April 18, 2017, Meeting Summary By Andy Singer

The Saint Paul Bicycle Coalition met on April 18, 2017 at 7pm at Java Express inside Union Depot. 21 people attended, including: Ethan Osten; Margot Higgins; Andy Singer; Galen Benshoof; Gene Gjeringen; Ken Avidor; Roberta Avidor; Heidi Schallberg; Theresa Nelson (program manager for Transit for Livable Communities and Saint Paul Smart Trips); Paul Sawyer; Brian Martinson; Dorian Grilley; Dana DeMaster; Troy Davidson; Tom Beach; Dan Bassett; Pete Grasse; Julie Gartzke; Paul Nelson; and Tracy Farr.

After introductions, we had updates on: Rice Street, which will have a repeat presentation of 4-to-3-lane conversion by Ramsey County on May 2; Summit Avenue’s crossing of Ayd Mill Road, whose bridge is being rebuilt; Ames Avenue’s crossing of Johnson Parkway, which will be getting a pedestrian refuge median; The Victoria-Dale section of the Grand Round, which passed the City Council; The intersection of Hamline Avenue and Pierce Butler Road. This last project is part of a Ramsey County repaving of Pierce Butler Road scheduled for this summer. It was decided at the meeting that the SPBC would send a letter supporting bicycle and pedestrian improvements to this intersection. April 30, 11-12, there will be an interactive art display debuting at the Sibley underpass (between Kellogg and Shepard Road).

We then discussed Idaho Avenue’s Bicycle Boulevard and the recent action by several members of the city council (Bostrom, Thao, Prince and Tolbert) to remove traffic circles from the project during a city council assessment hearing. Many have complained about removing these circles– how it diminishes the safety and utility of the bikeway, the manner in which it was done and the bad precedent it sets for future bicycle boulevards. Ethan has been in communication with Representative Thao and it was decided that the SPBC would send a letter to council members expressing our frustration with this and hoping they would reverse themselves and restore the circles. If this doesn’t work we will reach out to council members Brendmoen and Stark and see what we can do about this in the long term.

We discussed the pedestrian who was killed at Mississippi River Boulevard and Dayton by a distracted driver. The street is due for a mill-and-overlay in 2020. This is a key intersection for bicycles and pedestrians. We discussed what changes we want to see, both at this intersection and MRB generally. It was agreed that we’d like to see a bike lane on the east side of the street, traffic calming (dynamic speed signs, bump-outs, etc), passing prevention (particularly near intersections), enforcement and perhaps a “stop for me” campaign.

In other business: May 19 will be Bike to Work Day”. The SPBC and Smart Trips will be co-hosting a commuter breakfast at Golden’s Deli at 7am (just off of the farmers market). We urge folks to ride downtown (perhaps with your Council representatives or other community members) and volunteer.

This summer, a guy with a mobile stage wants to host an outdoor music and beer-fest in the park just below the Science Center. He is looking for local non-profits to apply for permits on his behalf. Dorian Grilley and BikeMN are going to partner with him and are looking for volunteers for one week the second half of June to hang out at a BikeMN/SPBC table and help count money at the end of the evening. We agreed to come up with some volunteers to do this.

Lastly we discussed the recently released 4th street study on attempting to make 4th Street into a 2-way bicycle facility. We agreed to form a subcommittee to work on this issue and come up with a plan of what we’d like to see and lobby local business people and elected officials to promote that plan.