City Council on the fence about barrier

Location of proposed pedestrian barrier near North Columbia Road in Grand Forks. Photo credit: City of Grand Forks.

In an effort to keep pedestrians from crossing a patch of North Columbia Road illegally, Grand Forks and UND are considering the construction of a fence near the street.

The proposed 6-foot-tall aluminum fence would start on the east side of Columbia Road near the street’s intersection with Second Avenue North.

From there it would run south and meet with the Columbia overpass wall — a distance of approximately 300 feet.  “The idea is to force (pedestrians) to go down to the crosswalk,” Rich Romness, an engineer with the city, told the City Council’s safety committee Tuesday evening.If approved, UND and the city would split the $23,000 price tag to construct the fence.

The request was tabled for two weeks to allow for staff to gather data and additional information requested by committee members.

Safety data

A lack of accident data for the area had at least one committee member questioning the need for the fence.

Council member Tyrone Grandstrand said he wasn’t convinced its construction was necessary for pedestrian safety.

“I don’t think we should do this,” he said, adding that his concerns stemmed from a lack of data showing the area to be more dangerous for pedestrians and cars than other streets around town.

Romness said the committee behind the request, the joint UND/City Transportation Committee, identified the fence as a need after hearing reports of pedestrians injured when crossing the road at a location other than the crosswalk.

No injury or accidents statistics were included in the request.

“I want to see an argument for this that includes data,” Grandstrand said.

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