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Ramone Gumke City Council member Says closing block now makes sense because there is less pedestrian traffic during the summer

Traffic study; Block in front of LEC to be closed temporarily

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The Jamestown Public Works Committee unanimously voted to temporarily close a block of 6th Street Southeast in front of the Law Enforcement Center to study traffic flows if the street was permanently closed to build a bigger parking lot.

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The decision came at a combined meeting of the Jamestown Finance and Legal, Building, Planning and Zoning, Civic Center and Promotion, Public Works and Police and Fire committees on Thursday.

Jamestown Fire Chief Jim Reuther said his biggest concern was keeping the building accessible for firefighters, and he had also heard concerns about increased traffic near St. John’s Academy, which is located north of the LEC, across the street.

“I’ve heard the same concerns about traffic moving over in front of the academy and causing some problems just because traffic has to be diverted somewhere. There’s going to be some impact,” said Mayor Katie Andersen. “The principal at St. John’s had some concerns about increasing traffic over there.

“However, they also have concerns about the parking around there, too. So I think there’s some things that will be alleviated that are concerns if you increase the parking at the Stutsman County Courthouse,” she said.

City Councilman Ramone Gumke said closing it now would make sense because there is much less pedestrian traffic at St. John’s during the summer and increased vehicle traffic, which would make it easier to spot driver trends.

Gumke said another option could be to turn the street into a one-way and allow angle parking. He also said he’s heard complaints about the parking situation during jury trials from residents of that area.

“When there are jury trials and those things going on, the parking lots are completely full and they have employees and people from court parking in front of their residences, and for those that don’t have driveways or garages they have to park a block and a half away from their house to get home,” Gumke said. “There are some serious parking issues.”

Gumke also pointed out that there have been more jury trials lately than in previous years.

Street renamed

The Public Works Committee also moved to rename a portion of 7th Street Northwest near the University of Jamestown at Thursday’s meeting.

North University Drive would be the new name for the stretch between 5th and 12th avenues if approved.

“I’ve voted ‘no’ to every name-a-street-something-other-than-a-number item that’s ever come before us, but this one, it actually makes sense for me,” said Gumke.

City Engineer Reed Schwartzkopf said he had been working with the university to designate address numbers to campus buildings along that road for emergency responders and the 911 database, and UJ requested the name change before the address numbers were finalized.

Sun reporter David Luessen can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at dluessen@jamestownsun.com

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