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One-way slows Green Lake traffic

Nearly a mile of Skyline Drive on Green Lake is now a south-bound, one-way route with a biking and walking path replacing the northbound lane. Tribune photo by Carolyn Lange

SPICER -- A one-way traffic route that was implemented this month on Skyline Drive has made a change in how traffic flows around Green Lake.

The change has reduced and slowed traffic on the nearly mile-long section of lakeside road, and that's a good thing according to people who live there.

"I'm thrilled that we got this," Linda Mickelson.

Mickelson was one of a number of people who lobbied the Kandiyohi County Commissioners to alter the traffic pattern on the road because of safety concerns.

A proposal to close off the street entirely with a cul-de-sac was dismissed in favor of the inexpensive option of making the street one-way, which has been in effect since May 4.

Only south-bound traffic on the 8/10 mile section is now allowed. An alternate frontage road on the backside of Skyline Drive can be accessed for north- and south-bound traffic.

Skyline Drive, which is also called County Road 144, has Green Lake on one side and homes on the other.

Children that race across the road to get to the lake oftentimes don't look to see if there's a car racing down the road, said Mickelson.

That fear is what drove homeowners to seek a change, said Tom Lindemann, another resident.

"We've never complained about people going back and forth, he said. "We've always complained about the speed."

It's not the tourists that want to look at the lake that speed down the winding road, said Mickelson.

She said it's usually younger drivers who live in the area who are looking for a thrill.

"People think they want to be in a hurry and don't think about the young kids that might be crossing the road," said Mickelson.

Residents were worried a fatality or serious injury was inevitable if something wasn't done.

With a new frontage road nearby, Mickelson said there was no need to keep the street open for two-lane traffic.

So far the new one-way is "working well," said Lindmann.

"It seems to have calmed the area down," said Kandiyohi County Public Works Director Gary Danielson. The speed of vehicles using the road has decreased, he said.

By restriping the road, the northbound lane next to the lake has been turned into a wide biking and walking path.

Both Mickelson and Lindemann said they've seen many people strolling and biking there during the last couple weeks.

"People are enjoying the relative safety of having 12 feet of safe area to walk in," said Danielson.

There are a fair number of vehicles that have been going the wrong way on the one-way street.

"It will take some time for people to get used to it," said Lindemann.

With one-way signs and blockades up, Danielson said a driver would have to be "less than attentive" to go the wrong way. "Sometimes you shake your head in this business," he said.

Nevertheless, he said there will be some adjustments to pavement markings and additional signage put up to get the message out a little louder.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

(320) 894-9750