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Ready to weigh in on North Broadway plans?

The planned Broadway reconstruction effort will cover 10 blocks, from Civic Center Drive to 13th Street, with plans to address aging pavement, safety and start a transformation of additional transportation options, from bike lanes to a proposed...

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Cheri Struve said she hopes reconstruction plans for North Broadway don't provide another Second Street Southwest.

The revamped Second Street corridor looks nice, she said, but it would be impractical for the street that passes in front of her store, Struve's Paint and Decorating at 501 N. Broadway.

"I don't understand the rational," she said of plans to reconstruct the busy street that feeds into downtown Rochester.

The planned Broadway reconstruction effort will cover 10 blocks, from Civic Center Drive to 13th Street, with plans to address aging pavement, safety and start a transformation of additional transportation options, from bike lanes to a proposed dedicated bus line.

Doug Nelson of Rochester Public Works said the goal is to support other types of traffic without restricting current traffic lanes available for motor vehicles. With approximately 23,000 vehicle trips seen daily, he said two lanes of traffic in each direction will be needed.

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Down the street from Struve, Kismet owner Penny Bracken also sees images of Second Street and hopes planners realize that Broadway's retailers have different needs than what was seen west of Highway 52.

She said some Broadway proposals, such as added bike lanes, may be better suited for quieter streets but noted benefits will be seen with added transit options.

However, with businesses that rely on street parking, she said some early proposals raise concerns.

"We're on a really unique part of Broadway," she said, noting the loss of on-street parking could jeopardize some retail businesses.

"I don't know how they will address that," she said.

Bracken has anticipated the change for the 14 years she's owned her store at 601 N. Broadway, but her concerns are shifting to the impact on her business when work starts in 2019. She said she's certain she will see a drop in activity when the road and sidewalks are torn up.

Adding to the concern is the knowledge that she will be assessed for a portion of the work.

"You pay for improvements, and then you suffer the impact during construction," she said.

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Nelson said the city understands the planned 2019 construction will be a burden for businesses along the portion of Broadway, which is why he and representatives from Bolton and Menk, the city's consultant on the project, met with business owners this week.

He said they wanted to learn about existing business operations, such as delivery schedules and other access needs, and what can be done to help keep the businesses open when work starts.

"You don't get that sort of stuff in an open house," he said, referencing a public event planned for Dec. 7. "You get that from talking to business owners."

When it comes to construction, Nelson said plans call for keeping at least one lane of traffic open in each direction throughout that project and maintaining access points as much as possible.

As for assessment, he said city policy calls for connected property owners to fund 20 percent to 25 percent of major reconstruction efforts, which occur about every 50 years on a single roadway. The remaining funding comes from a mix of local funds and potential state and federal funding.

While Bracken was among business owners that met Nelson and consultants this week, she also plans to attend an open house set for 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 7 in room 308 of Northrop Community Education Center, 201 Eighth St. NW.

The open house will include a short presentation at 5:30 p.m., as well as displays illustrating options for enhanced transit service, additional corridor amenities and accommodations for bicycles, pedestrians, and vehicles on Broadway, according to Rochester Public Works.

Nelson said the goal will be to get feedback on some options for construction, with the goal of establishing what is needed. Next year will be used to create final design and construction plans for the project.

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For now, he said items, such as placement of a new signalized crossing and bike lanes, could be shifted in various scenarios being considered.

"There is a lot of similarities in the options, but there are some differences," he said.

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