July 12, 2011, Oxford/Jimmy Lee Recreation Center

We had 14 people at yesterday’s meeting at Oxford/Jimmy Lee Recreation Center. Joyce Fitzgerald, Ed Lehr, Todd Zerger, Mike Madden, Matt Cole, Kurt Schroeder, Paul Nelson, Chris Budel, Steve Clark, Daniel Sebasti, Gary Fifield, Jeff Zaayer and Bill Lindeke all attended.

Ed updated us on Saint Paul’s Bicycle Friendly Cities application which will go out tomorrow. Steve Clark, myself, Jessica Treat and others saw and gave feedback on an early draft and I was pleased with some of the changes that Emily Goodman has made to the final application (which I saw this morning). We’re not expecting the greatest rating but we hope that the League of American Bicyclists will give us useful feedback that will aid in the bike planning process and serve as an external impetus for the city to make some needed infrastructure, education, safety and planning improvements. Thank you to everyone who counted bike racks– Joyce, Jeff, Steven Bergman, and Deborah Alper– and thank you to Ed, Nick Mason and Emily Goodman for putting together the application.

The group discussed the city’s proposal for bike lanes on Wabasha Street between Fillmore and Plato, for which Emily Goodman was seeking a letter of support. The consensus was that, while we enthusiastically support adding bike lanes and closing this important gap, we had problems with the city’s plan which would add an additional 10 feet of pavement to what is already a 5-lane, high-speed boulevard. It was agreed that I would draft a letter with some of the points raised at the meeting and circulate it for revisions. I paste this draft letter at the end of this update. Please, LOOK AT IT THIS AFTERNOON OR THIS EVENING AND SEND ANY EDITING SUGGESTIONS TO ME BY TONIGHT!!! Emily is going on vacation and I want to be able to send it to her tomorrow (Thursday).

Paul Nelson and the group discussed Snow Plowing of bike lanes on Marshall and city wide. From attending a recent Union Park meeting on the Marshall pilot plowing and parking program, the consensus was that: 1. Snow blowing works better than plowing and the city needs to consider using different/better equipment and less salt; 2. That cars violating the parking ban need to be promptly towed so adequate plowing can take place; 3. Perhaps the city needs to put in signage on this stretch of Marshall saying that, if cars are parked in the bike lane, bicycles are permitted to take the full lane; 4. The city needs to adopt a policy that “if they stripe a bike lane, they commit to maintaining it year round (even in winter).” Mike Madden was going to draft a letter about the above (and the pilot project/parking ban) and circulate it around the group for our feedback.

We discussed some self-serve way-finding ideas and the need for more do-it-yourself, fun actions, such as clearing the snow from part of Marshall ourselves this coming winter and perhaps inviting the press to witness it.

Kurt Schroeder asked when Sibley Street will be reopened and the need to make the last part of Jackson 2-way for bikes (until Sibley is reopened). It sounds like multiple people have called the city about this but gotten no response. After the meeting we went out to the Happy Gnome for beer/food.