City To Provide More Access For Businesses, Residents During Downtown Events

SFPD: 'It became clear to all of us that some changes had to be made.'

The number of events in Sioux Falls has increased dramatically in the city. In the last four years, the number has risen from 54 in 2011 to 126 in 2015. Fifteen of them require streets to close in downtown Sioux Falls, which creates some headaches for people living and working in the area. That’s why the city has decided to make some changes.

For Susan Bauer, the owner of QT Cakes, the weekends are her busiest time.

“All birthday parties are Friday, Saturday, Sunday or weddings, Friday, Saturday,” said Bauer.

When an event takes place downtown, it only gets more hectic.

Bauer said, “We do have deliveries and then they have a parade, I kind of have to work around it and sometimes we have to go out and talk to the policeman and say ‘I have someone coming to pick an order up can you let them through’.”

During those times, Bauer says either 10th Street or Main Avenue are closed; only foot traffic can get by.

Sioux Falls Police Lt. Jeff Garden said, “Having interaction with all those groups, business folks, shoppers, diners, residents, before, during and after events, it became clear to all of us that some changes had to be made.”

Parades will now only take place on one street, starting with this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Phillips Avenue. East 14th Street will no longer be used for parades or other events, to provide east and west access to downtown. If an event causes street closures, city officials also say they will try to provide more than one access road through downtown in both directions.

“If there are any parades, we’re going to try to limit those parades to approximately an hour, hour-and-a-half so that the crowds can get in, gather, watch the parades and get out,” said Garden.

Officials say as the city continues to grow, they will keep evaluating events to try to make them even better.

Around 2,300 people live downtown and another 16,000 work downtown.