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Editorial: Limiting access to Highway 61? It’s too little, too late

If you want a CVS Pharmacy to come to Hastings, you got good news on Monday night.

If you don’t want a CVS Pharmacy to Hastings, it appears you may have gotten some good news on Monday night, too.

The Hastings Planning Commission voted to move the project along with their approval at Monday’s meeting. It was a narrow 3-2 vote, but the commission did give the project a thumbs-up.

The bigger news, though, is that CVS is seeking to have an entrance and an exit on Vermillion Street — Highway 61.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation will get its say regarding the access to the highway. If past decisions in Hastings provide any indication on which way MnDOT will rule, it will be hard for CVS to get the access included.

This, of course, is pure folly. We ask this: Can you think of another Hastings business on Highway 61 with access to the highway? We can think of a few off the top of our heads — the list is rather long and includes M&H, Holiday, House of Wines/Duff’s Meats 2, Dairy Queen, Perkins, Walgreens, Las Margaritas, Applebee’s and Ramsbacher Flooring, among others.

Isn’t it a bit late in the game to begin limiting access to Highway 61 from businesses along the road?

While Highway 61 is just that — a highway — the speed limit through Hastings is just 30 mph. We aren’t talking here about limiting access to a high-speed thoroughfare.

This isn’t to say we want or don’t want to see CVS approved. We’ll stay out of the way on that one. But if MnDOT wants to start closing accesses to businesses from Highway 61, they are too late to the party to make a meaningful difference.