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Street Width Concerns Near SF School

December 13, 2012, 5:08 PM by Brady Mallory

Street Width Concerns Near SF School

In a couple years, a small piece of land in central Sioux Falls will be home to a larger school, a larger student body and more staff.

For the neighborhood surrounding Mark Twain Elementary, that will mean more traffic on some already busy residential streets. Right now, there are two streets going east and west and two that go north and south around the school. 

There is not a big parking lot for teachers or parents and parent Garnet Spoonhour quickly learned a valuable lesson about being early when he picks up his son from Mark Twain.

"It's pretty congested. If you don't get here by 2:30 or 2:35, you could be back all the way across the other street," Spoonhour said.

By the time school gets out at 2:45, this dad says a car pulling over to avoid another car coming from the other direction is a pretty typical site.

"There are times when you see other cars almost run into each other," Spoonhour said.

He is worried that it could get worse with even more cars picking up a bigger student body. Some of the roads near the school are only about 30 feet wide and that is not a lot of space when traffic is at its peak. To compare, Phillips Avenue in the residential area is about 10 feet wider.

Sioux Falls Principal Engineer Heath Hofftiezer said a traffic study has not been done yet see if the current width of the streets could handle more traffic or to see how big the streets would need to be for a bigger school.

"We look at the volume of traffic on the street and where the pedestrians are crossing," Hofftiezer said.

A traffic study will not be done until officials go over a re-development plan, and Hofftiezer said that is not uncommon. 

At his home across the street, Wayne Muth has seen 40 years worth of parents picking up their kids.  Muth is not worried about an increase in traffic.

"I think they'll look at the volume of traffic on the street and see where the pedestrians are crossing," Muth said.

But, Spoonhour said wider streets are a must.

"It's a challenge.  Sometimes coming to get our kids in the afternoon is more difficult than driving in regular traffic," Spoonhour said.

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