Keystone town board works out parking, could lose crosswalks

By Jeff Smith

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Prudent and measured steps by Keystone might have provided­­­ some relief to the visitors of the town. There was a meeting with members of the community about the parking issues in town. Some progress was made but another meeting was set up for this past week to talk more about time limits for parking and bus parking.

Sandra McLain, president of the town board, said she appreciated everyone coming to the meeting on July 13.

“It actually generated a lot of comments and discussion,” McLain said.

McLain recently went with Jerry Przybylski, public works superintendent for Keystone, to the Ramada Inn parking lot to look at available parking space. While she was there, she and  Przybylski thought about working out an exchange agreement for parking.

McLain said the exchange parking agreement between Keystone and Ramada Inn is where Keystone’s visitors can park in the Ramada Inn parking lot during the day in exchange for hotel guests parking in the city spots at night. About 30 parking spots are going to be added at Ramada Inn.

“We could use that space during some times so that our guests would have some parking,” McLain said.

McLain said they are trying to be creative and come up with ideas so Keystone can get more money from the guests of Keystone.

Przybylski said there would be signs put up in town that say motel parking after 6 p.m. only.

Tim Johnson, who owns the hotel as part of Presidential Hospitality, said they have parking spots that are sitting vacant during the day.

Johnson said that most guests leave in the morning.

Johnson is not worried about the visitors parking where they are not supposed to be but thinks there should be signs so hotel-guest parking  doesn’t take place in city spots.

“The parking lots are all full and mine are empty. I don’t need them. I would rather be a team player like I have been preaching all along. I would like to keep those restaurants and gift shops full and keep more people off the street,” Johnson said.

The next step is to figure out signage that needs to go up. McLain is thinking the cost of the signs would be a cooperative effort between the Town of Keystone and Presidential Hospitality.

The Keystone public works department also ordered signs for the purple heart license plate motorists. Four of them were ordered and Przybylski is going to look at places to put them. There are also five extra parking spots that were created along Swanzey Street.

Rich Zacher,  Custer Area Engineer for the South Dakota Department of Transportation, presented on the idea for future crosswalk and road plans in Keystone on July 19. He said the DOT has a goal to eliminate crosswalks. A road designer with the DOT recently asked him if there could be some removed or if more were needed. Zacher brought this to the attention of the town board and the citizens at the meeting.

He asked for Keystone to pay attention to where pedestrians are crossing.

“As far as we know, what we have now is not broken. We don’t know when the last pedestrian collision was. We know there hasn’t been a pedestrian accident since 2004,” Zacher said.

Keystone has this summer and next summer to observe the crosswalks. Zacher said the beauty of crosswalks is that they are pavement markings so even if they don’t get in the right place they can be changed.

The ideal situation is to put crosswalks in a place where they would be used and a place where it is not going to take up any parking.

“With the DOT it’s not only our responsibility to get motorists from point A to point B but also the pedestrians,” Zacher said.

Zacher said in the next few years there are going to be quite a few changes to the road layout. The first one will be in 2019 and will be the asphalt concrete overlay, and ADA curb ramp upgrades will be made in 2021 as well as Highway 40 overlay.

Zacher said the big change is going to come in 2023 with repairing the bridge on Highway 16A. 

Vanessa Row, finance officer for Keystone, has noticed tourists are speeding as they go into the corner of Old Keystone. Cars are supposed to be at 25 MPH throughout the roadway there.

Zacher said the speed limit is supposed to be set at what the speed traffic is going otherwise people might as well be stopped.

He encouraged the town to do a speed study there to see what can be done.

Deputy Chris Plawman with the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office set up a speed trailer in the area to see what speed everyone is going.

The meeting time for future town board meetings will be held at 6 p.m., as approved by the town board at the July 19 meeting.

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