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Speed tables to slow traffic

Despite objections from Mayor Dennis Walaker, the Fargo City Commission voted Monday to install temporary speed tables to slow traffic on 20th Street South.

Graphic: Slowing 20th...

Despite objections from Mayor Dennis Walaker, the Fargo City Commission voted Monday to install temporary speed tables to slow traffic on 20th Street South.

Commissioners voted 4-1 to install three of the rubber-and-asphalt speed tables on 20th Avenue South between 14th and 17th streets.

Walaker, who lives on 19th Street about two blocks north of 20th Avenue, said he drives the road three to four times a day because it's a smooth collector street. He questioned whether the 8-inch-tall speed tables are appropriate.

"This is without a doubt, in my opinion, the best piece of concrete that we've installed in our city in a long, long time," Walaker said.

Shane Gebeke, 1925 16th St. S., said nine of 11 residents living along 20th Avenue between 17th Street and 13½ Street signed a petition supporting speed tables. He noted similar measures have slowed traffic on 26th Avenue South in the Bluemont Lakes area.

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"I agree 20th Avenue is smooth as glass, but it's a drag strip for some people sometimes," Gebeke said.

Fred Hammer, who lives two houses removed from 20th Avenue at 1906 14½ St. S., said he has no problems with 20th Avenue traffic. Vehicles slowing down and speeding up as they go over speed tables will generate only more noise for the neighborhood, which lies north of Interstate 94, he said.

The city's Traffic Technical Advisory Committee voted May 2 to install three temporary speed tables between 14th and 17th streets and conduct a speed and volume study to gauge their effectiveness.

However, city staff later recognized that 20th Avenue South between 13½ Street and 25th Street is classified as a collector street and therefore isn't eligible for speed tables under city policy.

Staff recommended the tables be allowed anyway, because the stretch of 20th Avenue South carries less traffic than a typical collector street and there's a bike trail crossing at 16½ Street, City Engineer Mark Bittner said.

The tables will be in place until late fall, which will allow the city to collect data when school resumes, he said.

"Really, it's an opportunity to measure what we should do for the long term," Commissioner Mike Williams said.

In other business, the commission:

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- Granted the last of the city's four Class Z liquor licenses to Dan Labernik, owner of Labby's Grill & Bar at 1100 19th Ave. N.

The commission was scheduled to hold a drawing, as required by city ordinance, to determine which of two applicants got the license. But the partnership that filed the other application dissolved and withdrew late last week.

Labernik said he plans to use the Class Z license for Labby's and transfer his Class FA license - which requires at least half of sales to come from food - to a new business in southwest Fargo.

Members also granted the newly created Class B-Limited license to Lakemode Liquors at 4265 45th St. S.

- Received a letter from the Heritage Hills Estates subdivision expressing its desire to explore the feasibility of being annexed into Fargo. The matter was referred to an ad-hoc city committee that deals with annexation issues.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528

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