The Free Press, Mankato, MN

May 13, 2013

Ask Us: Merging and mulching

The Mankato Free Press

---- — Q: When you are traveling south on Second Street to get to the bridge to make a right turn to go into North Mankato, there's confusion because eastbound traffic on Plum Street turning on to Second has a very short "merge" lane. There are no signs instructing traffic coming off of Plum Street to yield or instructing Second Street drivers to yield to the traffic coming off of Plum. Is there going to be a yield sign or any other type of "control" signage put up?

A: There's actually a parallel situation for traffic coming off of the Veterans Memorial Bridge and heading to downtown — another tight merging area on Second Street in the block leading to Main Street. No yield signs there, either.

Tanya Ange, assistant city manager in Mankato, said the intersection — which is a relatively new one — will be examined this year to see how well it is working.

"When there's a new intersection created, after the traffic patterns have stabilized, we typically will continue to monitor that," Ange said.

In the meantime, drivers should follow the general rule for lane changes when there are no yield signs or other traffic controls — the vehicle looking to join a lane must yield to any vehicles already in the lane.

Q: I was wondering if the city plans on putting mulch on the trails leading from the dog park down to the river. There's going to be some big muddy spots. The mulch from last year is pretty much worn thin.

A: Ange said the city doesn't mulch trails in every park every year — instead rotating between the parks.

"Typically, our mulching occurs during the winter (if there's not snow cover) when the ground is hard and trail usage is lower," she said. "This year we focused on Rasmussen Woods."

But Ange said city crews will look at the Kiwanis trails to make sure they're safe. The city has been working to stabilize the trails ever since the lower part of the park was flooded three times two years ago.

"Once the ground firms up, we will look at the Kiwanis Park trails to ensure that there is safety," she said.

Contact Ask Us at The Free Press, P.O Box 3287, Mankato, MN 56002. Call Mark Fischenich at 344-6321 or email your question to; put Ask Us in the subject line.