Sioux Falls to move RR tracks by 2014?

Yeah, and pigs will fly, monkeys will come out of my ass, the rainbow unicorn park will be built and we will be opening the doors of a brand spanking new Events Center. BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

However, city officials this month disclosed a new timetable that will have rail relocation design work and land acquisition completed by 2013. The downtown tracks will be reduced to two, and a new switching yard will be built by 2014.

So this changed from a static, non-plan to a timetable in a couple of weeks? Give me a f’ing break. This is just political horseplay by our mayor to get the ‘Build it Downtown’ people off his back.



28 comments ↓

#1 Costner on 11.29.10 at 7:33 am

Saw mayor Mike at the parade of lights… and as he was shaking hands and smiling someone in the crowd less than 10 feet from him yelled “BUILD IT DOWNTOWN!”. He didn’t even flinch.

I lol’ed.

#2 Costner on 11.29.10 at 7:36 am

By the way – after the parade it took 34 minutes to get from 8th and Phillips up to Minnesota and back to the 10th street intersection (where the traffic started moving at a normal pace again as people went different directions).

I could have walked it in under 10. But downtown doesn’t have any traffic issues and can easily handle a large scale events center am i rite?

#3 Sy on 11.29.10 at 7:55 am

Actually you are right. An Events Center crowd wouldn’t be the same as the Parade of Lights, although I’d say 34 minutes isn’t bad considering there’s what, 25K or more people down there? Average crowd at a game or concert will be 5K to 10K.

Here’s the salient question Costner, was this your first Parade of Lights? I would guess not, so you knew before-hand you would have some snarl and you went anyway. Did the traffic ruin your night?

#4 scott on 11.29.10 at 9:34 am

had the parade of lights been in sioux city or fargo, near the interstate, i would have gone. however, being downtown in sioux falls, a 30 minute wait in traffic is just too long to justify going.

#5 Tom H. on 11.29.10 at 10:23 am

Costner, why did you sit in traffic on Minnesota Avenue? Why not jog over to Duluth Ave, or Grange, or one of the many other streets that run parallel to Minnesota? The grid can’t display its value if people won’t use it.

#6 Poly43 on 11.29.10 at 11:26 am

The parade of lites ran right thru the heart of easily accessable parking. How long in blocks is that parade? I doubt anyone who went parked more than a couple hundred feet from where they viewed the parade. Same for exiting. Another salient question. How many would have gone to the parade of lites if the “Event” cost $50 a head and parking, depending on how close it was to the parade route, cost between $5 and $20 a car?

#7 Poly43 on 11.29.10 at 11:38 am

So this changed from a static, non-plan to a timetable in a couple of weeks? Give me a f’ing break.

Sure thing l3wis. That’s how city government works. Deflection by blowin sunshine up our butts. Don’t you watch “Ask the Mayor” on channel 16 anymore? All these projects,(RR switching yard, budget cuts, river greenway, DT eastbank developement, EC, river ramp, potholes fixed, neighbors snitchin on neighbors for having a branch hang an inch below the “standard” in boulevards, snow removal) coming to a head as we speak. Good thing we got Reid Holsen to set those beachballs on the mayors T-ball stand.

#8 Pathloss on 11.29.10 at 11:47 am

The city will get tracks taken up but no land will be vacated. It takes 20 years (if then) to get federal right-of-way abandoned. Often it’s used for bike trails etc. but it’s an ingress that can be terminated. There will never be an events center upon RR land or easements. Huether is conning ‘Build it Downtown’ to cave and accept the arena location.

#9 Pathloss on 11.29.10 at 11:50 am

FYI: My background is land surveyor, planning, acquisition, real estate, and civil engineering.

#10 Costner on 11.29.10 at 12:43 pm

Sy: Here’s the salient question Costner, was this your first Parade of Lights? I would guess not, so you knew before-hand you would have some snarl and you went anyway. Did the traffic ruin your night?

