A Great Letter to the Editor

May 17, 2012 at 4:51 pm 2 comments

Now here is a terrific letter to the editor!

If ain’t broke, don’t fix it? 

By Tom Slupske- Guest Columnist

We’ve all heard, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Well, some communities are busy restriping four-lane roads to one lane each way with a center turn lane, and on both sides of the road, wide bicycle lanes. Whether this may be acceptable or not for some communities, it creates adversity for neighbors near Douglas Drive in Crystal. Was there such a problem with traffic congested four lanes that a public outcry was squeezing traffic into two lanes?

If those responsible for this decision were more knowledgeable about their community, this potentially dangerous fix would have been avoided. The Crystal City Council has created unnecessary traffic congestion along just five blocks on Douglas Drive between 47th and 51st Avenues.

This is dangerous for these reasons:

– Trains stop and back up traffic and when traffic is finally released, there are often times when there is seven blocks of congestion from West Broadway to 47th. For neighbors, these are frustrating long delays to enter or exit Douglas Drive.

– In addition to neighborhood streets, within five blocks are ball fields, a community center, swimming pool, elementary school and cemetery.

– Traffic along residential streets has increased with dangerous speeds.

You may recall the City Council alleged traffic was diverting onto Douglas Drive due to the construction of the Hwy. 81 bridge. The council said once the bridge was reopened, there would be less congestion on Douglas. Well, the bridge has been open for several months and there seems to be just as much congestions on Douglas Drive.

Neighbors that must use Douglas Drive have experienced long delays. At about 11:30 a.m. last Saturday, I was northbound on Douglas Drive attempting a left-turn onto 48th Avenue. I waited and waited and waited.

For several minutes I was prevented from turning by a long line of southbound vehicles. Many times I’ve witnessed near collisions as vehicles rush to turn and slam on brakes as children cross the road.

Why put bicycle lanes on Douglas Drive? Bicycle lanes around Minneapolis lakes and parkways make sense, but it doesn’t make sense on busy roads. Was the “occupy” crowd protesting and demanding bicycle lanes in Crystal? This plan has resulted in waste of space, time and taxpayer’s money.

Sounds like business as usual for government.

Does the Crystal City Council reflect the views of its citizens? When does the city council ask our opinions? When does the city council make these decisions? Oh sure, the actual vote takes place during televised council meetings, but the nuts-and-bolts discussions occur during semipublic and non-televised work sessions. Isn’t that reminiscent of the back room, smoke filled, secret sessions? What else might they be plotting?

Check their 2030 plan!

During a council meeting I addressed the congestion problems. Not one council members asked a question.

Of course not, their minds were already made up before you spoke.

Most looked bored and one council member never looked up. Was he too busy playing solitaire? Perhaps if I taped a free government grant to my forehead he might have at least pretended to look at me while I talked.

Anyone want to guess who that was?

What can you do? Write, e-mail or call Crystal City Council members and city manager and express your opinion to 763-531-1000. 2012 is an election year – council members who are bored should be replaced with those who care about our community’s needs.

Tom Slupske is a former Robbinsdale School Board member. He lives in Crystal.

Great letter Tom!


Entry filed under: City Government, Crystal, Hennepin, Mayor, Safety, Transportation.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. wants2know  |  May 17, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    Well done Tom!!

  • 2. Melanie  |  July 3, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    Thanks for voicing your opinion. This issue with Douglas Drive has been a source of contention among many. The issues aren’t restricted to the areas you reference, but the entire route down towards Hwy 55. Despite everyone’s objections to this restriping, nothing has changed. In fact, I observed trucks just last week refreshing the restriping! What happened to the new traffic study Ms. Mayor begrudingly agreed to do? personally I’m looking forward to the elections – we need a mayor who is interested in what the Crystal residents want.


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