Posted at: 12/03/2012 10:31 PM
By: Travis Dill
The Duluth City Council voted down the Joshua Ave project aimed at easing traffic on residential streets near Miller Hill Mall.
Before the vote, residents voiced opinions for and against the project at the Duluth City Council meeting on Monday night.
A lack of funding for the project worried some councilors, but Councilor Garry Krause was vocal in his support for the project.
“At the very top of Stanford is a mud pit with mud boiling out of these sunken sections of road because it's over trafficked and under-developed underneath,” Krause said.
He explained the problem that mall traffic is causing on residential streets near the proposed project.
The project had been talked about for years as city leaders hoped to ease congestion between the mall area and Arrowhead Rd. The Joshua Ave. project would have made a connector from east to west, but the city council voted down the resolution, with only Councilor Krause voting to support the project.
For some councilors, repairing damaged streets was more important than new construction.
“I don't believe the majority of people in city hall will ever deem this to be a priority for us anytime soon,” Councilor Jennifer Julsrud said.
Others said the project was important, but the lack of funding worried them.
“This is a resolution for design work. It's not a resolution to build the road,” Councilor Linda Krug said.
The resolution would have moved forward with design work while the city waited for possible federal funding. That uncertainty would leave some residents in limbo. The project would have marked several homes for purchase, but finding the funding to do so could have taken years.
“We have at least seven property owners who are being, will be and who are being held hostage,” Councilor Krug said.
The resolution has been shut down, but the problem will still remain for the residential roads.
“Because people are not going to stop doing it. As long as it's a public street, even though it's a prolem for people, people are going to keep driving on it,” Councilor Sharla Gardner said.
Councilor Krause cited studies that showed traffic in that area is only going to increase in the future.
The council did not discuss any alternatives to address the problem on Monday night.