Traffic is biggest concern for proposed Blaine Wal-Mart

  • Article by: Shannon Prather , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 11, 2013 - 3:00 PM

An environmental study for a superstore on Ball Road in Blaine is being sent to state and local agencies for review.

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lavndrblueJun. 13, 13 7:53 PM

Mayor Ryan has continued to say the same thing about "something will be built there" every time concerned citizens speak in opposition of the Ball Road site for a 182,000 sq, ft., 24 hour 7 day a week Super Walmart. What he said in the June 6 meeting was something like this, 'Something will be built there and it will be big, maybe even a Costco and they have more traffic.' I'd like to have that debate with him about a Super Walmart being open 24 hours 7 days a week vs a Costco that is only open latest until 8pm. Specifics are needed that prove Costco brings the same amount or more traffic into their retail sites. He has no proof for that part of his statement. What has consistently been missing from Mayor Ryan's responses is any concern for our rights as the homeowners that will have to live with the consequences of the negative impacts of quadrupling the amount of traffic in and out of Ball Road (and our neighborhood streets), on the safety of our children walking to/from school and playing on their streets, and the impacts of the loss to over 200 family's property values and equity in their homes. Home equity is used to help put a child (children) through college; home equity is a piece of the pie that allows people the ability to retire. The only right the Mayor is concerned with is Martin Harstad's, the property owner of the Ball Road property. So it seems that ruining over 200 families futures is okay with Mayor Ryan. By the way, we understand 'something' will be built there, but why does it need to be a business that is not compatible with the surrounding neighborhoods? From the beginning we have never been against developing the property, but we do feel as tax paying citizens we should have a say in what type of business is built there.

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sargmamaJun. 14, 13 8:34 AM

It was 11:15pm, nice cool night, had my windows open, just to be awakened by the car speeding by, because the factory was changing shift. The city of blaine mayor and council members don't live anywhere near our neighborhood. They think the traffic is not important enough. If 23,000 cars were to be driving by your bedroom window so you could not sleep, I'm sure you would find it a problem. My home was the first house in this developement,100ft from site,I pay my taxes,do home improvements,and care for my neighborhood. Now after 30years, mayor Ryan, slaps me in the face by blocking my street, lowering my house value,tons more traffic, and then expects me, as a tax payer, to pay for walmarts move!!! I have yet to see the proof that a big box of any sort, has been placed within 100ft of a neighborhood. Mayor Ryan has also said "he has no controll over the sell of private property", I would challenge this, for he has stop other land owners from selling there property to who they choose because it didn't fit into thier plans. I'm am not against Walmart or anyother big box, it just doesn't fit in our neighborhood an Mayor Ryan knows this. Our neighborhood, tax payers, have counted on the mayor and council to do the right thing and standby its' people, not just one person.

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intheendJun. 14, 13 9:00 AM

I have lived in my home for 15 years and raised my two children here. I am very concerned about a Super Walmart being built at the end of my block.As many people have commented,I also understand this land will be developed. A Super Walmart is not the right fit for a residential neighborhood.It will bring increased crime and reduce property values. The traffic in our area is already increased drastically from Holiday and Fleet Farm. The Walmart will just add to this. I have visited the Walmart in Fridley on a few occasions and am appalled by all the litter in the parking lot and surrounding area. Is this what we want in our neighborhood? Not to mention noise and light pollution. I urge the city council and mayor to listen to the residents and stop this Walmart.

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elundgrenJun. 14, 13 9:22 AM

Just last week I saw a mother deer and her 3-4 day old fawn in the woods that Walmart wants to inhabit. You don't get to see that kind of beauty in the Metro that often and it would be a shame to distroy their habitat. I know someday that land will be developed but I think it is our city council members responsibility to carefully select the appropriate type of business to go into such a confinded space and so close to a neighborhood. There are no sidewalks on Ball Road and all the children that live in the area this would be affected are walkers to the elementary and high school. On the other side of Hwy 35 inthe north west corner there is a vast amount of open land to be developed that would NOT affect any neighborhood, there isn't one, that site would be a much better option for Walmart and the Blaine city council. Council Members~ Do the right thing, do not allow Walmart into this site. You are elected officials, and you are elected by myself and others in the neighborhood, you work for our well being, PLEASE do what your constituants are asking you to do.

