From: Kevin Haessig
After reading the Post’s lead story of January 28, I took a stroll downtown. Of the supposed 3200 “public” parking spots downtown, approximately 130 of them are located in Levee Park. Most are near the former Godfathers building; some are actually on Levee Drive and some are behind HBC. In other words, none of them are within 1,000 feet of a business that doesn’t already have its own off-street parking. By the way, none of those spots are available during Steamboat Days and nearly all of the other downtown lots or streets are blocked then as well. So, during downtown Winona’s number-one tourist event, there literally is almost nowhere to park within one-half mile of the event. That’s not a problem?
Moving on to other matters, somewhat related as they concern how public resources are utilized: the handful of flashing pedestrian crossing lights at a few select locations have been a great safety addition. I don’t know how much they cost, but I can think of some good spots for a few more, such as on Main Street (Highway 43) at Sanborn and Howard streets, and on Huff Street, most likely at Howard and/or Mark Street. Perhaps WSU would be willing to chip in for those. Further along Huff Street, putting them at the bike path crossings might be a good idea as well. If they were installed on Broadway at McBride and Vila, they could replace the four-way stops currently at those intersections. Although, if WAPS does in fact close Madison school, neither a flashing crossing nor a four-way stop should be needed.
Speaking of Broadway, I am well aware that part of the reason for the stop sign at McBride is to get motorists on Broadway to slow down. I strongly disagree that putting a stop sign on a primary thoroughfare on an otherwise random intersection (with all due respect to the tragedy that occurred there many years ago) is the proper way to accomplish that goal. Enforcement is the way. The resources are available. I know it for a fact. I travel on Pelzer Street/Riverview Drive several times every week. Rare is the week when I don’t see at least one local law enforcement officer camped out at the peak looking for speeders. To the best of my knowledge, no pedestrian has ever been killed on Pelzer Street by a vehicle, speeding or otherwise. I don’t recall hearing of anything other than perhaps a minor fender bender on the stretch north of Fifth Street, despite Pelzer seeing a great deal of semi traffic and traffic from the Theurer Boulevard factories. All of this leads me to ask: why exactly is the speed limit on Pelzer, north of Fifth Street, 30 mph? In fact, it’s 30 mph all the way up the overpass, all the way back down and until you come around the curve. Prior to the construction of the overpass, it was 40 mph as soon as one crossed the railroad tracks. I suspect the reason is that no one from the city ever bothered to put a 40 mph sign up where one would logically belong. Indeed, when the overpass and Pelzer Street opened after construction, there were no 30 mph signs on Pelzer Street southbound — anywhere. In other words, the most recent posted speed was 40 mph somewhere along Riverview Drive. The city did quickly rectify that oversight. It needs to rectify this one as well. The only reason to have a 30 mph speed zone on Pelzer, north of Fifth Street, and then to have local LEOs camped out there, is glaringly obvious. It does nothing to improve public safety. Thirty mph on that stretch is needlessly slow. If local officers want to slow motorists down somewhere, maybe they should camp out on a street where speed has actually taken lives.