APRIL 7, 2014
On Tuesday April 8, 2014, the city of Sioux Falls will head to the polls to decide who will be their mayor for the next 4 years.
I plan to cast my vote for Greg Jamison.
I must admit I do not know a whole lot about Jamison. However, I know plenty about Huether to know I do not want him as my mayor.
Let me explain why:
Many supporters of Huether claim he has greatly improved the roads of Sioux Falls. I disagree. Yes, he has gotten a lot of road work done. But, can we really say that these projects have improved the quality of the roads and positively affected traffic?
My contention is that the work Huether has started have only slightly improved some roads and has NOT improved traffic. There are plenty of roads that need attention more than the ones that have been addressed. Southeastern Avenue between 26th and 49th comes to mind. Many other smaller, more residential streets also need work more than the roads that have been worked on during Huether’s term.
Furthermore, there are roads that need work to expand them to help traffic flow. The first such road that comes to mind is Cliff Avenue between 41st Street and 69th Street. Cliff needs two lanes in either direction throughout this whole stretch. Western Avenue from 57th to 85th is another stretch of road that needs two lanes in both directions.
Lastly, the work done during Huether’s time as mayor has not improved traffic flow. Over the summer, most major East/West roads were torn up, and traffic was unbearable. Those roads had very little wrong with them, and when they re-opened traffic flow was not improved.
As Sioux Falls grows, traffic will grow worse and worse. Over the past few years, traffic has been slowly getting worse. The city is set to see rapid growth over the next few years, and we are currently unprepared to handle the increased amount of traffic. In my mind there are three ways to handle this:
- Expansion of roads
- Speed limits
- Traffic signals
As previously mentioned, roads like Cliff Avenue and Western Avenue need to be expanded.
Furthermore, traffic heading East to West and West to East is terrible. Currently, to head from the East side of town to the West side of town (or vice versa) you have the following options:
- That 10th/11th/12th Street thing
- 26th Street (ish)
- 41st Street (ish)
- 57th Street
- The interstate
That 10th/11th/12th Street thing is problematic because you need to cut through downtown, where speed limits slow down dramatically. Plus, it is far to the North. Making it difficult for those in the South and Central parts of town to utilize.
26th Street is ineffective because it runs from the east side of town only to Kiwanis Avenue (middle of town). From there you have to go up to that 10th/11th/12th Street thing or down to 41st Street. Furthermore, between I-229 and Kiwanis, 26th Street is moves down to one lane in each direction and to a speed limit of 30 MPH. There are also many school zones to contend with. In short, traffic on 26th Street is painfully slow.
41st Street is a popular street and can be valuable for travel in Sioux Falls. The big problem tough is there is a gap in 41st Street between Cliff Avenue and Southeastern Avenue, making 41st also not viable for rapid East/West travel.
57th Street is probably the best method for East/West travel. It extends across the city form the far East part of town to the far West part of town. However, its location on the South part of town makes it difficult for those on the North end of town.
To use the interstate allows for high speed travel, but you must switch interstates to get from one side to the other. This switch takes places in the far Southwest part of town, making it super inconvenient for someone who is on East 10th Street who wants to get to the Crackerbarrel on West 26th Street.
Mayor Huether has had 4 years to show he is capable of improving the traffic in Sioux Falls, and he has not shown he is going to improve this problem. I know of nothing he has done to expand our roads, build new roads, increase speed limits, or improve the traffic signals in Sioux Falls (out of town visitors hate our traffic signals).
Mayor Huether has taken credit for many improvements in Sioux Falls with which he had little or nothing to do. “My Man Mike” has tooted his own horn far too much. In this part of the country, a mayor needs to take a team approach to municipal government. It should be what we as a community are doing, rather than what Mike Huether has done.
The main issue here is that Huether has taken a lot of credit for the new events center. Almost every candidate who ran for mayor in 2010 was in favor of the new events center. It would have been built if someone else had been elected. Furthermore, it was the citizens who voted to build it. The final approval came from the people, not the mayor. Also, Huether mostly ignored those who wanted the new events center downtown. The events center was built where the mayor wanted it to be built. We never got to vote on the downtown events center. This is a shame because I believe a downtown events center would have spurred great development downtown. This leads me to my next point.
The downtown area should be the pride of any city or town, but in Sioux Falls it is not. Sioux Falls has long desired for a revitalization of downtown. There have been some projects downtown that have developed over the mayor’s term. But, when it comes down to it, I do not feel any more desire to spend my time downtown then I did four years ago. Sioux Falls has the potential to have a great downtown area, but Huether has failed to deliver.
Conflicts of Interest
Challenger and current city council member Greg Jamison created and signed a pledge that he would not invest in any projects that need City Council’s approval. When asked about this pledge by a reporter, Mayor Huether became rude and ended the interview.
Mr. Mayor, if you have done nothing wrong and do not plan on doing anything wrong, why the attitude? Why not sign the pledge?
IT IS TIME FOR CHANGE IN CITY HALL!!!