To the editor:
These comments are about two recent street projects in Vermillion.
Street projects require a great deal of motorist inconvenience, business loss and utility relocation and should be designed to last many years.
In 2007, Dakota street from Main to Cherry was rebuilt. You remember that one. The contractor was allowed to leave the project a couple of times, while we waited, making that an eight-month project. The city has 80-feet of right-of-way for most of this half mile and could have put in a street 52-feet wide, like in front of The Prairie. If you visit the intersections of Main and Dakota and Dakota and Cherry you will notice that semi trucks and busses cannot safely negotiate turns. That has caused semi traffic to use East Main, using that 30-foot wide section of Main (the 6 and 700 block that was put in when Model Ts were being built and the city has never had the vision or courage to widen) to Crawford so they can turn.
Cherry Street comments are first from Plum eastward to Crawford. This section gets a B+. Five lanes are correct, but there is only one crosswalk in the three-fourths of a mile, so most pedestrians jaywalk. I think the east end should have been cut down to adjacent grade.
Cherry Street from Plum westward is a disaster. Five lanes is reduced to two, there is a curb just at the northwest corner of Burger King that isn't even painted yellow. Squeezing Vermillion's busiest street to two lanes is like reducing Broadway Street in Yankton to two lanes. Stupid.
The 41 trees along the campus were planted to close to the street and should have been removed. The island encourages jaywalking and is anti-good traffic flow. There should be two pedestrian skywalks. One at the existing crosswalk by Patterson Hall and one just east of the Newman Center that could connect to a better designed student center.
When USD is in session, go out to Cherry Street and watch the noon or 5 p.m. traffic or watch a fire truck or ambulance bounce up and down the curb of the island. The real disaster will be this September when the Coyote Village opens. Now continuing west on Cherry. The new credit union building should have been set back like the real estate office to the east.
From Cottage the street should have been cut down to adjacent grade, eliminating the open ditch. The house at Cottage should have been removed. This section of Cherry Street gets a D – as the only improvement is the lighting. There are only two east-west city streets that go all the way thru town and Cherry Street is the busiest.
So now, we have city council members that made these short-sighted decisions wanting to be re-elected. No thanks.
Paul M. Hasse