December 14, 2010, Oxford Jimmy Lee Recreation Center

The group had its monthly meeting this past Tuesday evening. Again, I haven’t gotten the official minutes from Matt …but here’s a rough summary. We had about a dozen people in attendance. One of our members, John Kerr, is part of a group called “Friends of Lilydale Park.” He showed us conceptual drawings of several possible reconfigurations of the road and bike trail through Lilydale and explained some of the issues that are being considered if and when this project moves forward (traffic calming, erosion, new rest area, etc). Like John, our group favored the 2nd and 3rd road alignments, where the two one-way roads are closer together …and we recommended putting bike lanes on the roads, in addition to the shared bike/walk path, as serious recreational cyclists and commuters currently use the road and it might reduce conflicts with pedestrians. The drawings and discussions are extremely theoretical at this point and John said he’d let us know what happens next.

Andy, Mike and Rob explained what was happening with the Saint Paul Greenway Extension. Andy explained that federal statutes and prior Surface Transportation Board and Federal Court decisions have basically killed the possibility of taking bike trail land from CP Rail via condemnation or other adversarial action. The only possibilities seem to be acquiring the land if it’s abandoned (by the railroad) or negotiating something with them. Mike explained that both of these might hinge on the bridge over the Mississippi which is structurally deficient. There is no agency that inspects railroad bridges. Railroads get to inspect their own. But, if the railroad was forced to rebuild it, perhaps due to pressure from its insurer, the Army Corps or some other government entity, then perhaps a city offer of financial aid could get bike/ped accommodations as part of a rebuild. Rob said he may look into it …but this whole project is now put way on a back burner and will not be realized any time soon. As for the Ayd Mill section, Andy explained that Russ Stark seems to be tying it to a discussion of the Hamline Bikeway and it is unclear if either Russ or Public Works is willing to give up any street lanes on Ayd Mill, despite a city council resolution (affirmed multiple times) that the city favors a 2-lane road in the corridor (rather than the current 4-lane road).

Cindy Zerger explained that the city is getting a $250,000 federal “TIGER” grant for “Complete Streets Planning” and Steve Clark explained that the city is in the midst of hiring a “Sustainable Transportation Coordinator” for the department of Public Works whose job description will include developing a comprehensive city bicycle plan.

Dana DeMaster expressed the desire for SPBC to develop a strategic plan (to realize its project and organizing goals). She is looking for people who would be interested in participating in a strategic planning session, especially someone who’d be willing to facilitate it. Along with replying to this e-mail with your ward and district, please tell Dana if you’re interested in being part of a strategic planning session (the date and time of which has yet to be determined).

Lastly, on January 24th, there will tentatively be a presentation of the results of the Jefferson/Cleveland median test, with images of the final median design to the Mac-Groveland Community Council and the public. We’ll inform you of the time and location of the meeting as soon as we know it …but we’d appreciate if as many people as possible can attend the meeting, particularly folks that live in the neighborhood and use Jefferson.August 9, 2011 (Downtown Ride)

Last Tuesday, instead of our usual indoor meeting, 11 of us met up on Montreal Avenue with Emily Erickson, the city’s Sustainable Transportation Planner. We examined a recent bike/car crash site on Montreal and then bicycled into downtown on the I-35 E trail. Once in downtown, we examined 4 possible entrance and exit routes from downtown and looked at how they might be improved/enhanced to make them safer and more accessible. These were Jackson (over I-94), Cedar, the MN History Center parking lot and Kellogg. It was fun. In attendance were: Andy Singer, Jeff Zaayer, Matt Cole, Jesse Mortenson, Jim Ivey (who is running for City Council in Ward 2), Phil Moody, Gary Fifield, Chris Budel, Mike Madden, Tracy Farr …and I can’t remember the 11th person). Matt posted some pictures on our Facebook page.

Emily Erickson wanted to let us to know that the City of Saint Paul will be hosting three public open houses in September in order to gather public input on the Citywide Bicycle Plan. You can see and read the draft plan at: http://www.stpaul.gov/index.aspx?NID=4604