A few thoughts on the mayor’s comments that “The grant is great news for those interested in increasing safety for motorists and pedestrians as well as increased mobility along the highway to businesses.”

If the mayor is interested in safety, why is she blindly supporting a concept that INCREASES traffic onto this intersection by 36 percent?

According to a MnDOT spokesperson, installation of roundabouts do lead to a decrease of INJURY accidents, but also have shown a large INCREASE in total vehicle crashes involving pedestrians. NONE of the traffic counts and data supplied by MnDOT include pedestrian usage.

This intersection is used as a route to school for many kids and for adults going to the store, library, or pharmacy, so the claim of increased pedestrian safety is pure opinion, and not backed by any facts.

The mayor, in her counterpoint, also said that there is “speculation or hidden agenda....” but failed to answer the question that was brought up of who is on the hook for unforeseen costs associated with this project.

Did MnDOT send a letter stating the city would not be held liable for these costs? I also understand that a “fifth leg” of this project will need to be removed and land acquisition may be required — who pays for that and where is the money coming from? The $125,000 CDA grant Jordan got is a 2:1 matching grant, meaning Jordan must spend $62,500 of its own money to qualify for the grant.

The mayor and at least some members of the council should be able to recall a time when the previous police chief suggested a four-way stop for the intersection. The estimated cost for that was $500. At that time the estimated cost for traffic signals was $50,000, and the estimated cost of a roundabout was $500,000.

At that time, one council member said he couldn’t understand why a roundabout was so expensive because “it’s just cement.” The project as currently presented to the council is projected to cost $2.75 million.So-called soft costs (design and engineering) for this project would be $577,500.

One might question whether the city engineer is interested in giving the city what it needs, or in increasing the size of the project to maximize the engineering firm’s commission.

The mayor may recall that approximately four years ago MnDOT APPROVED a stoplight for this intersection. Installation was delayed due to the winter season, and frost in the ground, but later was denied after a single person (at MnDOT) changed jobs. Rather than holding MnDOT to their word and saving taxpayers money, the city decided not to pursue the matter for various reasons.

The statistic of 350 people responding to a poll is hardly an accurate representation of the total population of Jordan’s 6300-plus residents. It’s true that 68 percent of the people who took that poll responded favorably to a roundabout. My question is, what were the next most popular choices? The answer (spoiler alert) was there were no other options to pick from.

The mayor is giving us the impression she is very involved and knowledgeable of all aspects of this roundabout and its users. But she didn’t tell the community she is blindly supporting a 169/282/9 intersection concept that will increase traffic into this roundabout by approximately 700 vehicles at peak times per hour in less than five years.

A different concept would NOT have this increase (for an additional $1 million) which will bring the current 1,175 vehicles per hour at peak to a staggering 3,050 vehicles per peak hour by the time this gets built.

Anyone with any amount of critical thinking is able to realize that wait time and stacking will not be eliminated or decreased, more like the opposite is true. We should note these counts specify that these are all cars. But observation and common sense tell us there are significant numbers of commercial vehicles, which take up the space of three cars. The stacking will be longer. Wait times will be longer than we have currently at this location.

Please keep in mind that the city specifically designated the area west of U.S. 169 for industrial and commercial development. I seriously doubt any time was taken to actually meet and talk to the current taxpayers in the industrial area who rely on large vehicles transporting their machinery or receiving goods and services that are trucked in for the function of their business.

If that level of concern has not been shown for the city of Jordan and its CURRENT industrial base, what might be the attitude of FUTURE industrial or commercial investors wanting to join the community?

The roundabout is being touted as a cure-all to mitigate traffic issues, but anyone with real world experience and logic can look at the facts that just don’t support rosy and positive rhetoric about this issue.

I understand one of the mayor’s duties is to represent Jordan in the best possible light but the response to the previous article, in my humble opinion, sounds more like a staff prepared press release where the point was “If it’s free it has to be good, and we are getting something done.”

But getting the flu or strep throat is also getting something done for free. Free does not equate to good.

Jeff Will is a Jordan City Council member and president and co-owner of W W Will & Sons Distributing, a 59-year-old family-owned business in Jordan’s industrial area.


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