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Ted Hazelton: Council should oppose roundabout plan

Ted Hazelton: Council should oppose roundabout plan

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On either December 7 or 21, representatives from MnDOT will be on the City Council agenda seeking the city's blessing on their misguided project on Mankato Avenue to install four roundabouts. This is the last chance to stop this project. I urge our elected officials to ask MnDOT to rethink this boondoggle, and challenge them to come up with a better alternative.

If MnDOT were to add a second left turn lane to all four approaches at the Highway 61 and 43 intersection, this would greatly increase the traffic flow and help reduce wait times. A roundabout would create total confusion and mayhem, increase wait times and back up traffic big time. Roudabouts are especially difficult for semi trucks to navigate.

Most folks that are over age 40 were never taught how to navigate these things in driver's ed. There is no national standard either. In some areas, cars in the circle have the right of way. In other areas cars approaching the circle have the right of way. I avoid them like the plague. If you ever want to see a mess involving multiple roundabouts in a row, go up to Jamaica Avenue in Cottage Grove, MN. or Louisiana Avenue in St. Louis Park, Mn. These are the multi-lane ones. All you see is broken glass and car parts. They average two accidents there per week. How is that supposed to be safe?

Now let's look at the north end of this project. If MnDOT were to rebuild Mankato Avenue, install new crosswalks and traffic signals, and synchronize them to work together at the existing intersections, traffic would flow much better and back ups would not be an issue. The only place a roundabout would make any sense would be at the intersection of Sarina and Mankato Avenue. 

There needs to be an east end overpass constructed before we worry about installing four roundabouts. MnDOT should seriously consider rerouting Highway 43 through Winona. This would also help with traffic congestion. Perhaps, MnDOT should finish what it started on Highway 43 further south of Winona up to Interstate 90 before they screw up Mankato. Please contact your City Council representatives and urge them to vote against this idiotic proposal. There are much better options out there.

Ted Hazelton



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