Frustrating traffic concerns could be improved by Dickinson 'roadmap'If adopted as presented Thursday evening, the proposed improvements in “Dickinson 2035: Roadmap to the Future” would cost the city $400 million. This does not include maintenance or upkeep costs of existing infrastructure.
By: Katherine Grandstrand, The Dickinson Press
If adopted as presented Thursday evening, the proposed improvements in “Dickinson 2035: Roadmap to the Future” would cost the city $400 million. This does not include maintenance or upkeep costs of existing infrastructure.
The presentation at the Biesiot Activities Center was the final public input meeting for the Dickinson 2035 comprehensive and transportation plan. Kadrmas, Lee and Jackson, which prepared the plan for Dickinson, will take comments on the project through its website, via email or through the U.S. Postal Service until Dec. 15. The Dickinson City Commission is expected to vote on the plan early 2013.
The plan is not set in stone and is flexible based on actual population growth, Project Manager Bob Shannon said.
“This is if the city can accommodate the development,” Shannon said. “It’s not necessarily a forecast, it’s a ‘If you can build it, here’s what they think would come.’”
The study estimates Dickinson will have a population of 40,000-plus by 2035, but will peak at more than 45,000 around 2020 as oil development in the area grows.
One of the biggest concerns of the public was traffic flow, especially when getting on and off Interstate 94 and Highway 22, he said.
“We’ve also looked at truck traffic,” Shannon said. “We’ve heard a lot of comments. That’s the biggest impact to people’s quality of life, other than unaffordable housing.”
One of the issues that KLJ faced was mixing city projects with North Dakota Department of Transportation projects in the timeline, Shannon said.
“What happened to the clovers?” Dickinson resident Deraod Payne asked of an interstate on/off ramp style. “When they put these interstates in years ago in the ’80s, that was supposed to be the common way of doing it.”
That could be a solution to congestion, but doing that now would mean the ramp area would take up more space and business would have to be bought out, Shannon said. The DOT has some signal work planned to help provide more gaps for eastbound vehicles to make a northbound left turn onto Highway 22 at Exit 61.
Propositions to improve traffic flow include widening some roads, like Villard Street, creating in-town truck routes, adding a fixed-route bus system and adding a second railroad overpass or underpass, most likely at State Avenue, Shannon said.
“Right now, most of these congested (traffic) areas are (designed) so people have to get on them to get to their basic things, the grocery store, the school, work,” Dickinson resident Laura Hann said. “And it looks like we’re going to have a lot of solid residential blocks … with all of the commercial development on those busy corridors. Are we just going to keep boxing ourselves into more congestion on those corridors or are we looking at putting some of the offices and commercial areas intermixed with the residential so not everyone has to get on the main roads to buy milk or go to school.”
There is a plan to allow neighborhood commercial development, KLJ Representative Scott Pickett said.