Traffic problems at Ramstad

There is a bit of a traffic jam at certain times of the day near the new Erik Ramstad Middle School as parents drop off or pick up their children from classes.

The main problem is a limited number of access points in and out of the school parking lot. Sixteenth Street up to 36th Avenue Northwest and 36th Avenue Northwest were completed just before the opening of the school in early December. They were paid for through a special paving district with the city.

“There’s only one way in and one way out right now,” said city engineer Lance Meier. “There’s really not much we can do at this point.”

Meier explained that arterial roads surrounding those streets are controlled by a couple of private developers, not the city, and the city doesn’t control the timeline for completing them. As the private arterial roads are completed, they are donated over to the city of Minot, he said.

The developer for one of the subdivisions, Genco Bakken Development, paid for engineering for 36th Avenue Northwest and the extension of 16th Street Northwest to 36th Avenue NW, but was not responsible for the construction of the roadways.

Joe Genovese, president of Genco Bakken Development, said some work in one of the housing subdivisions surrounding the school has been held up by poor weather and the city’s delay in granting permits until a special paving district had been put together to pay for road construction. The road south of the school, 34th Avenue NW, is a Bakken Development private street, said Genovese, and is scheduled to be completed at some point this year. No city money is attached to the road.

Streets in the Bakken subdivision will be completed as housing goes up and will connect to the major thoroughfares in the city. Some work on a road on the south side of the school might be completed this summer. The rate of completion depends on the velocity of sales in the development, said Genovese. When those streets are completed, said Genovese, the city will accept dedication of interior roads upon final inspection of completed second lift of asphalt, curbing, and gutter.

“We’re a builder, not a public entity,” said Genovese, who said he is sympathetic to the current traffic problems at the school.

He suggested that improving other major roadways in the area might make a difference in the traffic. For instance, he said 30th Avenue Northwest is a “horrendously overtraveled road that needs to be widened.”

In the short term, Meier said the city is looking at modifying stop signs in the area and may also conduct a traffic study of traffic in the area. Mark Vollmer, superintendent of Minot Public Schools, said the school district has arranged for someone to direct traffic near the school during the busiest times of the day.

“The biggest thing we ask is for parents and patrons to be patient,” said Vollmer.

When work is completed on the road to the south of the school, which will connect to Eighth Street Northwest, access will be easier. Vollmer said traffic should be much improved by next fall.

Meier also said the traffic flow is a temporary problem and there will be better access as the area continues to be developed.

“Ultimately, it’s going to be a great location,” said Meier.