It’s time the city stopped playing patty-cake with country club members and started playing hardball with our transportation needs. I have been talking about it for years, and apparently the public agrees, it is time to build a sensible east/west route through the center of our city.

The city’s newly released long-range transportation plan includes survey results confirming what most folks already know. Sioux Falls residents are in no mood to deal with deteriorating streets. They want a bona fide solution to traveling with relative ease from the city’s east side to its west side.

Don’t get me wrong, there are shortcuts in Sioux Falls. 33rd street is one of my favorites, but guess what, once you get to Kiwanis avenue, you are screwed, you either have to go to the Iwegian Highway called 41st street or the carlot expressway, West 12th. Enough already. Bulldoze the country clubs and serve the people.

19 Thoughts on “I said this three years ago; It’s time to pursue a realistic east/west route in Sioux Falls

  1. I thought you were against gestapo tactics employed by City Hall against private landowners?

    Either way, that ship has sailed. It ain’t gonna happen. The City just concluded negotiations with MCC on relocating some holes for the Dyke rebuild project, and that’s as far is it will ever go. The Club got what they wanted out of the deal, even though the nuclear option of going to court to block the City was there for them.

  2. Costner on August 2, 2010 at 9:12 am said:

    I have to agree with Sy… 26th will never happen, and I’m not sure it is the real solution anyway. Yes it may help easy congestion on 41st and 12th, but none of the three is a true East-West high speed route which is what is needed to really make a difference.

    What we need is a way across town that isn’t intersected by 120 other cross-streets, and aside from a Boston-esque “big dig” tunnel project I have no idea how that will ever happen. The best we can hope for is for 12th to be continually improved with medians to keep traffic speeds up, but that will likely take decades.

    In the meantime the city should be planning ahead so streets like 69th and 85th can be designed to go across town with as few intersections as possible. If 85th could join onto I-29 and go all the way to Hwy 11 it would probably be used quite a bit.

  3. Why are we so afraid of a few rich golfers?

  4. Westward Ho is private property. Property rights apply to us all and protects rich and poor. The poor more than the rich because the rich always have options. You can’t just sieze the golf course because its convenient.

    Taking other people’s property might seem like a great idea until its YOUR property that is being taken.

  5. That’s just it, we wouldn’t have to TAKE anything. We could pay MCC for structures and give them Prairie Green in exchange.

  6. If the self funded PG can win against the City in court, how do think the best attorney team money can buy will do?

    The City didn’t want to test those waters, and that was before the CC went out and got their Course designated as protected habitat. So add the Sierra Club to the list of those who’d fight it tooth and nail.

    Even if the Club(s) wanted to sell, you have a severe elevation decline to overcome along with traversing two waterways & the Intersate to do what? Make it 6 minutes faster to get from TC Referee’s to the VA? Is that really going to be a wise way to spend 100 or so million $$$?

  7. Costner on August 2, 2010 at 12:12 pm said:

    You have to examine the benefits versus the cost. Honestly even if you could get away with taking just one of the two country clubs and leaving enough land behind for the other to continue to have 18 holes, the resulting decrease in value (due to increased road noise and a glaring visual obstuction) would reduce the value of that land by tens of millions of dollars.

    Like it or not, those courses are well established and no other course in town has the same features. The trees alone would take 40 years to replace – and as nice as Prairie Green is it doesn’t even compare.

    Add to the cost of the bridge to go over the river, and then figure out how to connect it to 26th (which likely means more structures and land to be taken via eminent domain) and the court battles, construction cost of the bypass, and the resulting gripes from people who actually live on 26th complaining of increased traffic – and what are you left with?

    Would it really make a huge difference traffic-wise or is this just a class warfare thing because people are jealous the country club crowd has land that isn’t open to everyone?

    Someone once made a comment about a tunnel going under the river and country clubs – and although that would be extremely costly, it might end up being more efficient in the long run.

    Either way I don’t think it has anything to do with being afraid of the country club members – but I don’t think the benefits outweight the risks and costs.

  8. Prairie Green is decent, but it is no MCC replacement.

    You’d also lose a nice revenue stream, as the City makes some Green from that thar Prairie.

  9. Building a road through the CCs isn’t going to change anything unless you can build a 4+ lane road through town. There are plenty of houses on the east side of the CCs that would have to be bought/taken for this to become the type of road described in this blog.

    Maybe if people would beat the proper traffic management drum, something meaningful would be accomplished faster.

  10. l3wis on August 2, 2010 at 8:43 pm said:

    “So add the Sierra Club to the list of those who’d fight it tooth and nail.”

    That is why I suggested nature trails and the state park option. Why let a few rich dudes enjoy this land when everyone in our city could and tourists?

