City delays restriping South State Avenue

City Commissioners Tuesday decided to delay restriping South State Avenue until 2020. (Brandon L. Summers / The Dickinson Press)

City Commissioners Tuesday decided to delay restriping South State Avenue until 2020.

The street, from Second Street South to Eighth Street South, has not been striped since it was first paved in the 1980s, City Engineer Craig Kubas said.

"It's well passed its expected useful life," Kubas told commissioners.

It was proposed that the street go from its current four lanes to three lanes, including a center turn lane, with bike lanes added to both sides.

The city could also restore the striping for the four lanes.


Kubas, using Federal Highway Administration statistics, said three lanes can accommodate 15,000 to 17,500 vehicles per day. The corridor currently receives roughly 5,000 per day.

A key consideration is safety.

There are several homes along South Avenue that have been struck by vehicles.

"We had a lot of vehicles that were using excessive speeds, leaving the roadway, and causing personal property damage, even striking a deck" Kubas said. "We had some pretty compelling photos of those accidents."

Guard rails were installed in response.

"Since that was put up, it's been hit twice," Kubas said. "We haven't had any more personal property incidences, but now our property has been hit. The problem is still existing."

Kubas also suggested the raised island at the intersection of State Avenue and Eighth Street South could be removed, calling it "cumbersome."

The project is expected to cost roughly $200,000, regardless of which striping configuration is chosen by the city.


Commissioner Carson Steiner supported a three-lane configuration.

"There's nothing there that's safe for bikers," he said. "There's nothing safe for anyone taking a left-hand turn, because there are no turning lanes there, which there would be with this."

Mayor Scott Decker suggested delaying the project while the city also considers resolving traffic issues at the corner of Eighth Street South and South Main Avenue, and the impact on potential future projects along the corridor.

Dickinson Parks & Recreation Department is considering building a new sports complex in the area, which is near Heart River Golf Course.

"I would like to see this held off until next year and then we examine everything," Decker said. "That can be part of the additional monies we're going to spend on road projects, and assure the public of the safety there."

Commissioner Sarah Trustem echoed Decker's comments.

"We have other potential changes in that area. Maybe it's best to see how that development is going to happen, if it is, and then making a decision," she said. "A priority for everyone is going to be making sure those parents and families and kids have a safe way to travel to and from those events."

Community member Rick Beaudoin spoke against the project, describing the avenue as a truck route and calling it unsafe for bicyclists and pedestrians.


"People accelerate. You know why? Because this town does not have a north-south four lane artery," he said. "Once they get past that, on the other side of Villard, they barrel, because they are tired of being stuck behind somebody else in single-file traffic."

Decker noted that one of the goals of restriping as three lanes would be to reduce speeding along the street.

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