 6:30 PM at the LeRoy Community Center with the following members present:  Mayor Brian Thiel, Council Members Ashley Huntley, Jan Whisler, Harold Shipman, Daisie Fox, Maintenance Employee John Jones, and City Clerk Patty White.
Also attending: Axel Gumbel, Teresa Frazer, Rose Erie, Dick Soltau, Deputy Sawyer Weiss, and Pat Newman.  Mayor Thiel read the due call for this special meeting and called the meeting to order at 6:30 PM.  All stood and recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

Thiel reviewed the summary of Chad Hanson’s presentation on State Highway 56 that was presented at the regular city council meeting held on June 1, 2020.  Thiel also reviewed the PowerPoint presentation done by Mr. Hanson.  Mr. Hanson had four points he wanted the council to address.  These points include:

  • Roadway/sidewalk widths in downtown two blocks
  • Shoulder width at the east and west entrances to the city
  • East County Road/Main Street
  • Curb bump-outs at intersections

Council addressed the East County Road/Main Street point first.  Dick Soltau suggested allowing a one-way going east by the East Y instead of closing this area to traffic.  Another suggestion would be to install a turn lane from Main Street to East County Road, leaving the street south of the Y closed to traffic.  The number of trucks using this intersection raised concern for safety by council members.  The proposed sidewalk from Strong Street to South East County Road was also questioned.  Council felt the location of this sidewalk could cause safety issues with pedestrians when the pedestrians get to East County Road with the amount of truck traffic at this intersection.  It was suggested to either remove this proposed sidewalk or move it to the street right of way in front of the residences on the south side of the East Y.  It was the consensus of the council to request MnDOT to revisit the proposals for the East Y part of the project.

Council next addressed the proposed traffic calming areas near Bauer Built and by the curve by the East Y.  These areas would have wider shoulders; the roadway width would remain at 12’.  Council expressed concern that these may bottle up traffic.  Deputy Weiss noted he does not see the traffic calming areas as being something to slow traffic down.  Further discussion followed.  Council agreed to proceed with the proposed traffic calming areas.

MnDOT included plans for bump-outs at the intersections of Mather Street, Broadway Street, and Everett Street with Main Street.  Bump-outs make shorter and safer street crossings for pedestrians.  Jones expressed concern that bump-outs would remove parking spaces and may cause a hindrance for large farm machinery and over-sized loads traveling through town.  There was an active discussion on this topic.

ANTI bump-outs:
(1) reduced parking impacts businesses, (2) might hinder extra-wide farm equipment driving through town and extra-wide highway traffic, (3) some doubted bump-outs wouldn’t actually slow traffic, (4) bump-outs could hinder turns at intersections (5) questions if snow removal problems would result, (6) vividly painted crosswalks (if MNDOT allows) may be best option.

PRO bump-outs:
(1) pedestrian safety is most important and the shorter the crosswalk the safer it would be, (2) gives pedestrians a better view of oncoming traffic around parked cars, (3) transportation experts who have done field studies report bump-outs will improve pedestrian safety and slow traffic down.

Thiel commented he would like to see the bump-outs installed.  The rest of the council noted they don’t want the bump-outs installed.

MnDOT is proposing a drop-off lane in front of the LeRoy-Ostrander Public School and a bump-out across the street near the intersection with Mower County 14.  These items were deferred to the L-O School Board for their input.

MnDOT is proposing leaving the drive lanes at 12’ throughout the community.  They are proposing narrowing the parking lanes in the downtown area from 17’ to 12’.  This narrowing of the parking lanes would increase the width of the sidewalks to 16’.  Council requested clarification if this covers two blocks downtown or if it covers three blocks downtown.  Council was in agreement with the narrowing of the parking lanes and widening of the sidewalks.

Mr. Soltau questioned about payment of this project.  He questioned if assessments would be used.  Thiel noted that this topic has not been addressed yet, but his personal view is that the cost should be shared by everyone in the city, as everyone will benefit from these improvements.

Thiel noted he would take these issues and concerns to Mr. Hanson.  Council will continue to review the State Highway 56 project at upcoming meetings.

Being no further business to come before council at this special meeting, the meeting was adjourned on a motion by Huntley, second by Whisler at 8:09 PM.

– Brian Thiel, Mayor

– Patty A. White, City Clerk-Treasurer