Cambridge takes steps to make Second Avenue Southeast safer

Due to concerns brought forth by members of the Willow Wood Homeowners Association, the Cambridge City Council is taking steps to make Second Avenue Southeast a safer street.

During the Cambridge City Council meeting Aug. 18, City Planner Marcia Westover explained the homeowners association submitted a letter requesting the city to consider closing the driveway access into the Shalom Shop property on Second Avenue Southeast and taking down the “access to Highway 95” sign also on the property.

Westover explained the association feels traffic speed causes safety concerns for the residents who live on Second Avenue Southeast.

She explained the driveway access was allowed by the city at some point in time, whether for the Blimpie sub shop drive thru as a one-way drive, or some other use prior to that.

Westover noted traffic heading east on First Avenue East (Highway 95) can easily turn right into the businesses in the area (Tractor Supply, Shalom Shop, Family Pathways and Northbound Liquor). Westbound traffic on Highway 95 cannot make a left turn into these businesses. Drivers need to use Second Avenue Southeast via Opportunity Boulevard South to gain access to the businesses.

Following discussion, the council approved a motion to install a temporary speed bump and extra “slow traffic” signage on Second Avenue Southeast.

City Administrator Lynda Woulfe said she would follow up with some other steps that were discussed, such as the relocation of neighborhood mailboxes, informing the association of the process to petition the city for installation of sidewalks, trimming the large blue spruce tree in the area, and looking into installing a “no parking” sign from the curb to stop sign.

Michelle Becker, homeowner association treasurer, explained the association’s concern is for the residents who live on Second Avenue Southeast due to the vast amount of traffic using the alley to access the businesses in the area.

Becker said, because of the speed of the traffic, no one is safe crossing the street to get their mail, walk their dogs, push a stroller or just go out walking. She added several of the residents are in their mid- to late 80s and residents have children and grandchildren playing in the neighborhood.

Woulfe explained the 30 mph speed limit is set by state statute. Police Chief Tim Dwyer reported during recent extra patrolling of the neighborhood, radar monitoring found most vehicles in the area do not get to more than 27-35 mph.

In other action, the council:

• Approved a resolution allowing for an interim use permit for automobile sales at 309 First Ave. E., Cambridge. Jordan Valder is requesting to move his business, Valders Vehicles, from East Bethel. The property was formerly used as a car dealership, and Valder intends to renovate the existing building to improve the aesthetics and quality of the site. The improvements to be made include new interior sheetrock, new flooring, new paint on the interior and exterior, and new overhead garage doors.

• Approved summary ordinance No. 603 amending Chapter 95 to allow agricultural-related businesses to sell hatchlings (young chickens) from Feb. 1 through April 30 each year.  The businesses will work with East Central Sanitation to properly and safely handle dead carcass removal.