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Organizers: ND Moves project a success

By Staff | Sep 14, 2018

Rugby wrapped up its participation in this summer’s North Dakota Moves project Wednesday, removing all traces of the pop-up demonstration placed in July.

Organizers Darylanna Durkee and Mayor Sue Steinke described the project as a success.

Durkee, who serves as executive director for the Rugby Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, told the Tribune the temporary project served its purpose: to generate lots of feedback from Rugby residents.

” We were just looking for a response. And that was how they feel about these elements coming to our town permanently. And we were successful in that.”

However, although opinions were sought on whether or not the elements should become a part of the city’s infrastructure, the items were only downtown temporarily, Durkee and Steinke emphasized.

“Any response (to the project) was a great response, and it was a super-effective project,” Durkee noted. However, she added, “It needed to come down.”

Durkee and Steinke explained the project was launched per specifications outlined in a contract with North Dakota Moves, a statewide program overseen by the North Dakota Department of Transportation.

The contract specified the project itself would end August 13, and all elements installed as part of the project would come down by September 12.

“Our tear-down date was always August 13, and for absolute removal of all materials was September 12. So, we knew that on installation date, July 18,” Durkee indicated.

“The big elements like our flowers, and our benches, and our delineators that were the barriers for the bump outs, those were taken down August 13. That was the end of the actual demonstration, and all of the surveys,” she continued.

However, Durkee and Steinke said both the Rugby Chamber of Commerce/CVB and the City of Rugby are still open to feedback about the project.

Survey responses on the demonstration have varied.

Durkee noted, “One person said, “It is very beautiful. It makes you want to smile.”

“Another one liked being able to give input on the way they would like to see Main Avenue appear; they liked having a say. “

“And then, on the other end of it, some said they didn’t like the bikes being ridden down the middle of the street, and it’s hard enough to drive around without trying to make sure we’re looking for those pedestrians and bicyclists. Another person said they would like to see us do more with the project, and that would include the parallel parking,” Durkee noted.

Steinke said she received feedback on the project at city council meetings, and by phone and email.

“I think on the negative side, there were a lot of concerns from truck drivers and delivery truck drivers that the bump outs weren’t practical. Snow removal would be a problem. I didn’t have any good feedback on those kinds of things,” Steinke said.

Steinke added Police Chief John Rose and Fire Chief Schneibel shared their concerns about some elements’ impact on accessibility for emergency vehicles at a city council meeting.

“We definitely got a response that our community doesn’t like bump outs, but we definitely got a response that our community does like the crosswalks,” Durkee indicated.

Steinke agreed. “The thing that I had the most positive feedback on was the crosswalk.”

“So, that’s the point of the project: to find out what we liked,” Durkee said.

Durkee said Rugby was one of nine communities to participate in the project, and since other communities may have different contracts and agreements with North Dakota Moves, their tear down dates may differ from Rugby’s.

“All 9 communities that participated in this have a tear down date,” Durkee emphasized. “I’ve heard a lot of people saying, “This community still has theirs up.” Well, it’s temporary. They may have a different (tear down date). I know Steve Mullen (of North Dakota Moves) has been granting extensions for some of those communities, but we felt Rugby just didn’t need one, and we could comply by the 12th.”

“There’s been some miscommunication, so we’ve had some confusion why we’re taking it down, because some of our community members did love the project, and they thought it added something great, and the high-visibility crosswalks increased safety, so we had confusion on why we had to take these things down,” Durkee added. “And the reason we have to take them down is, those are elements that have to be approved through our city council to come to our town.”

Steinke said individual business owners are still welcome to decorate the areas around their storefronts, as they were before the project came to town.

Anyone with comments about the North Dakota Moves project may also contact Mullen at smullen@nd.gov, or 701-328-3287.

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