Plans will address traffic flow and wayfinding during McGregor construction

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By Audrey Posten, Times-Register


McGregor Deputy Clerk and Economic Development Lead Brandi Crozier, at the Dec. 21 council meeting, presented a series of plans to address community parking, wayfinding and communication during phase I of the upcoming Main Street reconstruction project.


Phase I work will stretch through the 100 and 200 blocks of Main Street, through McGregor’s downtown, and include replacing sewer, water and storm sewer as well as curb and gutter, sidewalks and reconstruction of Business 18/Main Street. 


The street will be closed to vehicles and parking throughout construction, phase I of which is slated to start in spring 2023 and wrap up in the fall, necessitating alternative parking and traffic flow to provide adequate access to the business district. 


Temporary recommendations include angling parking on the east side of A Street (between Bickel Insurance and Paper Moon) and creating a no parking/delivery truck staging area on the west side. According to Crozier, the move would actually increase the number of parking spots in the area from 19 up to 24 to 28.


From about the northwest property line of the Bluffside Gardens to Main Street, the city recommends limiting nine spots to two-hour parking from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to ensure the spots remain available for patrons. The delivery truck staging area will be limited to one hour for commercial vehicles, and signage will indicate this.


On Ann Street, in front of the Weeks building, the current “no parking” sign will be changed to “no parking from here to corner.” Lines will be painted for parallel parking on both sides of the street on this block or at least half the block.


When Main Street is closed, the city said patrons can use the alley between the post office from B Street to reach Old Man River, Backwoods and Triangle Park. To make this work best, A Street in front of Old Man River will become a one-way heading east and First Street in front of Backwoods will become a dead end.


To leave enough room to turn around and park in front of Backwoods without losing spaces, the city recommends angling parking on the Triangle Park side of the street. This would create nine parking spots for two-hour parking from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., an increase from the number of spots legally available now. The city additionally recommends limiting parking in the A Street right of way on the south side of Backwoods to one handicap parking space on the Backwoods side and no parking on the opposite side to allow safe traffic pass through to Kwik Star and the riverfront.


In order to maintain parking consistency and availability in front of Old Man River, the city suggested two-hour angled parking (from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.) be continued on this side of Triangle Park. No parking would be allowed in front of Old Man River to allow safe backing and give motorists room to round the corner when coming out of the alley. Crozier said this arrangement will allow seven to eight parking spots, about the number currently there. The first parallel parking spot on the east side of Old Man River is recommended for handicap parking.


Parking spots on the block of Third Street parallel to Tiffany and Weller’s side entrance will be repainted in preparation for increased parking demand. Spots on the Tiffany and Weller side of the street will remain parallel while those opposite it will remain angled. During construction, parking on Third Street from Main Street to the rubidoux (storm sewer) will be for two hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Other parking projects up for consideration include repainting the public parking lots on the riverfront, First Street and next to Steve’s Silver Dollar.


To aid traffic flow to the post office, Crozier said the city is currently working with a next door private property owner to put a temporary roadway through the property.


“Assuming that happens, patrons would come down B Street, turn left on the one-way alley and make another left through this private property to get to Second Street, which would put them on the northwest side of the post office. Then they would make another right to go around the post office before coming back out to the alley,” she explained.


Said Crozier of the recommendations, “It will make more sense once people get used to it. There will be a lot of really interesting traffic flow we’ve never experienced.”


These alternative parking and traffic flow recommendations are only temporary by resolution, but city administrator Lynette McManus said the council could choose to update the city ordinance permanently should the changes work better than what’s currently in place.


The council’s only concern was who would enforce the parking limitations.


“I saw two-hour parking mentioned four times in here. Who’s enforcing that? Are we hiring meter maids?” asked council member Charlie Carroll.


According to Crozier, wayfinding signage and a city map are also in the works. 


A banner will be placed at the top of U.S. Highway 18, under the McGregor sign, with a simple message indicating downtown McGregor businesses are open.


“Sometimes construction signs give the perception [the community] is closed,” Crozier said. “I’ve been visiting with businesses and other cities around the state to help figure out what would be feasible.”


She noted that motorists will not be able to access McGregor from Marquette (the road will be closed just beyond the casino), so no sign will be placed there.


Directional signage will go up in town at main intersections and to indicate public parking for motorists. To aid pedestrians, the city has suggested directional totem signage, a vertical sign structure with room to place directional sign tags for individual businesses. These would be placed on each side of the Main and A street intersection and next to the public restroom at Kwik Star for those coming to McGregor by boat.


Additionally, Crozier will work with the city’s ARC GIS vendor, Midwest Assistance Program, to create a community map for both print and digital formats. This tool would not only help people move through construction, but it could also be utilized after work is complete, she said. 


Council members, with the exception of Carroll, approved moving forward with the map.


The council also approved utilizing a community notification system through Mail Chimp. Patrons can choose to sign up to receive text or email notifications.


Crozier said the cost is determined by the number of patrons who sign up. For example, it would be $13 per month for one to 500 subscribers or $26.50 per month for 501 to 1,500. She’s hoping to launch this soon to allow time to build the subscriber network and work out any programming issues prior to the start of construction.


Construction status update provided

Alex Jaromin with Davy Engineering provided a status update on construction. Work on the Front Street Lift Station and force main, which will pave the way for Main Street work to begin in the spring, is now underway. Work after Christmas will include directional boring of the force main south down the alley and west to First Street, installation of a discharge manhole on First Street and pouring of the concrete apron around the lift station. Construction of the retaining wall around the lift station and restoration of First Street pavement, alley and lift station site will occur in the spring.


Regarding the rest of the Main Street project, Jaromin indicated a recent phone conference between the city and state agencies went well. A memorandum of agreement, or MOA, must be drafted and signed by all parties prior to the final environmental/historical clearance being obtained. Based on the comments and items discussed in the meeting, Jaromin said the State Revolving Fund’s (SRF) goal is to have a draft MOA completed by mid-January that will be sent to all signatories for review and comment. Once all comments are addressed, the MOA will be finalized and sent to all parties for signature and execution of the MOA.


According to Jaromin, after execution of the MOA, SRF would issue a Finding of No Significant Impact that would be out for comment for 30 days before review would officially be complete and “turning dirt could occur anywhere in the project.” The goal to “turn dirt” could be as soon as March, he added.


“It was a productive meeting and I’m happy to see things moving forward in a positive manner. There’s an end in sight,” Jaromin said.

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