April 9, 2013, we met at the Oxford/Jimmy Lee Recreation Center. In attendance were: Phil Moody, Paul Nelson, Matt Cole, Jeff Zaayer, Richard Arey, Ed Lehr, Reuben Collins, Chris Budel, Erik Peterson, Mike Madden, Steve Clark, Andy Singer and Jill Alleyne.

First an apology. Jill e-mailed me before the meeting about her idea for the Saint Paul Forever Challenge. She wants to start a community bike shop that promotes reflective clothing, lights and being visible. Her website is– http://www.movebright.org/ I was tired, had a major brain cramp and didn’t realize who she was. We can discuss this at a future meeting.

Reuben Collins, the city’s new Sustainable Transportation Planner came to the meeting. He tried to describe his roll which is primarily as a planner– putting together a city bike plan (started by Emily Erickson) and helping with a Complete Streets Design Guidebook and possibly a Streetcar Plan. He emphasized that he is not the “All things Bike” person at the city (The way Shaun Murphy is in Minneapolis). So, for example, he’s not in charge of bike parking, day-to-day issues on streets and other bike related issues. Those will be handled by other folks in the Public Works Department like David Kuebler. But Reuben emphasized that you can CC him on e-mails or ask him questions or ask him who to contact at Public Works and he’ll try to find the answer. He stated that (outside of the Capital Improvement Budget process) the city has only set aside $150,000 for bike projects, maintenance, etc. He distributed the city’s current map of bike infrastructure to ask us how much of it is accurate. I gave him some feedback. Other folks who have comments on the map he handed out should send them to him at– reuben.collins (at) ci.stpaul.mn.us The map he presented was basically a slightly more updated version of this map– http://mn-stpaul.civicplus.com/DocumentCenter/Home/View/2804 but it included the Jefferson Bikeway, the Lexington Bridge and a couple other projects both built and planned. Unfortunately, it also included some stuff that isn’t there– like bike lanes (even shared bike/bus lanes) on 5th and 6th (which have no signs or pavement markings) and a couple other things. Reuben also presented a timeline for creating the bike plan and collecting public feedback. He will be building on what Emily started.

We also heard from Bill Johnston. He and I have been talking to the creator of the website– http://www.crashstories.org/ We plan to create one for the Twin Cities and have purchased the domain name “crashstoriestc.org”. The site is basically a wiki crash map for bicyclists and pedestrians that will keep track of officially reported and self-reported accidents as well as near misses and other issues, and it keeps track of the details of each crash or near miss– where, when, direction of travel, and other details. Best of all it will be viewable and accessible by the general public (as well as professionals). The hope is it will help identify inherently dangerous areas in our city’s street network for both bicyclists and pedestrians. Anyone will be able to enter information from their computer or smart phone. We hope to have it functioning in a month or so.

Erik Peterson, as a member of the Mac/Groveland Community Council is participating in a city-wide bike and pedestrian safety campaign being organized by Russ Stark and others in the city and other community councils. It’s in the very early stages of planning. If you’d like to be involved, e-mail Erik at– erikpn (at) gmail.com

Lastly, the next (May 14th) meeting will be an info-ride instead of a meeting. Meet at the corner of Chatsworth and Saint Clair Avenue in Highland Park at 7pm, rain or shine! We’ll ride up Chatsworth to Como Park, examining the street’s great potential as a north-south route and the crossing point of the BNSF rail line north of Pierce Butler. Then we’ll ride back on Lexington, across the new bike/ped bridge, and down Griggs Street, which is slated for bike boulevard treatments this coming year. We hope to do rides like this for the June, July and August meetings as well. If you’d like to lead an exploratory ride of another section of Saint Paul or have suggestions, please let me know. You can see photos of some of last year’s rides (with commentary) on our facebook page at– http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.470464906299261.110596.133657969979958&type=3 and http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.457458984266520.108321.133657969979958&type=3