The Sioux Falls Metropolitan Planning Organization hosted a public meeting earlier this month to talk about the long-range plan for transportation in the greater Sioux Falls area.
The metropolitan area includes Sioux Falls, Tea Harrisburg, Crooks, Hartford and Brandon.
Jim Feeney transportation planner with South Eastern Council of Governments said the plan looks out 25 years, but it is redone every five years. To prepare for the updates, they conducted stakeholder interviews, focus groups and reached out to a consultant.
“The process the Sioux Falls MPO has used is that the year before the formal development of the long-range transportation plan is done we do a market research study and we started last summer,” he said.
The studies look at trends of 20 years or more. The survey was done with residents in the metropolitan area. They had 300 responses for businesses. Working with organizations, they conducted several hundred surveys with people with disabilities, people under the poverty level and people more dependent on public transit. At the public meeting in downtown Sioux Falls, members of the public reviewed the survey results and looked at maps of transportation projects in the area.
“There were some activities where they could put dots on the map on areas where they were concerned about and they could provide comments,” he said.
In March, they will hold three more open houses in three locations for the public to learn more information.
Feeney said the metro area has changed on their map in the last 25 years. In the beginning it included all of Minnehaha and Lincoln counties. The 2010 census helped pair down the area to what it is today.
He noted that things have changed in the last five years. He said the region keeps growing. Part of the survey questioned respondents what roadways should be priorities for improvement. The top areas were 41st Street, Minnesota Avenue, South Dakota 115 and 26th Street. Those were the same top five from five years ago, and Feeney guesses they were 10 years ago too.
“You have people coming from these other areas to work and so forth. A lot of it is capacity issues within Sioux Falls. I think that’s recognized by people coming from other towns,” Feeney said.
Anyone interested in finding out more aboue the 2045 long-range plan can visit the website: gosiouxfalls2045.com. The final plan will be ready by this fall.
“Citizens’ comments are welcome throughout. Public input is being asked for throughout this process,” Feeney said.