Sioux Center Citizens’ Group Campaigns Against Highway 75 Lane Expansion

Date posted - March 26, 2013

US75Sioux Center, Iowa — A citizens’ group in Sioux Center has mounted a serious campaign against a proposed expansion of their Main Street, citing safety risks and pointing out what they claim are errors in the numbers the city is using. The city council wants to expand Highway 75 from three lanes to five where it cuts through the heart of the city.

The group, calling themselves, “Sioux Center Citizens for Responsible Growth” says the proposed expansion is costly, regressive, unnecessary, and poses a threat to safety and quality of life in Sioux Center.

Dozens of residents went door-to-door on Saturday to nearly 2,000 homes in Sioux Center, distributing flyers urging residents to come out to the city’s final informational meeting on the proposed expansion. The meeting takes place Wednesday, March 27, at 5:30 p.m. at the Terrace View Events Center in Sioux Center.

Highway 75 runs through Sioux Center’s downtown commercial district, and the city and DOT partnered to reduce it from four lanes to three in 1999 because of the number of accidents, injuries, and deaths on that stretch of the street. Still, the city began planning for an expansion to five lanes, assuming traffic would outgrow the three-lane solution.

But, according to the citizen’s group, the city’s predictions were wrong, and instead of hitting 16,000 vehicles per day as predicted in 2007, traffic is now only in the 11,000 to 12,000 range, having decreased each of the last three times it was measured, in spite of healthy population growth and economic growth.

Click here for the group’s web site.

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10 Responses to “Sioux Center Citizens’ Group Campaigns Against Highway 75 Lane Expansion”

  1. Mark says:

    Here is a better idea, although not so cost effective. Highway 75 should bypass the whole city of Sioux Center. This would not only eliminate a lot of the griping from the “concerned citizens”, but also travel time for those of us just passing through. If such a thing would happen, Highway 75 in Sioux Center would look like Highway 75 in Le Mars with businesses closing and the remaining businesses not prospering like they were before the bypass. Then I guessing these same “concerned citizens” wished they never complained about the 5 lane project.

    • Daniel says:

      Mark, if you crunch the numbers, a bypass isn’t the death penalty. Towns and businesses can actually thrive regardless – so long as they plan around the bypass. That’s why Sheldon and Le Mars are growing out towards the bypass. Le Mars property valuations have continued to increase post-bypass. Sheldon’s have too. Retail sales dipped some, but there are other factors – like Sioux Center getting a Super Walmart, which would take away business from the LM Super WM. Sheldon’s dip could also be attributed to the Pizza Ranch fire.

      This is 2013. Most people who want to “get through town faster” aren’t asking for more lanes so they can stop to shop. Besides that, a fair bit of shopping is done online (sites like Amazon, EBay). The number of consumers who shop online will only go up – unlike traffic numbers in Sioux Center.

      The bottom line is it will be far more dangerous, with the former Safety Director from the Iowa DOT saying there will “be more blood on the pavement”. Traffic has gone down, not up. I could go on and on. Ultimately in an era where government (at all levels) needs to reign in spending, it seems to be a waste of $7 million tax dollars.

  2. juicey bananas says:

    This project will roll on whether you like it or not.The powers that be and their companions in business along with the state and federal funding are gonna call the shots.They need the bucks and you the taxpayers will pay.Enjoy the construction Sioux Center and keep your eyes open for fraud when your dealing with that kind of money.

    • Kyle says:

      They can ram it through and we can vote them out in November. There are 3 council seats up for election this time around. Three also is a majority of five.

  3. Sid says:

    Trust me, we wish they would do a bypass…but the state can’t afford to buy up all that farmland and the highway numbers don’t demand it. In fact, the state can’t seem to afford much of this project. That’s why we’re going to see our property taxes go up even more. Sheldon & LeMars’ downtowns seem to be doing pretty well even without a highway running through town. Remember, this is our Main Street. LeMars already bypassed their Main Street, now they just bypassed it a little more.

  4. Kate VerVelde says:

    One of the problems many in Sioux Center have with this is that the traffic volume numbers just don’t support the expansion. We do have a road that was paved approximately 6 years ago to serve a a bypass for trucks, but it seems like many residents are using it too as the numbers on main street are down. Here is an excerpt from a conversation on the Say NO to Hwy 75 expansion in Sioux Center facebook page that is pertinent: “As to your question of when I would agree with doing this project. Once we get into the 15-18K (traffic volume) range, I would agree to look at it. Though there really are a lot of traffic easing alternatives to allow for the upper range of this. In fact there are now many places that are switched from a 4 to 3 lane when their traffic numbers are in the 16-17 K range and growing. Things like right turn lanes at intersections etc are very helpful and important. It’s been incredibly disappointing that the city has done very little to look at other alternatives, especially considering how many people are personally affected and how low the actual numbers are. Let alone the very convincing safety data. I am sad that the city has been let off the hook for their inaccurate studies. I would love to have logical discussions with the city on this”. -Brenda Fritsch
    Also in pertaining to the DOT pushing this: We have heard that rumor circulated through Sioux Center, so we dug deeper and called the DOT. Turns out that they have told us that they were approached by our city with this idea and that this has been a city driven project. Due to the current shortage of funds out there for projects like this when the city can offer close to 3 mil on a project their chances of acquiring the remainder from the DOT goes up. In my opinion, after hearing from the DOT, this is the only reason that the DOT has agreed to fund this expansion.

    Going forward there are still hoops that the city will need to jump through for this expansion and there is a good chance that they will still be denied, especially since they can not supply the facts that would show a need, either in safety or in congestion. Therefore this is the time for those in opposition to voice their concerns and hopefully force the council to re examine exactly why they want to do this when nothing supports the need and the majority of the people polled are opposed.

    • Rachel Hoogeveen says:

      IF this is a great plan now it will be a great plan in 10 years WHEN and IF the city projections for growth and traffic reach the recommended level. We have more than enough time to consider alternative options. The City of Sioux Center is the driver on this project and the large sum of funds (your tax dollars) the city is willing to contribute was a leading factor in the DOT approval of this project.

    • Juicey Bananas says:

      Did you know that your highway bypass was given a 2″ overlay just for the construction process and State and Federal funds pay for a new street and curb and gutter are included for the reconstruction of damages incurred during said project.Where did that money go?

  5. lacrosseboy says:

    Doing nothing NOW is just as irresponsible as the 5 lane project

    Phase 1 . The congestion is AT the traffic signals not along the roadway .Add turn lanes on all legs of all signalized intersections and adjust signal timing to give more ” green time” to US-75 traffic during the 3 peak hours of traffic

    Phase 2 Five lane through downtown only 5 to 10 years from now when volumes approach 14,000 vehicle per day . Prepare the design plans and buy the right-of-way now.so 5 lane can be built as quickly as possible downtown .

    • Juicey Bananas says:

      Lacrossboy has a winning answer but exspensive non the less.To bad State and Federal mandates are so strict and redundant,could cost much less.At least your local govt. gives you a chance to speak.Well done citizens of Sioux Center,you all have at least one real good thing going your way,a chance to speak and be heard.

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