I saw the long train of liquid tank cars parked on the tracks that parallel Southeastern Ave. It is a common sight to see long lines of rail cars parked on the tracks between Marson Ave. and 26th Street. Just as I turned left onto 26th Street the railroad crossing lights came on.
I told my grandson that we were in for a bit of wait. We counted 113 cars as they passed over the crossing at 26th Street. The wait was over 10 minutes. This train crossing would go on to block the street crossing at Southeastern and River Boulevard and on Cliff near Drake Springs Pool as it travelled to downtown Sioux Falls.
It was 3:27 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon. When the train finally cleared the 26th Street crossing, traffic to the west was backed up past Yeager. Traffic on the I-229 26th Street exit was backed up to I-229. Who knows how far traffic was backed up east of the 26th Street intersection at Southeastern Ave or the other directions. It was a Saturday afternoon, not a week day. A light traffic day. Tell me what happens to the response times of an ambulance, fire truck or police car stuck in one of these east side traffic jams because of the train traffic?
The point is traffic in the east side corridor of Sioux Falls has a big time back-up when those 100 plus trains crawl through this corridor on their way into downtown Sioux Falls or on their way out of downtown Sioux Falls. Just imagine the traffic build up when this occurs around 7:30-8 a.m. during the week or in the afternoon hours of a work week. Just imagine the additional train traffic that will occur with the reality of the Canton siding alternative.
Then imagine what it will be like if the City Council approves the Canton Siding Alternative and you live or work in the east side corridor and need to travel over the crossings at 49th and Southeastern Ave, 26th and Southeastern, River Boulevard and Southeastern and Cliff Ave/near Drake Springs Pool crossing. Long trains and long waits are in your future.
Today, the ARGUS LEADER reports the only remaining option to move trains through town would be a second line paralleling the existing line in southeastern Sioux Falls. The second line would allow a train to switch its engine from one end to the other and then allow the train to travel back through the city. Just great. They will travel through all those street grade crossings in east Sioux Falls, to switch the engine from one end to the other and then travel all the way back the way they came in the first place. Does that make sense?
A couple things wrong with this idea:
- The Canton Siding Alternative sacrifices the quality of life of southeast and east Sioux Falls.
- The Canton Siding Alternative sacrifices the residential housing development between 57th and 69th Street.
- The Canton Siding Alternative sacrifices traffic flow of east and southeast Sioux Falls.
- The $36 million earmark is not enough to pay for this project.
- There are too many street grade crossings that will inhibit traffic flow patterns.
- There will be increased train traffic though southeastern Sioux Falls by creating a new siding alternative in a completely residential environment.
- There is fierce opposition from residents in Southeastern Sioux Falls to the Canton siding alternative.
- BNSF has declined to contribute any money to this project. They are happy where they are at right now.