Cloquet residents say parking should be addressed in 14th Street project

The project, which will be overseen by Carlton County, will reconstruct 14th Street in Cloquet from Cloquet Avenue to Stanley Avenue.

Matt Bolf, PE of Short, Elliott Hendrickson Inc. addresses a crowd of Cloquet residents about the upcoming projects on 14th Street in the next two years. While the county repairs the roads, the City of Cloquet will take advantage of the situation to replace 100 year old infrastructure under the roads. Jamie Lund/Pine Journal

A crowd of about 35 concerned residents gathered Monday, March 9 at the City of Cloquet building to share their ideas and concerns about the upcoming 14th Street reconstruction project. Parking was a common worry.

Matt Bolf, an engineer from Short Elliot Hendrickson in Duluth, said the meeting was to help gather information from residents about possible concerns, as well as ideas about the project.

The construction will span from Cloquet Avenue to Stanley Avenue during the project's first phase in 2021. The second phase in 2022 will end at Tall Pine Lane.

Bolf said state funding will cover the costs for the county project, including sidewalks. The county annually receives nearly $3.3 million in state construction funding, said JinYeene Neumann, engineer with the Carlton County Transportation Department, in an email to the Pine Journal. An estimated cost for the 14th Street project has not been set.

Carlton County is overseeing the project, but the City of Cloquet will take advantage of the construction to do some long overdue utility updates, including replacing 50 to 100-year-old infrastructure. According to city engineer, Caleb Peterson, the city has $1.8 million set aside for their portion of the project.


Residents received a copy of six possible design options for the project.

The intersections on 14th Street performed well during a traffic study a few years ago, Bolf said. He added that the intersection that performed lower was the newest one at Washington Avenue. He said it would probably need to be replaced with either a stop light or a roundabout in five to eight years, or they can replace it during the project.

Although a roundabout usually costs more than a traffic light initially, Bolf said it requires less time and money to maintain. It also prevents severe traffic accidents, unlike traffic lights. Officials are considering both options.

Most residents said parking issues were their main concern and asked that current parking be maintained.

Kelly Berggraff owns the Hair Zone salon on 14th Street and said she is concerned the reconstruction might eliminate parking similar to the recent Washington Avenue reconstruction project. She said her business already struggles with lack of parking, and when the dance studio across the street is in session, many people park in front of the salon, causing more headaches for the owners and customers.

Linda and Rick Lahti, who live nearby on 12th Street, said they also have parking concerns.

Linda Lahti said the couple sees significant traffic congestion at their home near Washington Elementary School during the school year. The school is on 12th Street, one block west of 14th Street. Traffic from the school is so bad that sometimes residents are blocked in their driveways. The street ends at the end of the block and parents need to turn. Many drive down another residential street to access 14th Street to reach their destinations.

The Lahtis have contacted Cloquet officials asking to change 12th Street from a one-way street into a two-way street or to limit parking to one side of the street. They are hoping by making their concerns known at the public meeting that something will be done to alleviate the traffic chaos by the school.


Residents were invited to write their concerns on a giant map of the length of the street after the presentation. Linda and Rick Lahti's input and ideas were added to the map, as well.

Residents who were not able to attend the meeting, can provide feedback through an online survey. The survey is available online at .

This story was updated on March 12 at 6:04 p.m. to reflect the amount of state aid Carlton County receives annually for construction projects. It was originally posted on March 11 at 1:48 p.m.

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