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Approval given to safe routes study

West Fargo City Commissioners adopted the Fargo Moorhead Metropolitan Council of Governments West Fargo Safe Routes to School Study Monday night paving the way for those involved to pursue federal funding for implementing the various phases and components of the study.

The plan identifies barriers and impediments to safe pedestrian movement, whether walking or biking, adjacent to all the West Fargo School District kindergarten and elementary schools, including the Clayton A. Lodoen and Osgood Kindergarten Centers, Aurora, Eastwood, Harwood, Horace, L.E. Berger, South and Westside Elementary Schools, and the Cheney Middle School.

The secondary purpose is to create non-infrastructure improvements that would increase the amount of walking/biking to school sites, eliminating some of the congested traffic common at several of the schools. To correlate, Safe Routes to School walking/bicycle maps were developed for all K-8 school sites.

The study involved working with a diverse group representing the city's planning, engineering and public works departments, the school district, police department, Cass County planning department, and the FM Metro Cog, as well as parents, principals, and elected officials.

Two public input meetings were held at which the public was asked to provide feedback about areas where they believed there were safety concerns that might limit students and parents ability or willingness to walk or bike to their respective school sites.

Primary safety issues included: motorists speeding, motorists not yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks, motorists double-parking and dropping off students mid-block, and pedestrians crossing at mid-block instead of at the traffic controlled intersections

Safety recommendations also included the addition or refinement of infrastructure such as the installation of additional driver feedback signs, while non-infrastructure recommendations included educating and encouraging parents and students to walk or bicycle to their respective school sites.

The West Fargo School Board must also approve the study.

In other action, the commission:

-approved second reading of eight ordinances pertaining to international building codes;

-gave West Fargo resident Ron LaCoe permission to move forward on a request to feature 'garage bands' at Stars and Strikes bowling alley, one time a week, without any kind of city license, the criteria outlined in city ordinance. The city ordinance stipulates that such activity can occur with a fee as long as it does not exceed one time a week. LaCoe appeared before the board to make the request, saying it would be a good activity to showcase youth talent. Police Chief Arland Rasmussen said he had no problems with the request as long as there is parent supervision and the playing takes place indoors. LaCoe said that would be the case, and that the activity would be approached on a trial basis to see how it goes and is received;

-issued six building permits with total valuation of $569,800. Permits were issued to: Terry Welle Construction 1315 3rd St. E., $1,500, commercial remodel; Platinum Home Contracting, 4538 Newport Lane, $80,000, residential dwelling; Studs to Rugs, 1630 Ash Place, $27,300, residential remodel; Heritage Homes, 3551 3rd St. E., $270,000, residential dwelling; Dave Nerby, 945 35th Ave. W., $7,000, residential remodel-deck; Heritage Homes, 3528 Loberg Drive, $184,000, residential dwelling.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the West Fargo City Commission will take place Monday, April 4, at 5:30 p.m. in the Commission Chambers at West Fargo City Hall. All meetings are open to the public.