In the third article of the five-part series — revealing more than 80 respondents in a randomly conducted survey by The Press — we focus on the state of infrastructure, examine some of the current issues facing the City of Dickinson and point out ways to enhance services.
How do Dickinson residents feel about its infrastructure?
Dickinson residents were asked if Dickinson adequately maintains its local streets, sidewalks, utilities, bridges and public buildings and 49% said “disagree,” 36% said “agree,” 11% said “disagree” and 4% said “strongly agree.” Of females, 46% said “disagree,” 38% said “agree,” 11% said “strongly disagree” and 5% said “strongly agree.” Of males, 60% said “disagree,” 30% said “agree” and 10% said “strongly disagree.”
In terms of making changes to the transportation system in Dickinson, 41 respondents said they wanted to see “more public parking downtown,” 34 people said “improved street connections,” 28 people said “trees and landscaping along roadways,” 24 people said “pedestrian safety improvements (improved sidewalk network),” 18 respondents said “additional bicycling infrastructure (bike lanes, trails, etc.)” and 11 said “other.” For those that responded with “other,” they listed inquiries such as more proactiveness regarding snow removal, make State and Villard avenues a four-lane again so that “slow drivers can stay over in the slow lane and not hold up traffic” and add a traffic signal at the intersection of the West Business Loop and 23rd Avenue West.
One respondent said that there is a lack of enforcement on a residential street with residents recalling only a single traffic stop on a semi-trailer since 2013.
"The Truck Route on residential 8th Street should not be there. It is a major safety concern with all of the hazardous material that travels down this street to the (railroad crossing)...," a respondent said. "It is not configured for trucks. It is one of the most dangerous crossing in the state. Also the noise is unbearable and not in compliance with residential zoning ordinances. They speed, excessive noise, use cell phones, improper tie downs on loads."
The respondent added, "There was a $35 million overpass built to separate trains from vehicular traffic which is not being used. The city commission lied during the public hearing. The mayor told someone if they didn’t like 'you should just move.'”
The resident also claims that those that opposed the truck route were intimidated or harassed.
A few other respondents noted that there needs to be more transportation available that accommodates all residents’ type of income. For example, one resident said that there should be more affordable transportation than Lyft or Uber. Another person said speed limits need to be addressed, such as those speeding at 45 mph or more in a 25 mph zone.
How does the City of Dickinson enhance infrastructure?
When asked which land changes should occur in Dickinson, respondents were able to choose up to three different options. Therein, 73 people said “repurposing unused buildings in town,” 27 people said “reserving downtown Dickinson for primary retail and restaurant businesses,” 13 people said “increased commercial uses surrounding downtown,” nine people said “more housing opportunities downtown,” nine people said “increased commercial or industrial use along I-94BL,” seven people said “more opportunities for new residential neighborhoods” and seven people said “other.”
A few respondents provided some solutions such as bringing more retail and department stores to Dickinson.
One respondent expressed that there needs to be, “More stores coming to Dickinson, western part of town and up north. It was already started and left pretty empty. Stop focusing on downtown when there is no parking and rehabbing those buildings would be a lot of money with no parking.”
Other people remarked how there is a lack of variety with stores and restaurants, whereas there is an abundance of pizza restaurants and coffee shops, one person noted.
“The commercial area should be adjacent to roads (highways) that keep them away from residential areas,” a respondent said. “(The) downtown area should not have semis coming to the center of the town. With C industrial should not be close to residential.”
Enhancing the community also means to provide a variety of entertainment resources. Though the City of Dickinson will soon be launching its First on First: Dickinson Summer Nights series, respondents noted that they would like to see more festivals and events, music/concerts and more activities for those two years old and up.
As part of this series of articles relating to education, health, poverty, economy, infrastructure, crime, taxes and budget, The Press will gather the information provided and relay the concerns to city, state and school board officials. In the following weeks, the second part of the series will feature the responses from officials with interviews relating to what actions can be taken to address concerns.