01-0841R

RESOLUTION ORDERING THE TEMPORARY CLOSURE OF NIAGARA STREET BETWEEN JUNCTION AVENUE BRAINERD AVENUES AND CREATING A TASK FORCE TO STUDY TRAFFIC PROBLEMS ADJACENT TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA-DULUTH CAMPUS (ERLEMEIER, ET AL.).

BY COUNCILOR STENBERG:

        WHEREAS, a petition, signed by more than 90 residents, representing 51 property addresses of the Brainerd Avenue and Buffalo Street neighborhood, was filed with the city clerk requesting the closure of Niagara Street between Junction and Brainerd Avenues; and

        WHEREAS, such petition was duly referred to the city planning commission, and such commission gave due notice of public hearing and did consider same in public hearing; and

        WHEREAS, the city planning commission, at its October 24, 2001, meeting, unanimously recommended the temporary closure of Niagara Street and the creation of a task force for the study of traffic issues in and around the University of Minnesota Duluth campus.

        NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the city council of the city of Duluth directs the public works and utilities to physically close Niagara Street at a point between Junction and Brainerd Avenues, the exact location to be determined by the appropriate city personnel.

        BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the planning commission traffic committee is hereby directed to facilitate a task force consisting of the appropriate city and county personnel, UMD representatives, and neighborhood representatives to study and report to the planning commission and city council for determination on permanent closure of Niagara Street as well as any other traffic and street improvements in and around the UMD campus by June 1, 2002.



STATEMENT OF PURPOSE:  This resolution orders the temporary closure of Niagara Street between Junction and Brainerd Avenues.

According to the city engineering traffic division, the current traffic counts on Niagara are 1,250 trips per day during the school year and 500 trips per day during the summer. In December of 1984, the city engineer reported the daily traffic count at 659 trips per day. This is an increase of 100% over a seven-year period. As urban growth occurs, traffic increases in all areas of the city will naturally increase.

This petition seeks to "close" this portion of the street. This is not a "vacation" of the right of way. "Closure" simply means that the roadway would be barricaded in some fashion at some point in the block between Junction and Brainerd. The general public would no longer be able to drive between the avenues. Although the city would no longer maintain the roadway, it would retain its right to the road easement. "Vacation" of the easement means the city would give up its right to use the right of way for street or utility purposes. The vacated right of way then accrues from the centerline to the adjoining property. A "vacation" petition requires the adjoining property owners to file a petition and pay a filing fee to vacate their rights for a street along their lot frontage. (On a corner lot, the legal street frontage would be the avenue)

Niagara Street is located half way between Arrowhead Road and College Street, a distance of just over one half mile. Brainerd Avenue is the only through street from Arrowhead to College, between Kenwood Avenue and Woodland Avenue, a distance of over a mile.

A generally accepted planning standard for urban development, as required by the Duluth platting regulations, is to provide intra-neighborhood street connections at intervals of 600 (1/8 mile) to 1300 feet (1/4 mile).

Due to topography and past governmental decisions, Niagara is the only remaining roadway connection from the Superior View Addition (the area west of Junction Avenue to west of Missouri Avenue) with service areas east of the UMD campus.

If Niagara is closed, an emergency occurs on Brainerd Avenue, and access to Brainerd cannot be made from College Avenue, the fire/ rescue from the UMD Station would have to run up to Mississippi, then to Buffalo, then to Brainerd and back to the emergency location. This run is almost three times the distance under current, perfect conditions.

We cannot close functioning streets due to local pressures. If closures occur, the impacts are moved to other areas.

Some traffic related issues are due to roadway conditions. As roadways improve, traffic volumes change.

Arrowhead Road, between Kenwood and Woodland, will be reconstructed within the next two years. The "function" of Arrowhead Road will affect the use of Niagara. During reconstruction, the traffic volumes may increase. Following reconstruction, volumes may return to current numbers or decrease.

Date Filed: September 11, 2001
Action Deadline: NA