I’ll admit I have been to a parade several years back, but I didn’t remember it being such a nightmare to get out of there when it was done.

Did the traffic ruin my night? No, but it didn’t make things any better – and knowing what I know now, I won’t go back next year. It wasn’t worth spending over 30 minutes trying to get out of there for only about 20 minutes of entertainment (if you eliminate the huge gaps between parade floats etc).

Now as to the size of the crowd, that is somewhat of a debatable issue. I sincerely doubt there were 25,000 people there unless you are using the Lifelight organizers to give you a headcount. Second, most of the groups there were families so it wasn’t uncommon to see parents along with three or four kids. Since the kids don’t drive themselves, I’d bet the occupant to vehicle ratio for a parade is much higher than it would be for something like a rock concert or hockey game.

Third, the people that were there are spread out along a parage route which is what… 8 to 10 blocks long? By the time the parade is over on one end, it has 20 minutes to go on the other end (at least). So to some degree those leaving should not only be staggered timewise, but they should all be leaving via different exit streets along the route – not from one single point.

I dare say the bulk of the issue I experienced stemmed from the Wells Fargo parking ramp combined with several of the surface lots in that same area all spilling out onto Phillips and trying to get out of there. It just didn’t work and I can’t imagine how bad it would be if everyone was trying to leave at the exact same moment.

Tom: Costner, why did you sit in traffic on Minnesota Avenue? Why not jog over to Duluth Ave, or Grange, or one of the many other streets that run parallel to Minnesota?

The traffic on Minnesota wasn’t the issue – it was getting out on Phillips where I was stuck for the majority of the time and the Minnesota traffic only added a few minutes. I would have liked to go another direction other than Phillips, but that was the only option at the time. I sat through light after light after light and never moved, and by the time I got to an intersection and had a green light, it was blocked by the traffic from the other direction who were probably as frustrated as I was.

However, to add to that I wouldn’t have expected Minnesota to be busy either, so I wouldn’t have expected to need to take another route. Needless to say we can’t expect people from out of town to know to take alternate routes either, so for an Events Center scenario it would likely be just as bad if not worse.

Now maybe 30+ minutes to get out of downtown isn’t the end of the world, but for many people that type of wait isn’t going to make them want to go back time and time again. I just think the whole traffic issue downtown is being trivialized. It IS an issue and when the BID group pretends it is a non-issue they are being unrealistic.

#11 Scott on 11.29.10 at 12:53 pm

Sy’s quote – Average crowd at a game or concert will be 5K to 10K.

Hmmmm, so the results after spending $150 million are going to be attendance that could fit in the Arena?

#12 l3wis on 11.29.10 at 1:22 pm

Yes.

#13 CCFlyer on 11.29.10 at 3:24 pm

Pretty sure it’s taken me much longer than 20-30 Minutes to get out of Downtown’s like Indianapolis and Cincinnati after a Football Game or Concert. During that 30+ Minutes of leaving the Colts game and the Bengals game I went to, we walked, got to the car, and left as soon as we were able to. We didn’t complain about the traffic right afterward, honestly in those minutes we talked about how great the game was and where we were going for supper afterwards. Our option wasn’t to either “go to the Game and experience crazy traffic”, it was “go to the Game and have an experience no matter what it takes.” That’s why people go to events.

Just saying.

#14 Costner on 11.29.10 at 3:29 pm

Yea and it takes longer to get out of Minneapolis from the Metrodome after a Vikings game too… but it probably has something to do with the fact that there are 63,000 fans!

Not really comparable to Sioux Falls and the 3,500 people who might be at a Stampede game. I expect at least 30 minutes in downtown of a major metro area, but I also expect it to take at least an hour to commute to and from the office each day if I live there.

I don’t expect that in Sioux Falls. Apples != Oranges.

#15 CCFlyer on 11.29.10 at 3:31 pm

And those cities have major interstates running through their Downtown’s.

