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Traffic problems lead to suspension of Final Stretch triathlon

The Hudson Common Council voted Monday to suspend the Final Stretch St. Croix Valley Triathlon in order to develop a policy for the ride. The decision comes after this year’s ride on Sept. 3 had several traffic problems.

Police Chief Marty Jensen said the ride had two incidents that affected public safety. The first was as the bicyclists were riding out of the bathhouse. Cones were set up so the bikes would be on one side of the street and traffic would continue on the other. However Jensen said volunteers directed the riders to use the entire street, stopping traffic in the area.

The second problem occurred on St. Croix Street where the route had riders cross. Jensen said the crossing backed traffic up to Vine Street, and a Hudson officer was sent to control traffic. To alleviate the traffic, the officer at one point had to stop bikes during the ride. Jensen said several riders swore at the officer and continued to ride regardless. At a separate time, a vehicle ignored the officer’s directions, and a bicyclist hit the side of the vehicle. The rider was not seriously injured.

Final Stretch has held the St. Croix Valley Triathlon in Hudson for 14 years, and Jensen said this was the first major incident.

Jensen said he believed the race should be suspended so a new route for the bikes could be made.

Council Member Randy Morrissette said he wanted to see a strong message sent so other events will know the city has a policy in place for what’s expected.

Council Member Jim Webber said suspending the event for a year did make it likely that the event would not come back to Hudson at all. Morrissette said it was important to put public safety first, and look out for the city’s taxpayers.

“We need to decide if we can even handle this type of event,” he said.

Webber said the city should give Final Stretch an opportunity to come up with a new plan, rather than suspending.

Council Member John Hoggatt said he would support the suspension if the council would consider removing it if the organization presented a new plan.

The suspension was approved 5-1, with Webber voting no.

In other business, the council:

Approved the deer management program.

Approved final plans for the Xcel Energy service center at 2001 Old Highway 35 South and the water treatment plant west of Old Highway 35 and south of Stageline Road.

Approved an extension of the underground electrical line from the Hudson Library to 720 First Street.

Approved the YMCA and United Way of St. Croix Valley 5K walk and run at Lakefront Park.

After a closed session, approved the purchase of 1201 Livingstone Road for $800,000.

In the Sept. 15 article “Hudson awards sewer contract,” Hudson Council Member Tom McCormick was incorrectly listed as one of the council members who wanted more facts before disallowing the claim of Emily Janisch.

Rebecca Mariscal

Rebecca Mariscal joined the Hudson Star Observer as a reporter in 2016. She graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a degree in communication and journalism. 

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