Wednesday, April 18, 2012

City Railroad Project Consultant Alfred Benesch & Company March 2012 Flyer

Above is the information flyer distributed to certain residents in southeast Sioux Falls. What's next, says Alfred Benesch & Company?
  • The city will work one on one with individual property owners to identify impacts and determine the best course of action for addressing issues such as safety, noise and aesthetics.
  • The city will collect comments from the meeting and consider them in the EA and in the design process.
  • A public meeting is planned for September.
  • Once the EA is approved, final design will begin, followed by right-of-way acquisition, and then construction.
Why isn't this flyer on the city's website since it came from the city's consultant working on the railroad relocation project so everyone can see it?


  1. This flyer says that one of the project benefits is to reduce car/train exposure. How do you figure that when there is a possibility of 27 trains per week traveling through central and south Sioux Falls? Somebody needs to update that 2002 benefit study.

  2. When City staff did its briefing of the Council in March we were told that the southeast option was needed for only one train per week coming from Madison. Many of us suspected that the southeast tracks where never meant for only one train a week.
    It was not until the delegation returned from visiting BNSF in the Twin Cities that anyone admitted that it was more than one train track. We need to thank Council President Aguilar, who has not been privy to the inner workings of City Hall for long, to have the courage to share the truth with the public.
    Some southeast residents who were skeptical about the information that City staff had provided did an internet search and came up with the information about the new elevator going up near Lyon, SD. And now we have BNSF saying that the numbers will be increasing in the future.
    The whole situation makes my head spin. Was city staff nor smart enough to keep current on the train-traffic coming in from Madison? BNSF would have no reason not to answer such questions. Given the time this project has been on the boards, the amount of money involved and its impact on the different parts of our City, one would like to think that they were in constant contact with BNSF and following local events so that they were more up to speed on this whole project. So what we are really left is either deceit or incompetence. Neither of these alternatives is a pretty sight.

  3. During the first week of April Alfred Benesch & Co. mailed brochures to the residents whose homes abut the railroad between 57th Street and 69th Streets. The brochure was dated March 6, 2012. Why didn't we receive it before the Council briefing and the meeting at the Orpheum Theater. I cannot say with certainty that everyone who owns property abutting the existing railroad from south of 6th Street to 57th Street did not receive this brochure. My educated guess is that they did not, even though the southeast option will affect everyone along the tracts between 6th street and 69th street. I am sure that there is a technical reason found somewhere in city ordinances that excused the City from having to give notice to those property owners.

    This brings to mind what has happened in the case of application made by Wal-Mart for rezoning at the intersection of 69th and Cliff. The City ordinances about notice to property owners should really be revised to require notice to a broader representation of the surrounding neighborhoods. That way Sioux Falls could be moving in the direction of a more participatory form of government and more openness in government. I am sharing this viewpoint with some of our elected city officials.
    However, I digress. I have been visiting with residents of southeast Sioux Falls and we are looking for answers to these kinds of questions.
    The brochure outlines eight options. Which option or options, if any, are acceptable to BNSF? Is the City exploring any additional options? If so, does this extend the existing benchmark dates for final decisions? Has the City ruled out any of the eight options outlined in the Brochure? If so, which ones?
    With all the shenanigans in Sioux Falls, we are also interested in who owns what between 6th street and eighth streets, and who would benefit the most directly from the removal of the switching yards. What are their connections to recent elections and campaign contributions? Disclosure laws are virtually nonexistent in South Dakota so one really starts to wonder who is pulling the strings. Do councilors have any financial interest, direct or indirect, in this area?

  4. I have followed this project for ten years.

    It was Sioux Falls city officials and the consultant who told the public this would involve one train per week. This occurred both at the Informational meeting to the Council and again at the public meeting at the Orpheum on February 27, 2012.

    I believe this was purposely done to try to minimize the impact of a rail siding in SE Sioux Falls. In other words, deception (and incompetence)!!!!

    The next evening, at the Brandon public meeting, after much pressure from the citizens who attended, Sioux Falls officials admitted that it would be "more than one train a week.

    I find it very interesting that two different stories were told at two very critical public meetings.

    I believe that pressure came "from the top" to not give Sioux Falls citizens the full truth!!