Minnesota Department of Transportation

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June 15, 2022

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Pedestrian safety demonstration project installed on Hwy 197 at Sixth Street in Bemidji

BEMIDJI, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Transportation has set up a pedestrian demonstration project on Highway 197/Bemidji Avenue/Paul Bunyan Drive in Bemidji. A temporary pedestrian refuge island and crosswalk have been installed at the Sixth Street intersection, and the community is encouraged to “try it out” while it is in place for the summer.

“Demonstration projects help us learn,” said Jon Mason, MnDOT Planning Director. “We can experiment with potential solutions and evaluate them with real time results.”

This project will test safety benefits of a pedestrian refuge island at this location and help MnDOT evaluate if the temporary installation could become a permanent solution as a future project. During the demonstration project, motorists traveling north on Bemidji Avenue will not be able to make a left turn onto Sixth Street.

“A median refuge island at this location should really help people who walk and bike, especially during events at Library Park,” Mason explained. “It reduces the amount of time non-motorized users are exposed to traffic, because they don’t have to cross all five lanes at once. With the refuge island instead of a turning lane, they can focus their attention on just one direction of traffic at a time.”

The project will be in place through the fall and removed before winter. MnDOT is asking community members to take time and test the project, then provide us with their feedback. Visit the project website at mndot.gov/d2/projects/hwy197-bemidji for more information or contact Jon Mason at jon.mason@state.mn.us or 218-407-1917.