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Lead continues Main St. crosswalk solutions

October 4, 2018

LEAD — The discussion over Lead’s Main Street continued Monday with residents voicing their concerns over how effective a mid-block crosswalk would be.

At the Sept. 17 commission meeting a proposal was presented by Steve Palmer with the South Dakota Department of Transportation in which a crosswalk would be built at the mid-way point between Stone Street and Siever Street. The proposed crosswalk would intersect the street around the shared wall between the Black Hills Mining Museum and the Hearst Library, which is less than a quarter of the way from the west end of the safety railing that runs along the north side of the street from Bob’s Silver Star to Siever Street. The current proposal would require the loss of two parking spaces and a 30-foot curb opening on the south side of the street and a 25-foot ramp and wheelchair landing on the north side in order to be ADA compliant.

“We looked at a couple locations, splitting it up a little more,” Palmer told the Pioneer. “The further east we went, or the further downhill we went the more we ran into issues with that heated sidewalk, the vaults, the steps, and just a little more complications there.”

Palmer explained that the proposal brought to the meeting was the most cost effective plan for the DOT funded project, which he estimated would cost around $40,000.

“We’re trying to optimize location and cost,” he said.

At Monday’s commission meeting an option was discussed for the city to enter into negotiations with the Mining Museum in which the city would take on some or all of the responsibility for making repairs to the museum’s parking lot which is currently unusable for which the museum would allow the lot to become city parking, thereby mitigating the loss of the two spaces for the crosswalk. City Administrator Mike Stahl, who is also the president Mining Museum’s board of directors, said he would take the idea to the board and try to generate a formal proposal to be brought to the city.

Commissioner Colin Greenfield brought up another issue with the DOT’s proposed crosswalk.

“Our issue is a railing that takes up only a portion of that block,” he said. “And by putting one crosswalk up towards the end of that railing we’re completely (missing) the problem here.”

Greenfield said that the crosswalk would not serve the residents and businesses further down on the eastern end of Main Street, and that further discussions with the department in Pierre are in order. He recalled being told numerous times that the DOT would not permit a mid-block crosswalk to be built on Main Street at all.

“Here we are,” he continued. “DOT’s saying, ‘OK, we’ll change it.’ Now Lead has an opportunity to say, ‘this is how we want it done.’”

Former commissioner Chuck King agreed with Greenfield’s suggestion to continue pursuing a mid-railing crosswalk rather than the mid-block option proposed by the DOT.

“If we’ve moved the needle to this point where they’re at least acknowledging that there’s a problem,” King said. “Could we not say that we would really like for you to reconsider; that we think here in our town that we would be served better by something in the middle of the rail that’s not ADA compliant, and let’s spruce up the ADA’s on each side.”

Another Lead resident, Dennes Barrett expressed his desire to continue pushing for a solution that would better fit a city like Lead.

“When we were talking about this when they had not done anything on Main Street, they (the DOT) said, ‘you cannot have a crosswalk in mid-block. No way, no how’,” Barrett said. “Then they put one across a state highway in Deadwood where you could stop traffic. So I do believe you’re right, we should be taking a harder run at Pierre.”

Stahl said that he would reach out to the DOT once again to see if there would be an option to put in a mid-railing crosswalk and forgo the ADA requirements that seem to be largest single factor in the department’s decision on where to place the crossing; however, he cautioned that those discussions have already taken place at the state capitol.

“You have to consider that we’re spending government money to improve a public facility and the world requires certain things to be done,” Stahl said.

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