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Our View: Love your Pedro's; but be street-smart

We need to remind people who are visiting Pedro’s, the popular Mexican restaurant in downtown Cloquet, that the new location is adjacent to a dense residential neighborhood that isn’t prepared to handle the influx of people parking in their streets and driveways.

The old location, just a few blocks away, had no off-street parking, but it was surrounded by other downtown businesses — not homes — on streets that were designed to handle commercial parking. The new location, in the old Eagles Club building, has a small parking lot but is adjacent to a one-way residential street that’s usually full of residents’ cars. Not only that, but the street (Eighth Street) is narrow and on a steep hill. And did we mention it’s a one-way street headed downtown? All these factors, plus the popularity of the restaurant and the novelty of its new building (which is spectacular, we may add) adds up to disruptive parking practices in the area.

Customers of the restaurant have been squeezing into tight spaces usually used by residents. They have also been travelling “up” Eighth Street, which is a one-way in the opposite direction. We agree that the one-way is somewhat poorly marked, but we also hear reports of cars headed up Eighth “just a half block” to grab that one spot that may be left on the street, according to some residents in the area. Finally, cars circling the residential streets looking for parking are sharing the narrow road with pedestrians walking down the street toward the restaurant.

We urge Pedro’s patrons to be considerate. Respect the one-way, and make sure you are not blocking people’s driveways or making it dangerous for people walking in the streets. Don’t sneak into the Moose Lodge parking lot either; that’s rude.

We suggest people park across Cloquet Avenue in the city lot by U.S. Bank, rather than adding to the congestion on the residential streets. Pedestrians, please use the sidewalks rather than the street. Neighbors, please make sure the sidewalks are clear, and shoveled once snow arrives.

We also ask the city to consider painting crosswalks on Cloquet Avenue to make it safer for people to park across the street, and maybe post a pedestrian crossing sign there too. Additional one-way signage on Eighth Street would also be helpful.

The new Pedro’s restaurant is a gem in downtown Cloquet, and we wish them success. If we can address the parking issues now, we believe the new restaurant and its neighbors will have a long, smooth relationship that benefits all of us.