Decorah man raises several concerns to City Council
Tuesday, May 06, 2014 12:05 PM
“I intend to bring a whole rash of items up,” Carl Hjelmeland said.
He said the intersection of East Heivly and State Street one block up the hill from John Cline School needs a “school crossing” walk.
“I can’t believe you can’t put a sign one block from the school. There are pedestrian signs all over Decorah. Explain why you can’t put a sign or two or three down at the intersection at East Heivly and State,” said Hjelmeland, who said he’s observed close calls with children and motorists “shooting” through the intersection.
The city can’t keep putting issues off or it will have a serious incident. Decorah has to buckle down and get with it,” he said.
Hjelmeland is disabled and said he also has trouble crossing the Water and State Street intersection. In a letter to the editor in last week’s Decorah Journal, he said he’s been “trapped” crossing State Street on four different occasions by drivers making right hand turns on both green and red lights.
“The intersection where Water Street meets College Drive you can hardly get across …. Cars are supposed to yield at the intersection. It’s probably time to put a signal in,” Hjelmeland added.
Hjelmeland said sidewalks have been an “ongoing issue since the 1960s.”
“If Decorah is going to be the friendly town everyone claims it is, it has a responsibility to get pedestrians, handicapped, elderly off streets and get them on sidewalks,” he said.
Hjelmeland said if he is forced to walk in someone’s yard, as opposed to the street, when there is no sidewalk, he will sue the property owner if he falls.
He said he paid for a sidewalk at his East Water Street residence and later paid to have it replaced.
“The Council keeps dropping the ball and won’t take issues up and discuss them. I will right now blame the City Council.”
Mayor Don Arendt said the Council has worked on the sidewalk issue.
“I’ve been hearing that for 25 years. That dog doesn’t hunt. You can’t keep saying that. Somewhere the city has to say ‘this is enough. It’s time to put sidewalks back in,’ ” Hjelmeland said.
Council member Gary Rusted said there is a stop sign in front of John Cline at the east end of Heivly Street where pedestrians should be able to cross.
“There is a cross walk there and a three-way stop,” Rustad said.
Rustad asked Decorah Police Chief Bill Nixon if more signage is needed near John Cline.
“It wouldn’t hurt the situation,” Nixon said.
After hearing Hjelmeland’s concerns for 15 minutes, Mayor Don Arendt said the Council would have to proceed with its agenda, which included a public hearing. He thanked Hjelmeland for addressing the Council. Arendt said some of the issues raised may be addressed by the Council’s street committee.
Hjelmeland, who was reluctant to give up the floor, said “I’ll see you in the newspapers.”