Thursday, October 14, 2010

Events Center: Downtown

Yes indeed, one of my heroes Rev Billy understands the value of the pedicab. I lifted this photo from his most recent blog post about how "The Mountains and Gardens Will Save Us." I hope he tipped his driver.

Word on the street is that at a recent Green Drinks meetup - where the importance of a DOWNTOWN Events Center was the topic du jour - Sioux Falls Pedicab was used as a bit of a punchline. Dang I sure wish I could have been there. I wanted to go but helping plan the second South Dakota Bicycle Summit was a higher priority for me. It would have been awesome to hear the pedicab come up in the conversation.

It is true the pedicab business is precisely the type of private enterprise supporters are saying would benefit from a downtown events center. Additionally, downtown events are precisely the occasions where pedicabs do flourish.

As far as it being a punchline, I assume very few The MinusCar Project readers have ever been handed a fistful of cash money at the end of a short bike ride. Like I have. Hilarious.


The MinusCar Project supports a downtown events center. The MinusCar Project encourages its readers to join the Sioux Falls DOWNTOWN Events Center Facebook Group. The MinusCar Project encourages it's readers to get some skin in the game by attending a related event or meeting.

For me the Arena/Sioux Falls Stadium/Howard Wood Field is a very depressing area with its oceans of asphalt. How does a resident of the Dow Rummel retirement home attend a baseball game? Do they schedule the shuttle bus to drive them the 100 feet across the unwalkable and uncrossable West Ave? Where does a person eat a decent meal before attending an event in the complex? They drive somewhere else first.

In 2003 The City purchased a study of the Russell Street cooridor. It seems as though The City was experiencing some pressure from Russell Street businesses to add turns off the street into their parking lots. The report supports the assertion that Russell, with it's limited access, is a high speed arterial roadway for moving traffic - and ought to stay that way by continuing limited turning access.

It sounds to me like the problem the Russell Street businesses were experiencing was NOT so much a turning access issue as it was trying to operate for profit in one of James Howard Kunstler's "places that are not worth caring about." The people who use Russell Street are. Going. Somewhere. Else. And that's what you get when you have an ocean of asphalt.

All this brings me to the most depressing paragraph I've ever read in a tranportation related document.
There have been complaints received by the City about the lack of pedestrian facilities in the corridor. However, there was no indication of any pedestrian crash history. There are also no pedestrian facilities provided on Russell Street.

While there may be some desire to cross Russell Street, there is not a good location to install at-grade pedestrian accommodations at the intersections and could lead to a false sense of security for pedestrians.
Yep, that's right. Pedestrians complain about the area. Businesses complain about the area. We don't want to improve the area because we don't want you to die.

Interesting the Timberwolves and the Bucks play at the Arena on Sunday and I've gotten hit from at least 5 sources with offers for discount tickets.

It's hard to get people to go here. Build it downtown.


FunkyMama said...

This event center conversation for Sioux Falls parallels conversation in a town much, much smaller (called Chamberlain) regarding a performing arts/event center.

They haven't even publicly addressed the issue of traffic - just parking - for a facility with only one road in/out.

Anyway, these conversations remind me that big or small, communities generally face the same issues.

Snakebite said...

Excellent post, I agree completely! I'm afraid egos might get in the way of careful consideration, though.

Briman said...

I agree with the downtown location for all the reasons you listed. This seemed to be the consensus at Green Drinks, too.

The mention of the pedicab was well-natured. I will well-naturedly speak up when I get a chance as to how viable that mode of transportation is in downtown.