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John Gabbert: It;s time to make Broadway safer

John Gabbert: It;s time to make Broadway safer

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Most public opposition to the Broadway Street road diet stems from people who don’t live on Broadway, with one exception. As someone who lives on and walks Broadway often, I appreciate that individual's opinion, and especially his service to our city. Yet, I must state that in more than 20 years, I recall seeing him walking on his street only once.

There’s another reason this traffic restriction method is called a “road diet.” We spend too much time in cars, in front of TVs and phones, and not enough time walking, running or biking.

Cross Broadway on foot – you’ll see why our city wants to do this. Many crosswalks are not Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant, an upgrade that makes them safer, more visible to drivers more likely to stop.

I commend City Council members Pam Eyden, Eileen Moeller, Paul Schollmeier, and Gerry Krage, and Mayor Mark Peterson for their support.

A more walkable central Winona makes us attractive to business and tourists, increasing economic activity and property values. A more walkable central Winona causes more people to live downtown.

Think about walking Lake Park to downtown. Leave the park, stroll to Sarnia, cross safely at Huff or Main, take a tunnel under the tracks, enjoy arboretum-like WSU, and cross a safer Broadway Street, without placing your life in the hands of a driver going too fast, distracted, or, yes, drag-racing another vehicle.

When you drive Broadway, why not safer by half? MnDOT clearly states, "The three-lane configuration crash rate is 46% lower than that of four-lanes.”

Since we moved to Broadway in 1996, three deaths occurred on or near the west end of the road diet. One school child died after getting off a bus, and two church-goers died crossing Broadway.

Let’s do the project for them, for our disabled friends, for our elders, for our children and grandchildren and for each other.

John Gabbert

Winona

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