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Planners consider changes to streets in Endion area

The Endion neighborhood could see changes to some of its busiest streets if the provisions of a traffic study detailed Wednesday night come to pass. Transportation officials at the Duluth Metropolitan Interstate Council meeting, held at First Lut...

The Endion neighborhood could see changes to some of its busiest streets if the provisions of a traffic study detailed Wednesday night come to pass.

Transportation officials at the Duluth Metropolitan Interstate Council meeting, held at First Lutheran Church, said the neighborhood is changing, so traffic patterns may need to change accordingly. About 30 people attended the meeting.

For the purposes of the study, "Endion Transportation and Land Use Plan," Endion is roughly bound by Fourth Street and Interstate 35 and Sixth and 26th avenues East.

The city of Duluth had asked MIC to do the study, which will be the seventh study of the area in 12 years.

The city is interested in promoting economic growth in the neighborhood to prevent sprawl on the city's outskirts, city planner Bob Bruce said.

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"This is not just about transportation," Bruce said, adding that land-use issues, property values and growth considerations need to be taken into account.

Potential developments in the area and changes to traffic volume prompt the question of whether Endion's streets need to be reconfigured.

For instance, many of the neighborhood's streets are one-way. Duluth's one-way streets were implemented in the 1950s as a way to reduce congestion -- because they can accommodate three to four times the traffic of a two-way street, according to MIC senior planner Holly Butcher.

But with the completion of I-35 -- the last expansion, to 26th Avenue East, was finished in 1992 -- the area from 26th Avenue East toward downtown began to see less traffic.

"The question then becomes, are those [one-way streets] still valid?" Bruce said.

The area also could see development in the coming years. Possible expansions to St. Luke's hospital and the Lakewalk Surgery Center, combined with the construction of a restaurant in the old Computer World building and possible development at the Armory, might reshape traffic and pedestrian patterns, which could mean corresponding road changes.

MIC will host a meeting at 7 p.m. Monday to discuss the results of a London Road business survey and possible street changes. The meeting will be held at the Edgewater Hotel, 1700 London Road.

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