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smrtgrowthJun. 14, 13 3:01 PM

The traffic study just doesn’t pass the “smile test.” The Blaine City Council openly admits they have made traffic design errors in the past. I feel the traffic study, as is, will be just another traffic blunder for the City of Blaine. As a citizen that is unfamiliar with traffic studies, I can only assume the Ball Road Walmart traffic study used a generic data source and/or model. My concern is the source, age, and type of traffic data that was used in the study. Given that the proposed Ball Road Walmart is Walmart’s new and larger model, does the traffic data adequately reflect the true traffic numbers expected for a 180,000 sq ft retail superstore? Also, the first traffic study for the originally proposed 150,000 sq ft Walmart withx 15,000 cars per day. The most recent traffic study showed a larger 180,000 sq ft Walmart with approx 6,000 trips per day. So why did the traffic engineers change the units? And how can the size of the store increase and the expected traffic decrease? Another point is the traffic study lacks to document the effects of retail traffic spikes such as Black Friday, Saturdays, and the Christmas Holiday season Would the traffic queue length accommodate the traffic for a typical Walmart Black Friday or would the I-35 off-ramp back up to an unacceptable and unsafe level? There is also an addendum to the study which addresses alternative traffic routes which claims a) 90% of the traffic to and from the site will use the Lexington Ave/Ball Road West route b) 10% of the traffic will use Ball Road East route, and c) no traffic is expected to utilize Hupp Street. My challenge is, how can they predict human nature? I would assume any traffic engineer knows that when traffic backs up, people, through ignorance, frustration, or stupidity will experiment with alternative routes. Finally, the traffic report represents a singular view by a Walmart-sponsored group and this group stands to gain by a favorable outcome. The situation potentially creates a circumstance where professional judgment may be unduly influenced by a secondary interest. Can a the City of Blaine or Anoka County sponsor a second and independent traffic study to compare and remove any potential bias in the traffic report?

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jr2momJun. 15, 13 6:42 PM

NO citizen is disputing the fact that this will eventually be built upon, but there are limitations and REASONABLE arguments to be made for what should and shouldn't be allowed to build there. A BIG box retailer is NOT the answer. What was wrong with the parcel across Lexington from the existing Wal-Mart? It's already set up on 4 lanes and in a commercial area, was that too convenient? Oh that's right, you can't SEE it from I-35. Let's be honest, that is the ONLY reason they want the Wal-Mart there. Visibility from I-35, so make the entrance and exit on I-35. As a daycare provider and parent of two small children living in the neighborhood WalMart intends to have it's entrance based at, I am furious at the traffic survey. Our kids are FORCED to walk to school down these roads and the impact study/report specifically referenced NO INCREASE of traffic through the neighborhood. REALLY?? Who did this environmental study? MONKEYS? How do you not foresee traffic increase IN our neighborhood, you know the neighborhood you want the Wal-Mart entrance attached to? Oh that's right the round about will keep the kids all safe from the 12,000 plus cars you predict won't cut through our neighborhood streets to avoid sitting at a light. I am tired of being lied to at these meetings. I am tired of being mislead and falling victim to the promises of politics. Mayor Ryan, We are not idiots, we KNOW the land will be built on. But let's use the land for something the community in whole can benefit from, especially since you KNOW we will be paying for it in the long run! This land is NOT suited for big box 24 hr retail and you KNOW that. I bet that we can find a chunk of land close to your house and cram it in there if you'd like...

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lavndrblueJun. 17, 13 1:50 PM

The question was asked of Bryan Schafer at the Blaine City Council EAW Workshop if he had any documentation that showed Super Walmart's or other Super Big Boxes having been built in the same proximity to a single family homes as this one is proposed. Bryan answered in the update to the EAW questions at the June 6th meeting that YES there are Costco's, Fleet Farms, Cub Foods, and Walmarts built in the same proximity. However, when I asked him to provide the documentation to me he stated it wouldn't be ready for a couple of weeks. How can our elected officials and their appointees be trusted to do the right thing for our neighborhood when a misleading if not a false statement was made? By Bryan Schafer saying 'yes' in his answer to the 'proximity' question he misled the City Council into believing it was true. The City Council in the June 6th CC meeting should have made it manditory to address this and all of the questions that came out of the EAW Workshop in DETAIL!

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