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The RIGHT Kind Of Traffic?

By Staff | Sep 22, 2015

Letter to the Editor: The RIGHT kind of traffic!

Several weeks ago there was a lot of dialogue in the newspaper and in town regarding large truck traffic going through Emmetsburg. On August 10, Chamber of Commerce Director Deb Hite made a statement to City Council expressing disagreement of the situation as a community concern. Her statement was soon followed by large highway signs posted on West Hwy 18 welcoming truckers and others to our town.

I certainly support welcoming people to Emmetsburg. However, that does not lessen the impact of excessive thoroughfare traffic. The major concerns expressed by several people, including myself, were public safety issues, the dirt, the noise, the expensive wear and tear of our downtown streets, and the lack of use of new bypasses which cost many thousands and thousands of dollars to build. Despite the Chamber’s dismissal of the concerns, the consequences of large truck traffic through town cannot be denied. And if I may be so bold, I assume the Chamber would like to see some if not all of those issues minimized, if not eliminated, while still drawing the right kind of traffic into Emmetsburg.

Unfortunately, truck traffic concerns have been characterized by some as ‘controversial’ and therefore, negative. I would like to suggest that ALL of us, the people who have spoken out, written letters, the Chamber, the entire community, we ALL share a similar goal: we WANT travelers, visitors, locals, business people, and yes, truckers to visit and patronize our city. BUT I would also suggest that because we see different paths to a ‘solution’ DOES NOT MAKE THIS CONTROVERSAL rather it calls for DIVERSE THINKING built upon MUTUAL RESPECT and SHARED INTERESTS.

After Deb’s comment and seeing her sign, I visited with Police Chief Eric Hansen. City Council had asked him to research the cost and availability of more prominent, effective, electronic speed limit signs.

Chief Hansen explained enforcement practices of the already established 25 MPH speed limit through downtown. I clearly understand and support his reasonable enforcement practices. I think most people exceeding 25 mph are simply unaware of their speed. A simple but conspicuous reminder might be very helpful.

I suggested to Chief Hansen that if we were to erect a large, conspicuous, permanent, city-owned sign at the crest of hill in Harrison Park (where the current small B & W 25 mph is located), with one which says something like “Welcome! Please respect our 25 MPH Thank you!” should go a long way in reminding drivers to slow down and that we take our speed limit seriously and it should help make the Chamber and the community a lot happier.

When entering Emmetsburg from the East, the same signage could be installed in front of the Victorian on Main (where the current small B & W speed limit sign is located). Obviously a similar sign, in addition to a more much more clearly marked truck route sign, would be helpful when coming from the South.

This letter is a request to our City Council representatives to direct Chief Hansen to continue the process of procuring and installing the appropriate, prominent signage as soon as possible. If we need a Casino grant in order to purchase signs of this nature, I would be happy to help with that effort. I believe it is in the interest of the greater good of this community. Thank you.

Respectfully submitted,

(signed)Margay B. Grose