#16 CCFlyer on 11.29.10 at 4:42 pm

So your saying Traffic won’t be that bad because the Events at the Events Center won’t have nearly as many people as the Metrodome or other Stadiums?

#17 Sy on 11.29.10 at 4:44 pm

Scott:

“Hmmmm, so the results after spending $150 million are going to be attendance that could fit in the Arena?”

You can’t fit 10K in the Arena. You can get 6.3K in for basketball, less for hockey & football.

#18 Scott on 11.29.10 at 7:23 pm

But around 8500 for concerts.

#19 Scott on 11.29.10 at 7:24 pm

And as reported multiple times, none of the sports teams draw anywhere near those numbers.

#20 Poly43 on 11.29.10 at 8:33 pm

I sincerely doubt there were 25,000 people there unless you are using the Lifelight organizers to give you a headcount.

You got that right. This is the first year we have missed out of several. We did not go for much the same reasons you won’t be going next year. And 25,000 people? No way. Like you said, this is a family event, and it would prolly require around 6,000 parking spots for 25,000 people. In the past we usually parked at the 1st Avenue ramp. Have never seen the place even close to full. I don’t know who or how they figure count at these DT events that have no turnstiles or ticket sales, but it is obvious they are way off base.

#21 Sy on 11.29.10 at 9:25 pm

25K was a guess, but I wasn’t there. People who were are saying more like 10-15K.

and Scott, I think they recently reconfigured for ADA and lost seats in the process. The Arena’s site says 6500-7000 for end stage concerts.

There’s also some “big city” type actions we could take to minimize what Costner endured. Programmable stoplights, expanded shuttle services, and maybe even a good, old-fashioned street cop or two directing traffic.

#22 Costner on 11.30.10 at 7:58 am

They had cops directing traffic from the Parade Sy…. it didn’t help. In fact I think it might have slowed the process down because they prevented people from using certain streets.

Maybe that is poor training or poor planning, but in my view it surely didn’t speed up the process and if it did I would have hated to see how long it took without them.

CCFlyer: And those cities have major interstates running through their Downtown’s.

And think of how much worse it would be if they didn’t. We don’t have a major interstate anywhere near our downtown which has been an argument all along. Traffic will be an issue because in reality the only way out of there is 10th/12th street. People can argue about using sidestreets all day long, but it isn’t going to happen for the same reason people don’t take Kiwanis instead of Louise and they don’t take 49th instead of 41st. People are creatures of habit and will always take the most common route. That is even a more significant issue when you are expecting to bring in people from out of town.

CCFlyer:So your saying Traffic won’t be that bad because the Events at the Events Center won’t have nearly as many people as the Metrodome or other Stadiums?

No, but nice try. I’m saying because our downtown area is not sized for events which include 10,000 or more people, traffic will be an issue. The roads and infrastructure of a large metro area is sized appropriately so traffic is that much better than it would be otherwise. Traffic in our downtown area is bad anytime we have an event downtown whether it be a parade, a summer event like Hot Harley Nights, or even a large concert at the Pavilion.

Again, there is really only one true viable path to get away from downtown and that is 10th/12th. Whatever happens downtown, the majority of traffic is taking one of those two exit points with some others taking Minnesota to a lesser degree. We see the traffic issues each and every time there is an event downtown, yet the BID group still refuses to acknowledge the issue exists just like they refuse to acknowledge the parking issue.

And while we are on the subject of capacity – how many events in 2010 were sold out or reached the capacity of the Arena? Carrie Underwood is coming to town and is one of the biggest touring acts around (that would appeal to a Sioux Falls audience anyway)… yet you can still get tickets and her show is next Sunday. The Arena holds a max of 7,000 for an end-stage concern and if we have a hard time filling that, how exactly do we expect to fill something twice that size?

We’ve had the Arena for 30+ years and yet we still can’t fill it for large events. How many years will it be before we can pack a 15,000 seat facility?

