Take a drive

To the editor:

Before election day in November, I would suggest you take a drive down Crawford Road from Highway 50 to the proposed sight of the new road from Crawford Road to Burbank Road.

To me, and others too, I think it is a place for an accident to happen.

It is more or less a "fork in the road" with cars coming from the west and trucks and cars from Highway 50 and local cars all coming from the east and then imagine a car or truck coming up the hill, all at the same time, and not able to stop, as they cannot proceed north, so they must turn on Crawford Road, too.

Also, there are a lot of bicycle riders and and people walking their dogs who cross on Crawford Road – also, several young fellows out for track who often cross Crawford Road to run in the cemetery.

Also, I might add, that in 1968 or thereabouts, Mr. Wherry asked one of the city council members if there would ever be a road put in from Crawford Road to the Burbank Road, and he stated that there was a covenant filed by someone that a road would never been build from the Burbank Road north to Crawford Road. What happened to the covenant?

Mrs. Hazel Wherry


Trail would allow more use

To the editor:

At a recent City Council meeting, one of the speakers indicated that the extension of Crawford Road was "critical" to the growth of Vermillion.

This so-called extension of Crawford Road was proposed in the 1960s as a truck route and a bypass, but now we see the euphemism "minor arterial route" being used. Thus the word "critical" needs to be defined.

Webster's College Dictionary includes among its definitions of critical the following: "caused by or constituting a crisis, of decisive importance, crucial, of essential importance, indispensable, a critical ingredient."

Approximately 40 years of Vermillion history fails to give any indication that the growth of Vermillion has been adversely impacted because this "critical" extension has not been built. Rather, the development we have seen in terms of residences and residential areas in the eastern part of Vermillion have occurred as we see them today because this road was not in place!

Here we will contend that in part, Vermillion developed as it did because the extension was not put in. As a bypass, over a half mile from city paved streets when planned, Crawford Road would have spurred commercial development along its path. Vermillion can see the obvious impact of a bypass pass by looking at the Route. 50 bypass and what has developed along it, or for that matter along Route. 50 to along Cherry Street. One sees commercial development and one tends to see a great paucity of residential development.

It is clear to us, that the planners of the 1960s simply did not anticipate the growth of Vermillion, or at least underestimated it. In the 1960s the plan made sense as the road avoided residential areas; in the early 21st century the plan is totally pass�.

Nor can anyone present any quantitative data that indicates the failure to extend the "critically important bypass" has in any way or form slowed or impeded the growth of Vermillion. We have attended transportation meetings and city council meetings and have had a difficult time recalling any significant data indicating any deleterious effects on Vermillion's growth. The 1960s plan called for a bypass pass outside of then existing residential areas; this is what should be done today. If in fact a bypass is needed, it should be outside of existing residential areas, this is what the 1960s plan called for, this is what the citizens of Vermillion deserve.

In another city, in another state, and in another century we were involved with a group of university faculty and administrators in purchasing 380 acres of land. Working with the city and professional developers, we helped design the lots, the roads, and plus due to the size, we had to design in and add an elementary school. We also faced a rather poor city access road, much more of a bottleneck than the situation a contractor is complaining about in the city of Vermillion.

We developed three-acre building plats, divided streets, and individuals built their own homes, including ourselves. One of us served on the board of directors of our corporation for a period of time. One of us was involved with an honors program at the university involving integrated programs. The students requested that we include a section involving small town urban planning in the sociology part of our program.

One of us found and purchased an early computer program that could determine where one could find out the net effect the decisions had on the community as a whole. It also allowed the users of the program to design into the hypothetical communities what would be the most ideal conditions for residential development, while optimizing both growth and changing economic conditions. The program allowed designing cities from scratch, or from existing city layouts. While doing these things, both in the real world and using urban planning programs, it does not make us experts, but it does give us certain insights as to what happens.

One item that was quickly learned from both experiences is that minimizing traffic in residential areas increases the desirability of living in an area. Layout of the area is also important. Take a look at Augusta Drive as an example. Note, some of the development off East Main Street and some of the residential development a mile or so north of bypass Route. 50, and you will see some nice residential development. Vermillion, as it stands, is really quite well suited to residential living and many of the new housing developments are making it even better.

There are very few straight-shot roads through the city, both in the east-west direction and the north-south direction. This has the effect reducing the noise levels and plays a role in keeping Vermillion quiet and safe. At the same time, most residents of Vermillion are within five to six minutes of any desired location within the city. The bypass puts the heavy noisy traffic away from most residences. Reduced noise levels are an important issue in quality residential living.

The models we worked with, and the professional designer we worked with, both indicated that putting a roadthrough a residential area would have the net effect of depreciating the value of nearby residences. In a recent South Dakota Magazine, a number of newly designed living areas were advertised; none of these residential areas had a through road in them; most involved curved roads and unusually shaped lots. The state of South Dakota also touts Vermillion as a city built on the bluffs of the Missouri River, and the city of Vermillion prides itself on its trees.

A contractor feels that the Crawford Road extension will increase the sales of living units in a small development. This is a very unimaginative development in terms of the land layout; one of the residents of the development used less complimentary terms to describe it. However, this development has much better, faster road access to this city than the very successful development we were associated with as described above.

A Crawford Road extension would not get the residents of this development any closer or faster to hospitalization, or to any significant businesses in the city. The models we worked with, both with the professional land architect and the academic models, would indicate this road would not help sales in this below the bluff development, and may actually work in the opposite direction. However, moving a railroad track might improve sales.

Vermillion would be much better served by keeping our trees, not cutting them down – as the trees within the area of the proposed extension are the largest forested area within the city limits. However, putting a bike path/hiking trail would open the area and allow Vermillion residents to obtain a useable quality forested area.

Having park-like areas within the city creates the effect of making a city more attractive to potential residents. This is a very expensive short piece road as proposed, and will not be a wise use of tax dollars. In turn, a bake path is much less expensive. As presently configured, Crawford Road is heavily used by cyclists and joggers; a bike/hiking trail would allow even more to use the area.

Gerald and Sharon Caple


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