Report regarding the bridge to connect the trail system in Sioux City & Dakota Dunes
This report is from the Siouxland Trails Foundation President regarding the bridge to connect the Sioux City & Dakota Dunes trail systems. I do not like the compromises made to make this happen. The bridge should directly connect the trail systems together. Now after the bridge is built & crossed people will have to ride down a roadway to a rather busy roadway, cross on an overpass with traffic entering & exiting I-29. The roadways that trail users will have to use intersect at a very busy intersection where the Dunes trail starts. The trail users will have to turn left from a turn lane, cut across oncoming traffic to access the trail instead of staying on the roadway. I think part of the reason for this is because it is so busy the Dunes residents will think it is a deterrant & prevent people from using the trail & crossing over. They could be right, time will tell.
"As reported in the media, the Dunes CID board voted to include $50,000 from the CID in its 2007 budget for use for the trail bridge between Sioux City and South Dakota. There were a number of conditions in the motion which was made by Dennis Melstad. Those conditions are spelled out in the 9-19-06 Sioux City Journal. Contrary to the Journal article, the vote was 4 - 1 and not unanimous. Ross Jordan voted against the motion to include $50,000 for the bridge in the budget. The motion authorizes Jeff Dooley to negotiate the detailed terms within the confines of the motion with Sioux City. As you no doubt know, there has been some resistance to the bridge among some Dunes residents and, as a compromise to address resident concerns, the bridge is presently planned to not connect directly to the new public trail in the Dunes. While this is far from ideal, the important thing is to get the bridge built, even though access will be via the blacktop road that serves as an access to the Two Rivers Country Club. At the Dunes public comment meeting last week, many residents argued for a direct trail connection to the bridge. Perhaps that is an issue that will be re-visited by the CID Board in the future if initiated by enough Dunes residents after the bridge is built. For now that is NOT part of the plan. In my personal opinion, based on my observations and conversations with some of the CID board members, getting the bridge built without a direct trail connection is the best outcome that was politically possible now.
From STF's perspective, the issue is that we need to get moving on the fund-raising. Based on the budget of $500,000 for the bridge with Sioux City and Iowa committed for one-half and the Dunes CID coming up with $50,000, that means $200,000 will need to be raised privately. Our Foundation has $25,000 of that amount committed from Foundation funds based on a poll of our Board of Directors. We already have received additional private pledges for almost $25,000 ranging from $25.00 to $10,000 per pledge. STF will need to take the lead in putting together the fund raising effort and we would like additional volunteers.
The commitments to date are the result of initial contacts made by Joe Kruse, Steve Gengler, Regina Roth and me. We have a lot of work ahead of us - if any of you personally want to make a pledge or volunteer to help raise money, please contact Bob DeSmidt. As with any fund raising project early commitments really help 'prime the pump' for a successful campaign. Pledges will need to be paid by February 2007 in order to have the private money on hand when the project goes out to bid. Yes, if no unexpected major glitches occur, we could see the bridge built in 2007.
We look forward to working with Terry Hoffman and Jeff Dooley in moving this project forward and making it a reality."
the STF is glad the bridge will be built. They compromised on 9 things so the Dunes residents would agree to it. My issue is the location & the safety stand point. It is not a iorect connection. Which means trail users will have to use the existing roadways to access the Dunes trail. There is no MUP or anything along these roadways which will make it safer to do so. And there will other trail traffic other then bicycles wanting to access the Dunes trail. Here is the email response I sent to certain members of STF & the Sioux City Parks & Rec. Dept.:
"I am glad to see that the bridge will be built.
But from a safety standpoint the location is a very bad idea. This will force trail users to ride down the roadway the golfers use to access the golf course. Then trail users will have to make a left turn down close to the Tyson office, then another to cross over I-29. If memory serves there is NO sidewalk or path along any part of these roadways that can be used to keep trail users safer then using the roadway. Once the trail users cross over I-29 they have to make a left turn again at the 4-way stop to access the trail where it starts. Which means they will be crossing in front of oncoming traffic that may want to turn right toward KMEG & I-29 southbound & will not expect trail users to be turning left in front of them.
I could see the headline now. "Angered Family Mourns Loss of Toddler" The story would possibly tell how a toddler was hit by a car because the family using the trail system was walking on the roadway & how if the trail bridge was directly connected to Dunes Trail this could have been prevented. I don't know about you, but I don't want that on my conscious.
I think too many compromises have been made here. I think the Dunes residents opposed to the trail pushed this thinking it will be a deterrent for certain trail users & prevent them from using their trail & having access to their community. I think that is what will happen. The amount of people who will cross on the bridge will not be as many as we are thinking it will be because of the roadways that will be used to directly access the Dunes trail. As far as I'm concerned this is no different then not having the bridge at all.
It's great the money is or will be there. But for this one small step forward we have taken way too many steps back. Too many politics played a role in this that never should have. Too many compromises were made with this because some stuck up snobs want to keep what they view as riff raff out of their elite community. I think a lot of those people forgot where they came from. That community has not been there that long & is not their first home.
The bottom line is unless you're an experienced cyclist used to riding in traffic on roadways & who wants to take a short cut into South Dakota the bridge will not be as used as we think it will or would like it to be.
My opinion is until something can be done to make it safer to access the Dunes Trail with out having to use the roadways this bridge should not be built. Keep the money in place until then, but do not start construction until access can be made safer."