Sartell Residents, Officials Hit the Streets To Talk Safety
SARTELL - It's unusual for a large group of people to unanimously agree on anything.
But, in one Sartell neighborhood, everyone agrees — the intersection of 13th Ave. N. and 4th St. N. is dangerous and in need of safety measures.
Tina Hemmesch has lived near the intersection for about nine years. She describes a time when her son, at that point 10 years old, was nearly struck by a speeding driver while on a walk with other members of the family.
It's a problem, Hemmesch stresses, that has only gotten worse.
"At first it was a little bit of an issue, but now that there's more housing, there are more issues," she said. "People are just driving faster and faster."
Hemmesch, along with nearly two dozen of her neighbors, gathered at the intersection to share personal stories and suggestions for improvement with Sartell city officials on Monday, July 22, following a brief city council meeting.
The outing, dubbed "Takin' It To The Streets," is intended to be the first in a series of face-to-face meetings between Sartell residents and officials with the common goal of creating safer neighborhoods.
The intersection in question, located just about one mile from Sartell City Hall, is T-shaped and currently without stop signs. Additionally, neither side of 13th Ave. N. includes sidewalks. Parking is allowed on both sides at all times.
Add a speeding or distracted driver, and resident Erik Wilson says the area, largely comprised of families with children under age 12, becomes treacherous.
"(Drivers are) not slowing down, even for walkers, bikers, individuals with dogs, Rollerbladers or little children riding their scooters - and it's causing a drastic safety issue."
Wilson, like most of his neighbors, would like to see stop signs installed on 13th Ave. N. and more vigilance in enforcement of the 30 mph speed limit. Other residents suggested instating parking rules or painting lanes and fog lines 11 ft. from the curb on each side of the street — a move that would cost an estimated $20,000, according to Sartell City Administrator Mary Degiovanni.
Degiovanni says the city will consider all viable options they’ve gathered from residents, including the addition of sidewalks or trails between the roadway and residences. She said, ultimately, the solution to the growing problem will only be determined by testing one potential solution at a time.
"It's easier to gauge effectiveness when you try step one, step two, step three," Degiovanni said. "My guess is that's what the council will look at doing. I just don't know which step they'll try first."
The Sartell Council meets again on August 12, and they intend to pick up the discussion at that time.