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Residents Voice Concern On Proposed Walmart



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A listening and learning session held by Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether took an interesting turn Saturday morning. The session took place at the Moose Lodge and was supposed to be a chance for residents of the West Sioux Neighborhood to ask Mayor Huether questions about their part of the city. But that’s not entirely how it went. Huether tried to give residents of the neighborhood a chance to ask him questions. But their questions about how the new events center is going to affect them were cut short by residents who live near one of the new Walmarts being proposed.
   
"Right now Audie takes you right into the housing development. Their plan is to make an entrance to Walmart on Audie. With a stop light on the corner, which would lead you into the residential area,” said Lisa Raabe, a concerned resident.

Raabe lives near Audie Avenue, which is close to 85th Street and Minnesota Avenue where, if passed, one of the two new Walmarts would go. As a mother of two young children, she is worried that the proposed entrance of Walmart on Audie Avenue will lead to more cars traveling down her now quiet street. Raabe said people will most likely use other roads throughout the neighborhood to bypass the traffic from the store. And it’s something that makes her very nervous.
 
"Traffic is a huge thing for our family safety and actually for a community safety for those who live within that development,” said Raabe.
   
But Mike Cooper, Director of Planning and Building Services for the city of Sioux Falls said he understands her and other residents’ concerns. And he wants them to remember that the plan to make Audie Avenue an entrance to Walmart is not a done deal.

"We are doing a traffic study to look at where the traffic would be going and ways we can minimize some of the impacts on that major intersection,” said Cooper.

Cooper said as of right now, 85th Street sees about 3,000 cars each day. The traffic study will project how many cars could travel down the road if there were to be Walmart. And he said only after that study comes out, is when Audie Avenue could be the designated entrance for the new big box store.      

“The intersection today is two lanes of traffic. What we would see happening is four lanes, with a median in between, and a turning movement at the signal,” said Cooper.

But Raabe said no matter how the road changes, the bottom line is a retail giant like Walmart, should have a street of its own.

"I know Sioux Falls has to grow. I just hope that all the city council members, and the mayor and the proponents of Walmart can listen to our side and know we are just trying to protect our children and our homes,” Raabe said.

Another big concern residents have is the truck traffic Walmart will bring. Cooper said the city is looking into having all delivery trucks possibly enter and exit somewhere off of Minnesota Avenue. That way he said residents nearby won’t have to deal with that traffic as well.

The traffic study for 85th Street and Audie Avenue is expected to be released sometime within the next several days.
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