Even though the Sioux Center City Council has said they are tabling the project indefinitely and that it’s no longer a part of their plan, this past week, representatives of Sioux Center Citizens For Responsible Growth, or “CRG” asked a panel of Iowa Department of Transportation Commissioners to withdraw the DOT’s share of funding for the $6.7 million Highway 75 expansion of Sioux Center’s main street. The expansion was funded in the DOT’s 2013-2017 plan.
The CRG traveled to attend the public hearing in Coralville, Iowa, on behalf of hundreds of citizens who have objected to expanding Sioux Center’s Main Street.
CRG chair Rachel Hoogeveen says that the Sioux Center City Council was asked, on at least two occasions, to take the Highway 75 project to a vote and simply gave the answer “No.” She says the CRG group has more than 400 petition letters from citizens asking the DOT to deny the expansion, and she says it is their responsibility to make sure their voices are heard. About 70-80% of residents oppose the expansion, based on polling by the Sioux Center newspaper, the Sioux Center News.
According to a statement from the CRG:
In tabling the issue on March 27, the council did not allow any public comment and did not address the many studies that the CRG had shared at its website, siouxcentercrg.com, which relied on data from the Iowa Department of Transportation to show that traffic on the road was decreasing and that a five-lane expansion would be detrimental to safety. Additionally, an expansion would require taking land from many residents, demolishing some businesses and possibly homes, cutting down about 80 mature trees, and removing some street parking for downtown businesses.
The CRG says that based on the Iowa DOT’s own measurements, traffic has been decreasing on Highway 75 and is currently close to 1999 levels, when the road was converted from a 4-lane to a 3-lane roadway and saw a huge decrease in accidents and fatalities.