SIOUX CITY | Sioux City will reconsider the design of a half-mile road project along Morningside Avenue after area business owners took issue with multiple aspects of its configuration.
The City Council voted Monday to delete an agenda item that would have authorized city staff to move forward with planning for the summer 2018 reconstruction of Morningside Avenue between South Nicollet Street and South Lakeport Street.
The project would have also included a transition from four-lane to three-lane traffic on Morningside Avenue for the half-mile stretch between the South Lakeport Street intersection and South St. Aubin Street, as well as the addition of reverse-angle parking on the street's south side. Those aspects had proved unpopular with business owners in the area.
A handful of area residents and business representatives approached the council during the public comment period Monday to voice their opinions on the reduction in lanes and parking.
"If this goes through, you're throwing up a barrier to our business," said Bill Drilling, co-owner of Drilling Pharmacy at 4010 Morningside Ave. "Nobody’s going to try to park there – if they get in they won’t be able to get out."
Lita Shulenberger, who works at the Hair Parlour at 4012 Morningside Ave., said the businesses' elderly customer bases would not appreciate the change.
“I think it’s going to be highly dangerous," she said. "The customers we have at the hair salon – and that I know Drilling has – are a lot of elderly people. They’re not going to want to back in."
City staff had come to the council for direction on the project Monday. The project design was formed following a traffic study to determine the best lane configuration on Morningside Avenue between South St. Aubin and South Lakeport streets.
Public Works Director Dave Carney said safety was a main concern, since Morningside Avenue has a 60 percent higher crash rate than the state average -- a number that jumps to 160 percent with the addition of the intersections at South St. Aubin and Lakeport streets.
"I truly believe that the recommendation that we came up with would provide a safer roadway than currently exists today, and that's all we were looking at," he said. "What we looked at was what we think is truly in the best interest of the 12,000 vehicles that drive down that street everyday."
Based on the study, staff had recommended a three-lane roadway section. After speaking with the Morningside Commercial Club, staff had added reverse-angle parking on the south side from South St. Aubin Street to South Patterson Street in order to allow for increased parking, space for loading zones and increased safety.
City Manager Bob Padmore told the Journal after the meeting that the city will go back and reconsider the project, likely emerging with plans for a four-lane road with some further changes to enhance safety.
Convention Center project
In other action Monday, the council voted 4-1 on a pair of agreements with the Wisconsin-based consulting firm Cities Edge LLC for design of renovations to the city's convention center and a new parking structure nearby. Both projects will support the $20 million Courtyard by Marriott hotel planned to be built in the current Convention Center parking lot.
The two contracts combined will cost the city nearly $420,000.
Mayor Bob Scott voted against both items. He told the Journal after the meeting he wanted to see pricing from local firms.