#23 Sy on 12.01.10 at 8:23 am

Costner:

“Did the traffic ruin my night? No, but it didn’t make things any better – and knowing what I know now, I won’t go back next year. It wasn’t worth spending over 30 minutes trying to get out of there for only about 20 minutes of entertainment (if you eliminate the huge gaps between parade floats etc).”

How about a little “out of the box” thinking on the topic of downtown traffic: lose the George Costanza mindset and try walking a block or two:

From another attendee:

“By the way – my family attended Parade of Lights on Fri night. We drove on 14th St to 1st Ave to get downtown. There were people walking from blocks away & as we got downtown, the parking lots by the Great Outdoors store & behind Dacotah Bank had maybe 10 cars in them. We then proceeded to park in the parking ramp behind Shriver Square, on the 1st level, and 2 parking spots from the door to the street. C’mon people. How can anyone complain about parking with that many people there? When we left – it took us 7 minutes to get out of downtown.”

http://www.argusleader.com/comments/article/20101130/UPDATES/101130083/Downtown-Sioux-Falls-Inc-names-new-executive-director

#24 Poly43 on 12.01.10 at 8:28 am

how many events in 2010 were sold out or reached the capacity of the Arena? Carrie Underwood is coming to town and is one of the biggest touring acts around (that would appeal to a Sioux Falls audience anyway)… yet you can still get tickets and her show is next Sunday. The Arena holds a max of 7,000 for an end-stage concern and if we have a hard time filling that, how exactly do we expect to fill something twice that size?

While on the subject of Carrie Underwood. I have read that big name acts like Carrie demand outrageously high fees for their talents. Either a guaranteed amount or 50% of a sold out “Event” in ticket sales. So we sell $300,000 in tickets and she walks away from SF with $150,000. Talk about leakage. If my wife and I go, $50 flies out of town with Carrie. Or…we could just go and have a couple drinks and a steak at the Hartford Steak House and keep that same money local.

#25 l3wis on 12.01.10 at 8:33 am

May I suggest a much better steakhouse?

#26 Costner on 12.01.10 at 10:00 am

Sy: How about a little “out of the box” thinking on the topic of downtown traffic: lose the George Costanza mindset and try walking a block or two.

Had I been there alone or with able-bodied adults I wouldn’t disagree with you. However when you have a 2 year old and it is freezing outside and when you have another person in the group with chronic joint pain who couldn’t walk more than half a block without paying for it you tend to park as close to the action as possible.

I suppose I could have taken a page from the parking study playbook and parked up to 12 blocks away… that would put me somewhere near the Cathedral I suppose. I don’t know about you, but I don’t care about pretty lights and hot air baloon baskets nearly enough to justify a 12 block hike both directions when it is 17 degrees outside… but thats just me.

As to the attendee who said it took seven minutes to get out of downtown that is entirely possible – there is always dumb luck and the law of averages… obviously someone has to go first. However I should note that many people were leaving long before the parade was over so maybe this was one of them. If we build a new EC downtown, I guess those people who leave in the second period of a Stampede game will get out there no problem, but for people who stay until then end it might be a different story.

#27 Poly43 on 12.01.10 at 11:22 am

May I suggest a much better steakhouse?

Have at it.

#28 Poly43 on 12.01.10 at 11:49 am

the parking lots by the Great Outdoors store & behind Dacotah Bank had maybe 10 cars in them. We then proceeded to park in the parking ramp behind Shriver Square, on the 1st level, and 2 parking spots from the door to the street.

This is puzzling. Especially in light of the head counters sayin there were 25,000 people in attendance. Where did they park if all these parking spots close to the action were virtually empty?

A couple years ago we were running a little late to meet friends at the Parade Of Lights. I wasn’t in the mood for drivin around DT hoping for a spot to be available. After all, they said they were expecting 25,000. We drove straight to the ramp across the street west of the DT library. The ramp was virtually empty. That’s when I started questioning the head counters at DT events.

As for distances to walk for events? Especially in winter climes. All I can say is read the Walker Parking Study. That study has several pages dedicated to just that topic.