by Dennis Dalman
There are increasing concerns about pedestrian and motorist safety on Pinecone Road S., and the Sartell City Council is determined to do something about it.
In recent years, that area has grown increasingly into two functions at its southernmost portion: residential to the west of the road, business to the east (especially in the Pinecone Marketplace mall area.)
At a recent council meeting, Sartell City Engineer Mike Nielson outlined some of the problems as council members added concerns of their own.
One individual with severe visual impairment, Nielson said, lives in the residential area on the west side of Pinecone Road S. near the PineCone Marketplace area, near Troop Drive. The individual must get to the bus stop on the east side of Pinecone Road, which is a safety hazard.
The council plans to ask the Metro Transit Commission if it can add one or more bus stops on the west side of Pinecone Road. Other options include possibly adding some pedestrian-cross signals and sidewalks from the residential area to the south, up to CR 120.
There are up to six lanes of traffic on that section of Pinecone Road, Nielson noted, and the speed limit is 45 mph.
Council member Sarah Jane Nicoll said she has heard complaints about not only pedestrian safety but also motorist safety. Vehicles entering that road to take a left north on Pinecone can often experience worries about safety. It’s the same situation when some motorists want to take a left out of Pinecone Marketplace (where the Coborn’s Super Store is located), the council noted.
The safety concerns are complicated by the fact traffic has hugely increased on Pinecone Road S. in recent years. It’s now as high as 13,000 vehicles per day, Nielson noted. In addition, there are a lot of people walking and even in wheelchairs in that area, he added.
The council agreed to discuss those problems and possible solutions at its next work session.
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.