Funding question holds semaphore issue at red lightThe Red Wing City Council confirmed Monday it wants to put a stoplight at the intersection of South Tyler Road and Fairview Boulevard.
By: Jon Swedien, The Republican Eagle
The Red Wing City Council confirmed Monday it wants to put a stoplight at the intersection of South Tyler Road and Fairview Boulevard.
What isn’t clear, however, is how the council plans to pay for the $250,000 stoplight.
The council eventually tabled the matter during Monday’s meeting. Council members agreed they would like to see the stoplight installed this year, even though it hadn’t been included in any long-term road improvement plans. Rather, the issue was introduced to the council at its Jan. 14 meeting.
The stoplight is popular among council members because it would be a safety improvement at what some nearby residents say is a blind intersection. And unlike a four-way stop, a stoplight could keep Tyler Road a viable traffic artery.
Yet cost is a concern because the stoplight would be the first in Red Wing at an intersection controlled entirely by the city, meaning the city would have to ante up the full $250,000 for the project. Other stoplights in town are at highway intersections and have been paid for in part by the state and county along with the city.
Some council members were in favor of assessing adjacent properties — including Fairview Red Wing Medical Center and the Ridgeview town homes — to help with the cost.
“The truth is those are the people who are asking for traffic control,” council member Mike Hall said.
But City Planning Director Brian Peterson and city attorney Jay Squires both said assessments aren’t a possibility. Squires said to assess property a project must improve its value, and that’s hard to prove in the case of stoplights.
As an alternative, the council considered seeking financial contributions from the adjacent properties.
“It doesn’t hurt to ask,” council member Dean Hove said.
By Tuesday, however, talk of contributions had largely fizzled.
Director of Engineering Ron Rosenthal said the city is exploring different ways to pay for the stoplight, and also talking to other cities such as Rochester that have more experience with stoplights.
Rosenthal said the stoplight issue is expected to come up again at the council’s second meeting in February. The Red Wing City Council wants to put a stoplight at South Tyler Road and Fairview Boulevard, which area residents say is a blind corner. However, the city has never paid for a stoplight all by itself and isn’t sure how to go about it. All of Red Wing’s traffic light expenses in the past have been shared with the state and county.