Posted by: brian | July 31, 2007

Why must we keep destroying small exurban communities?

I’m so ticked off right now. I just got an email from a classmate regarding a project in the City of Lindstrom, MN, which is located about 40 miles northwest of the Twin Cities, and, as a result of geography, is in the path of destructive suburban development. They’re looking for a student to help them address “Community-friendly design for State Hwy. 8 through Lindstrom.”

Here’s the run-down on the community:
-Small, but growing (3,923, up 59% from 2,461 in 1990)
-A “small-town agricultural center and resort/cabin area [that] is changing into an outer ring suburb”
-“Known for its small town character, many recreational opportunities (it is surrounded by lakes), and its special emphasis on its Swedish heritage”

Here’s the problem:
-“Currently the Lindstrom segment of Highway 8 is measured at a Level of Service F, meaning that it is so congested that it is ‘failing'”
-Further, Highway 8 cuts right through “the heart of downtown”

And the reason for the project:
-“To relieve congestion and improve safety”

The proposal (and this is the part that really grinds my gears):
-“To change the two way highway in to one-way pairs, using the existing highway as eastbound lanes, and the next parallel street for westbound travel. MnDOT’s primary concern is to improve the travel times for through traffic on the highway.”

Read that again: “MnDOT’s primary concern is to improve the travel times for through traffic on the highway.” This is fine for intercity travel, but since when is downtown about moving vehicles? Small-town Main Streets should be about people and community, not about the most efficient way of moving lots of metal boxes. GRRR!

And then:
-“However, the City and its citizens are concerned about the impact of the road project on the local traffic circulation, bicycle and pedestrian circulation and safety, and the character of the city. The drastic roadway changes, which will require the removal of some existing businesses, could have detrimental effects on the city’s economic vitality, safety, and livability if they are not designed with the community in mind.”

I so sincerely wish I wasn’t taking so many credits this fall so that I could take this job and prevent the desecration of a small town. The obvious solution is to route the traffic around the downtown area. Jeebus Fucking Christ, why are people so fucking obtuse!? Dammit, they’ve angried up my blood with their idiocy.

I guess the only thing I can do is write a letter to the editor of their local paper and encourage the citizens to stand up for their beliefs and their concerns. (If anyone else wants to do the same, send your letter to chisago@citlink.net.)

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