November 8, 2011, Oxford Jimmy Lee Recreation Center

We had 12 people in attendance– Deb Alper, Bruce Coleman, Tracy Farr, Jeff Zaayer, Steve Clark, Mike Madden, Eric Peterson, Benita Warns, Heather Peterson, Paul Nelson, Ed Lehr, and Andy Singer.

We had updates on Jefferson. The median at Cleveland may be dead …but Public Works is committed to doing SOMETHING to help people get across both Cleveland and Cretin. They held two major public information and feedback meetings at the end of September and October. Tons of neighborhood people came. The first one was rougher than the second but, in both meetings at least half the public who spoke, spoke in favor of doing something (at both Cleveland and Cretin and traffic calming generally). Public works is now going to have 3 little “Design Charrette” meetings where participants will look at all the possible engineering options and make recommendations. They’re open to the wider city/public but we especially encourage neighborhood people (Ward 3 and Mac/Groveland) to attend one or more of these meetings. They will be– 1. Tuesday, December 6 (dealing with the segment of Jefferson from Mississippi River Blvd to Finn Street) 2. Monday, December 12 (dealing with the segment from Finn Street to Fairview) 3. Tuesday, December 13 (dealing with the segment from Fairview to Snelling Avenue) All meetings will be in the evening but exact times and locations have not yet been set. For details, check the official Jefferson Ave city website– http://www.stpaul.gov/index.aspx?NID=4620

As regards mini traffic circles (on Griggs or other low-volume streets) we more or less agreed that we could support them IF the city puts in ADA compliant curb cuts at the same time they install the circles. Currently, many intersections have an older-style single curb cut at a 45 degree angle on the apex of each corner. This forces wheelchairs (or little kids on bikes) to exit the sidewalk directly towards the circle and turn partly around it to cross the street. ADA compliant cuts, would be a pair on each corner that are direct extensions of the sidewalk. There was also a concern that the city enforce 18” high planting limits so there is adequate visibility (for people in wheelchairs).

Heather Peterson from Alina Health Care came to the meeting. They are helping to run the Free Bikes for Kids program in East Saint Paul. and are looking for donated bikes and volunteers to help fix them. You can get info on this at their website– http://fb4k.com/ She also expressed interest in collaborating with us on other projects that encourage walking/biking, including advocacy.

Jeff and Andy attended the Bruce Vento Bicycle and Pedestrian Connection open house last Thursday up at Mounds View. An engineer hired by the Parks Department presented a design proposal for a beautiful looking suspension bridge that would link the Sam Morgan bike/ped path with the Vento nature sanctuary (on the opposite side of Warner Road and the Railroad tracks. While the bridge would create a connection between the Sam Morgan and the Bruce Vento trails, it’s rather out-of-the-way and would largely be recreational (as opposed to commuter). It’s main purpose would be to get people across the road/tracks to the nature sanctuary. The project has many hurdles to clear before it can even get approval for funding but both Jeff and Andy felt that the 6 Million dollars or more it would cost to build could be better spent elsewhere (improving multiple, more heavily used commuter connections into downtown). It’s a nice looking bridge though.

We also attended the Parks and Rec Bike policy meeting last Wednesday. Nothing consequential happened. We expressed our hope that they would coordinate with Emily Erickson on the city’s bike plan and consider supporting non-park projects that would increase connectivity to the parks (like Snelling bike lanes from Hewitt to Como Avenues …or bike/ped bridges on Chatsworth or North Hamiline). We did learn that NO bicycle way-finding meetings have actually been taking place “because there’s no money for additional way-finding at this time.” So this may be an opportunity for us to do something ourselves.