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Pleas made for changes at North Main crosswalk

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Citizens crowded City Hall at Tuesday's City Council meeting to discuss the crosswalk at North Main and Union streets when an elderly woman was killed last month.

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"There's an old saying that you can't fight City Hall," said Ann McAlpine, executive director of the River Falls Housing Authority. "But this isn't a fight. We hope to start dialogue and prompt a response to a tragic situation.

"We are asking for a reasonable, timely and visible response."

David Guise, son of Claire Guise who was struck and killed in that crosswalk, also spoke.

"I'm not a resident of River Falls but am asking council to take a serious look at the problem and do something positive," he said.

Four elderly residents who often use the crosswalk also made these points:

  • It's too long a walk from the seniors apartments to the Division Street intersection.

  • Often five or even 10 cars may zip by before someone stops at the crosswalk.

  • The public library is an important destination and seniors are now scared about trying to walk there.

  • The crosswalk problem has existed for some time. When the driver who hit Claire Guise said he didn't see her, he was truthful. Some drivers pass stopped cars on the right instead of waiting, creating a blind spot even for defensive pedestrians.

  • One positive is that more drivers are stopping now, so maybe Claire Guise didn't die in vain.

    Mayor Don Richards said he was sure the comments would result in some action by the city.

    Council Member Carol Robinson reiterated the city's condolences for the Guise family and said the council would be evaluating and seriously considering the problem.

    Other news

  • Council members recognized Dave Wisdorf for his 12 years of service as public works superintendent with a plaque.

  • A liquor license for Ground Zero Bar was approved after hearing about improvements manager and potential owner Brian Roquette made. Mayor Richards confirmed seeing carpeted front stairs, fresh paint, remodeled bathrooms and "good embellishments."

    Roquette said he now has a business plan and improved security with four new cameras, two people checking identification, two bouncers and two bartenders on staff at all times.

    Roquette is moving ahead with plans to form a committee of bar owners who could plan for general cleanup and improvements around area bars.

    "Because of excessive drinking problems, I'm not promoting specials like two for one or happy hour. I also have a new policy that if you screw up, you can't come back."

  • Council members discussed higher council pay to align salaries with like-sized communities. Council Member Wayne Beebe said pay increases would be effective for the next council elected.
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