  11. “Why let a few rich dudes enjoy this land…”

    Because it belongs to them?

  12. So if I have a membership to the YMCA I own it? Who knew?

  13. Plaintiff Guy on August 3, 2010 at 6:16 am said:

    It’ll soon be no longer necessary. Considering an unconstitutional corrupt city government and 10 years of tax increases, there’ll be a mass migration outside from city limits. Finishing the Highway 11 loop and federal money for a west and north bypass is a better option. We’ll be working and shopping in Harrisburg, Brandon, Tea and sales tax free Minnesota (Mall of the Falls, Exit 1 along I-90). A 75 MPH route around SF makes more sense. An interstate highway design will get us to resorts in Iowa much faster. An outside loop will keep city fascists in their ankle bracelet perimeter.

  14. The comments noting the costs vs the benefits are on the mark. I drive back and forth between the east and west side of town often. And, yes, for some minute in the morning and evening (and when the fair is going) there is some congestion on 12th and 41st. Is spending 7 figures worth me (or anyone else for that matter) 5-10 minutes in our commute. I don’t think so. It seems to me that the money could be better spent on other things in this community (or not raising taxes to pay for such folly).

    What could be done to relieve the congestion? One thing that could occur is to encourage businesses to spread out their start/end times. In that way not EVERYONE shows up on these corridors betwee 7:30-8 a.m. and 5-5:30 This has been done already when Roosevelt High School opened and there was vigorous discussion about putting even more lanes on 41st St. Instead, the school district adjusted the start time and that served to lessen the demand on 41st. Not perfect, but a move in the right direction.

    Another thing that could take place is that people could drive to/from work with someone else. Oh my! How radical! For over 15 years I have waited for lights to walk across Minnesota in the morning and afternoon high demand times. For giggles I count how many vehicles pass and how many have more than one person in them. NEVER have I seen more than 3-4% of the vehicles with more than one person.

    How can we get more people in a car? One way would be to raise the fuel tax (some combination of state and federal) by $2.00/gallon over a period of four years. We constantly hear from Rep Krebs about the deteriorating nature of our state’s roads. Add to that the declining revenue due to more fuel efficient cars. This is a way to obtain more revenue for our roads. This increase can be offset for those in need through an adjustment to the Earned Income Tax Credit.

    Another way to lessen the demand on the corridors is to increase the number of people using alternative modes of transportation–the bus, bicycle, walking. My job requires me to be out-and-about the region, so I usually drive. Still, on an average of once a week over the course of the year I ride my bicycle the five miles to the office. I’m an old guy who has to dress in, at minimum, business casual. Others can do the same.

    Finally, this focus on speed is totally backwards. Slower traffic begets safer movement about an area. Speed kills. Slow traffic through an urban area keeps people using all modes of transportation safe. Keep the fast traffic on the interstates around the city, not constructing a fast road through the city.

  15. Costner on August 3, 2010 at 7:00 am said:

    Speed kills.

    Actually that isn’t true. It is generally the sudden stop that kills.

    That said, nobody is talking about a 65mph cross-town street. But the sections of 12th with medians where people can drive 35 and 40 for 15 blocks without dealing with slowing or turning cars makes a huge difference compared to a street that is 25mph with stop signs or turning traffic every two blocks.

  16. Fred:

    “Is spending 7 figures worth me (or anyone else for that matter) 5-10 minutes in our commute.”

    Try high 8 or low 9 figures. 7 wouldn’t even buy you half of one club.

  17. l3wis on August 3, 2010 at 8:07 am said:

    But you would have a beautiful state park to boot. That aspect is more important to me then the street.

    I have often suggested that anyone over the age of 65 and is still not working not drive between 7-9 AM and 4-6 PM. That would cut congestion a lot.

  18. Costner on August 3, 2010 at 9:45 am said:

    If you want a beautiful park, there is a little piece of land behind Lowe’s called “Lake Lorraine” which is available for sale…and it comes complete with a 30 acre lake.

    I can promise you the cost for that land would be about 70% less than what you would have to pay to get the country clubs. But let’s be honest – Sioux Falls doesn’t really need another park in the middle of town. What makes that area so nice is the golf courses themselves. They invested in the waterways and the trees and the landscaping and the grading to make them what they are. five blocks in either direction you don’t have anything special, so it would be a little selfish to take what they have built and turn it into a park just because it is beautiful.

  19. Tom H. on August 26, 2010 at 10:54 am said:

    What if we built our city in a way that people didn’t need to drive to do every single little errand of the day? Seems like that worked out pretty well for the first couple millenia of human civilization.

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