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FROM THE EDITOR: City of Cloquet walks the walk

Perhaps you noticed the strange, almost-sculpture-like snow edgings near the boulevard trees on Carlton Avenue, the feeling of wide open streets again, or the fact that young people have been walking to and from school on the sidewalks, rather than in the street.

0 Talk about it

Kudos to the city of Cloquet for taking action to make Cloquet more pedestrian friendly in the heart of winter. Two weeks ago, city workers cleared both sides of Carlton Avenue from Highway 33 to past the Garfield School, as well as the library side of 14th Street and the north side of Doddridge Avenue from 14th to Highway 33.

Way to walk the walk, Cloquet, instead of just talking about the need for better sidewalk access in the winter.

There was a time that I would have self-righteously pointed out that the homeowners along those streets should clear their own sidewalks.

However, after attempting to clear an older friend’s driveway and sidewalk on Carlton Avenue after a heavy snow last March, I quickly realized their burden is greater than most. Another friend, who lives near Garfield School, reiterated that thought after the major snowfalls earlier this season.

Because the sidewalks are so close to the street in most cases, city plows push a lot of snow onto the sidewalk from the street — heavy, hard snow that’s incredibly difficult to remove with a shovel or even a somewhat puny snowblower. And, because these streets are vital thoroughfares, the plows come through again and again after a snowfall, depositing more and more snow on the sidewalks.

For months, Cloquet City Councilors and staff have been touching on ideas to make Cloquet a better place for handicapped residents, pedestrians, bicyclists and others who might not travel everywhere by car. Clearing the sidewalks along the city’s major walkways — especially near the schools — was an idea City Engineer Jim Prusak and Street Maintenance Supervisor Les Peterson thought both worthy and doable … provided the snowfalls ceased long enough to allow staff time to clear sidewalks after the streets were safe.

So, the city attached a snow blower to its new skidsteer loader and went to work.

And we thank them for it.

What an excellent use of taxpayer dollars.

Jana Peterson


Share your thoughts on the transportation future of Cloquet at a “community visioning meeting” from 6:30- 8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22, in room 220 at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College. The meeting is the start of a nine-month planning process to update the City’s Comprehensive Plan Transportation Section (and the potential community health impacts of that transportation plan).