To the editor:
I am on sabbitical from USD and so have been observing the Cherry Street widening controversy from afar. I am temporarily residing in another university "town" of 56,000 that is served by both a four lane "Main Street" that runs through the main business district and a high-speed bypass of six lanes that skirts the eastern edge of the community.
The four lane road handles the majority of an estimated 21,000 resident commuters who on average spend 20 minutes driving to and from work. At least an equal number travel the road during non-commuting times of the day.
And what is this city trying to do about the obvious congestion on this highway? Rather than following the expected pattern of adding more lanes, it is seeking to "tame the road" by adding roundabouts, angled parking, heavily shaded wide sidewalks that encourage pedestrian traffic, and many more street-level businesses.
They are deeply concerned about the dangers the current 45 mph road poses to pedestrians as well as associated environmental pollution. The city leaders have clearly enlisted the support of many different stakeholders by stressing how a tamed road could be safer, aesthetically pleasing, and a way to facilitate economic development along its whole length.
It strikes me that there are some clear advantages to this city's approach to dealing with a road that runs through its very center. I see no such benefits � and many obvious drawbacks � to the contemplated "five lanes into three" plan that Vermillion is currently contemplating.
William D. Richardson