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Marquette's Wright Street controversy update

Sun, Jul  26, 2009 - By Noquemanon Trail Network

Please continue to voice your support for a safer Wright Street and let your City Commissioners know that you havent forgotten about this issue. It will be on the City Commission agenda July. We will keep you posted.

This is an issue that affects everyone who bikes or drives. It is also an example of history repeating itself.

On May 19 the Planning Commission approved making Wright Street safer by reducing the number of driving lanes from four to three and adding two bike lanes. At its July 1 meeting, the City Commission voted against the safer street by a 4-3 vote. Voting for the safer street were Commissioners Stonehouse Niemi and Linna. Voting against the safer street were Kivela DePetro Ryan and Potvin.

The issue went back to the Planning Commission on July 21 and once again the Planning Commission voted for the safer street. Their recommendation will now go back to the City Commission for a vote on July 27. We will keep you informed as things progress.

What message should we be sending to the City Commissioners?

We need to send a message urging the commissioners to ignore unfounded arguments listen to fact believe fact and act on fact.

The City Commissioners are currently concerned that a reconfigured Wright Street will not be able to handle existing traffic volumes plus future truck traffic generated by Kennecott the NMU wood pellet power plant and the McClellan Street extension.

The evidence that a three lane Wright Street will support the proposed vehicular traffic volumes is overwhelming. The fact is that three lane streets can handle 25,000 vehicles per day. Last year Wright Street carried an average of less than 8,000. By comparison the three lane portion of Washington Street currently carries 16,000 vehicles per day.

Right now certain commissioners are hearing and making the same unfounded arguments against a three lane Wright Street that were made against Washington Street when it was proposed to go from four to three lanes in 2006.

The following comments were made by Mayor Kivela on August 14 2006 before it was decided to convert Washington Street from four to three lanes a conversion that was extremely successful. (Complete meeting minutes available on the City website).

Mr. Kivela expressed his personal opposition to the three lane option and commented that he has heard from other businesses located along that stretch of road and people from the area that they are also opposed. Mr. Kivela also questioned the various information and studies from which the Planning Commission based their decisions.

Please urge the commissioners to ignore unfounded arguments listen to fact believe fact and act on fact.

Wright Street will be on the City Commission agenda Monday, July 27 at 7:00 p.m. at City Hall. We will keep everyone posted. Please plan to attend the meeting recruit another person to attend and encourage your commissioners to ignore unfounded arguments listen to fact believe fact and act on fact. If you cannot attend please e-mail the commissioners and voice your support for a safer Wright Street.

Mayor Kivela is up for re-election this November.