A great question was asked today on Facebook:
“And how are the roads going to support all of the new businesses coming into town?” – Kristi
There will be just shy of 4,500 jobs added in Shakopee over the course of the next five years with our incentivized projects alone.
The traffic crossing the river is rough. We need to do everything we can to slow the increase in use on those traffic lanes into the future. There are multiple ways we can do this:
- Increase number of lanes crossing the Minnesota River
- Improve transit options for commuters
- Grow jobs south of the Minnesota River
There is not just one solution and we need to – and are – work on all of them as a solution.
Increase number of lanes crossing the Minnesota River
A few weeks ago, member of our SCALE Transportation and Economic Development Committee met with MNDoT Commissioner Charlie Zelle to discuss finalizing a new Highway 41 river crossing from Shakopee through Chaska to 212. The alignment will hopefully be finalized early 2014 but construction is on no timeline and is probably 20 to 40 years away!
Next year, work will begin to raise the Hway 101 bridge out of the flood plain and up to 4 lanes. There will be improvements on the north side of the river as well to improve mobility.
Also, part of the work being done on Hway 169 right now (August ’13) is to reinforce the shoulders for future restriping and additional lanes if flooding knocks out bridges upstream of Shakopee.
Improve transit options for commuters
A critical piece of the solution is building a Bus Rapid Transit line from 394 to Marschall Road as part of a comprehensive, regional transit system. Right now, our buses only go from Shakopee/Prior Lake to downtown Minneapolis. We need transit access to American Blvd, Golden Triangle, Excelsior Blvd, St Paul and beyond so Shakopee residents can have the option to sit in traffic or hopefully catch a regularly scheduled bus.
Grow jobs south of the Minnesota River
Last item – and where we have been most successful – is to grow jobs in Shakopee and Scott County. Shakopee has an extremely well-educated, high-earning workforce. I do not believe we need to add residents to Shakopee at this time. We grew homeowners through the 90s and 2000s a lot faster than we grew high-wage jobs for those new residents. We need to let the jobs catch up a bit. That does not mean I wouldn’t welcome smart, new residential growth but it needs to make sense for our future and not be growth simply to grow.
To date, most of those jobs have not been located in Shakopee. Our residents choose to cross the river to work. If we can add new jobs here in Shakopee it does a couple of things. First, it gives folks who live on the south side of the Minnesota River great options for high-paying jobs here in Shakopee. Secondly, by locating businesses in Shakopee, we can more efficiently utilize the existing infrastructure. If you are going north to work in the morning, you’ll notice that the traffic heading south is free-flowing. This reverse commute allows jobs to be created in Shakopee without impacting the existing infrastructure. It’s a good thing.
Other infrastructure improvements
There are many other infrastructure improvements that are currently planned that will make getting from A to B easier in Shakopee.
- 2013 – Expanding 17/Marschall Road to 4 lanes south of St Francis
- 2013 – Completing Valley View Rd through Marschall Rd
- 2014 – Completing interchange of 69 x 169
- 2014 – Improving Vierling x Marschall intersection and access to Cub Foods/Retail from Vierling
- 2014 – Improving Spencer x Vierling intersection
- 2016 – Expanding CR 16/Eagle Creek Blvd to 4 lanes east of CR 83
What do you think? Use the comments below to ask questions.