I'm writing in regards to the Minnesota Highway Department's proposal to eliminate the traffic light at Seventh street and Highway 53.

I live just off 53 at 12th Street. While I must admit, about 75 percent of the time there's not much traffic while trying to enter 53. but it's at a place where the highway begins to straighten out after the long curve that starts at about 15th Street. From 12th Street, looking south, the boulevard is lined with trees and a person can't see much more than about a half a block. It's easier and safer to go one block north to 11th Street and enter 53 at the traffic light even if I intend to drive south.

In the tourist season, this area sees a high volume of traffic at the Voyageurs Cafe, The Jug, Holiday and Family Dollar. At Holiday, quite often vehicles towing boats and motorhomes, etc. line up just off the highway blocking the intersection at Industrial Avenue. Over the years there has been numerous accidents there.

It seems that what MnDOT is not taking into consideration is the tourist traffic. Most of the tourists are from metro areas where the speed limits are hardly ever reduced to 30 mph. The only thing that slows them down now is the rough intersections at 15th and 16th streets. But with a new four lane - five lanes including the turn lane - highway, what can we expect?

The vehicles towing boats, campers and RVs present a very dangerous situation as most of them are traveling at about 40-plus mph and if the traffic light at 11th Street is green there's nothing to slow them down until the Seventh Street traffic light. Also, the width of the highway will still be reduced to two lanes and a turning lane at Ninth Street, as it is now - another hazard - as the buildings will not accommodate five lanes.

Without a traffic light at Seventh Street do we really want this traffic entering our business area, i.e. Wherley's, Sportsman Service, and the pedestrian traffic in and around the Border Bar, at anything other than 30 mph? While we'll welcome a new highway, let's make safety a top priority

Keep the traffic light in place at the Seventh Street intersection.

Melvin Brown

International Falls, MN

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