City won’t extend Crawford

City won't extend Crawford
The Vermillion City Council decided Monday to not only refuse to extend Crawford Road to Burbank Road, but to remove any future development of Crawford from the city's major street plan.

That action came after aldermen faced an audience of over 60 people Monday, many who testified against any further development of the street.

The city had four options from which to choose for future transportation needs: lengthening Crawford; developing a new route from Highway 50 south to Burbank Road located east of The Bluffs golf course known as alternative A; developing 466th Avenue (known as Alternative B) from Highway 50 to Burbank Road; and accepting Fairview Drive, known as Alternative C, a route that the county plans to develop from Highway 50 to Burbank Road.

The Vermillion Planning Commission had decided that 466th, which is currently a gravel road, shouldn't be considered an alternative, but should be viewed by the city as a future additional road.

The planning commission had also determined that Fairview Drive, which will be developed by the county in the future, is located too far east of Vermillion to be considered.

Fairview Drive, however, is the alternative favored the most by members of the city council.

Fairview is slightly more than a one mile east of Vermillion's city limits.

"Does that makes any sense for the city, with that (Fairview) being that far out?" Aldermen Kevin Annis asked. "As far as the distance away from the existing town and infrastructure, is it a road that will do us any good?"

"Well, not at this point," City Engineer Bill Welk said. "That's why the planning commission said it was too

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far out."

The council agreed, with only Annis voting against, to include Fairview Drive in its future street master plan., despite the recommendation of the Vermillion Planning Commission to not include Fairview because of its distance away from the city. The planning commission recommends that Crawford Road be extended to Burbank Road, but not be named a truck route.

No support for Crawford

The council's action came after public input was heard from several members of the 60 people in the audience at Monday's meeting.

The city also heard negative input regarding 466th Street.

Carol Geu, whose East Main Street property borders 466th, question the necessity of putting the road in the city's transportation plan.

"The reasons that I would ask you to not put this street in your plan would be the following, which weren't contained in your transportation study. Those reasons include no traffic counts or origination/destination studies of who would actually use the road, and no consultation with the South Dakota Department of Transportation on issues of where the street would connect with Highway 50 and the merging of the bypass traffic with traffic that would come off of this new street onto Highway 50."

Geu also said there was no consideration of expense, when the transportation study was done, in improving 466th Street.

The audience saved most of its public comment for the proposed Crawford Road extension.

Greg Huckabee, 2008 Augusta Drive, said Crawford Road should be removed from the city's comprehensive plan for three major reasons.

"The first is safety. Increased traffic by trucks, business and passenger vehicles attempting to get to the lower Burbank Road will endanger children, senior citizens and your neighbors who use Crawford Road for walking, jogging, recreation � all decreasing the quality of life that attracted them to move there."

The second reason for opposing the road development, he said, is protecting and preserving of the natural beauty of the bluffs in that region.

The third reason for opposing the extension, he said, is the cost of the project.

"The cost, without land acquisition, will run approximately $1 million. We ask if that is wisest use of scarce resources for building and maintenance of roads in Vermillion," Huckabee said.

Wayne Knutson, 1153 Valley View Drive, said he and his wife built their house on the bluff in 1962. Their house was among the first constructed east of Vermillion in the mid-1960s.

"At that time, there were only a few living in the neighborhood that could be affected by its (Crawford Road's) construction," he said. "Thank goodness plans are not written in stone."

Knutson said he and his wife were influenced by the bluff view in choosing their home's location. And, he realizes that extending Crawford Road today would make it easier for traffic going to and from the city and Burbank Road.

"But I wonder if it is really a necessity, or is it an intrusion on the tranquility of the neighborhood?" Knutson said. "It seems to me that Vermillion needs all the wooded hills that it can preserve, and with the least amount of traffic congestion."

Knutson said he is impressed by the efforts of Dave Hertz to develop a housing addition on the southwest edge of The Bluffs golf course.

"He said he was told that Crawford Road would be a reality," Knutson said. "I have no reason to argue with his memory or his good intentions."

Knutson said he believes a decision not to build the road could be a blessing to his housing development.

"Perhaps it isn't too much of a stretch for him to tell people that without the road, there won't be traffic congestion to endanger their children or to disturb their good ?country feeling' which his development has."

Virginia Johnson, 1143 Valley View Road, said she has lived in the area since 1982, and has seen the issue of Crawford Road wax and wane over the years.

She said the main reason Crawford Road has been developed over the years is to eventually turn it into a truck route leading south to Burbank Road.

The planning commission's latest determination, that Crawford be developed but not turned into a truck route, "isn't going to mollify us; we're still going to fight this as best we can."

Johnson said she understands that Hertz has been counting on the road's development to help meet the transportation needs of his housing development.

"I can see that Mr. Hertz is an asset to our community," she said. "Presumably, his efforts will lead to increased tax revenues for the city; that's all well and good.

"I'd like to emphasize, however, that we who live near Crawford Road ? are not inflicting any harm on Mr. Hertz," Johnson said.

People living in Hertz's Countryside Development can find other routes, including Burbank, Chestnut, Dakota and Main streets, Johnson said.

"After all, Vermillion is all of two square miles," she said. "You can be anywhere in five to ten minutes."

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