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Check out some recent Registered Statements from forum participants

Sarah Thompson inside Ward 6 February 11, 2019, 12:10 PM

Name Sarah Thompson
Address 2018 Hawthorne Avenue E
Comment This is the first I’ve heard of this plan and I’ve been a Saint Paul resident for 13 years.I have no idea who you surveyed but it wasn’t me because I’ve never heard of this before. I wish the city council and the mayor would remind themselves on a daily basis that their budget comes directly out of the pockets of hardworking property owners in this city. As I read this proposal, all I could see is dollar signs. It is quite a frustrating system we have in place with property assessments going to property owners for “improvements” that we didn’t ask for and for which we have no say in the quality of the work done. Then we foot the bill for whatever new whim the city council has now. It’s inexplicable to me that “improvements” don’t come out of regular property taxes but instead are passed along to homeowners as additional fees (assessments), which we get very little advanced notice of, so it’s not as if you can even budget ahead of time. How about spending more time/money on actually using salt to reduce ice on side streets on the east side. My street is icy all winter. It is only plowed if a snow emergency is declared. People routinely skid through the stop sign by my house. In November a car that skidded through it totaled my car and did $13,000 in damage to my garage. Since they drove away it’s now my responsibility. But your plan is to enforce ice removal on sidewalks?! It’s just a bit disingenuous for a city that does a terrible job at removing ice/snow on the streets to fine property owners for doing the same on the sidewalks you force us to to have and pay for in the first place. How about lead by example. If you do a better job on the streets and learn how to live within a budget instead of treating property owners like your own personal piggy bank, perhaps the responsible people that will actually clear their sidewalks without fines & repurcussions will stop fleeing Saint Paul for the suburbs.

Matthew Waite inside Ward 4 February 11, 2019, 12:09 PM

Name Matthew Waite
Address 1952 Portland Ave
Comment Please consider using sand in place of salt to treat icy roads and paths. The recent freezing rain followed by very cold temperatures highlights the need to use sand. Sand has the following advantages over salt: 1) it provides a visible cue that the path has been treated, whereas black ice can look like pavement; 2) it provides reliable traction, even in colder conditions, whereas salt is ineffective; 3) it does not cause harm to the environment; 4) it is less expensive than salt. While St. Paul should adopt sand in treating icy roads, a great start would be with our paths through our parks (thinking especially Como Park and Mississippi River Blvd.) enjoyed by runners and walkers all winter long. I can attest to many exercisers who have taken to walking/running on treadmills given our icy pathways.

Karen Nelson inside Ward 4 February 11, 2019, 11:25 AM

Name Karen Nelson
Address 2565 Franklin Ave
Comment I hope the City of St. Paul can have as much commitment to safe walking in winter as it does for safe driving in winter. Too often cars get the priority, while drivers are safer than ever in their giant SUVs, and pedestrians are at more and more peril with such big cars that are more lethal when they hit people. And yet we spend an enormous amount of public works time sand and salting roads but not making way for pedestrians. Curb cuts are needed to be ADA compliant but they are essentially abandoned, and dammed up in the winter, property owners are not encouraged or enforced to attend to them. Clear walking within 0.5 of major transit hubs (Green Line stations, A line etc) should be a priority in the winter.

Best thing for pedestrians safety and to make walking most appealing would be separated bike paths, so bikes are not forced onto sidewalks.

With more little EVs like scooters, hover boards gaining popularity each year, and with more bikers each year, including growing popularity of ebikes, the users of these little EVs need their own space - out of car lanes for their safety, but not on sidewalks, terrorizing pedestrians. Separated paths for little vehicles going 10-20 mph is absolutely necessary for everyone's safety, easier for drivers, better for bikers/scooters and greatly reduced stress for people walking or moving more slowly (wheel chairs) in our city.

Brandon Mason inside Ward 3 February 9, 2019, 10:06 AM

Name Brandon Mason
Address 2038 Pinehurst Avenue
Comment Thank you for the opportunity to share the following comments on the draft pedestrian plan:
(1) Pedestrian safety will be illusive as long as dangerous and illegal driving is tolerated and rampant. This includes not just crosswalk violations (that are the focus of Stop for Me), but also speeding, rolling stops at stop signs, vehicles that fail to stop or yield when turning right at red light, vehicles that make right turns on red where prohibited, vehicles that turn left without checking for pedestrians or even in violation of red turn signals, blocking intersections, and even illegal parking near intersections. There are a few casual references to traffic enforcement in the plan, mainly in relationship to the "Stop for Me" campaign, which is not enough. The plan should include specific action items for enhancing enforcement and compliance, which could include (a) a program of installing automated red light and speed enforcement, (b) the assignment of officers dedicated exclusively to enforcing pedestrian safety (which could easily be self funding), and (c) an online web form (like the one the MN State Patrol maintains for state highways at https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/msp/contact/pages/show-msp-unsafe-driving-incident-form.aspx?district=2400) to allow residents to easily report unsafe driving, with a commitment to appropriately responding to each complaint.

(2) The plan is spot-on in identifying snow and ice removal as critical, but does not go far enough in identifying actions to tackle the issue. Additional suggestions include (a) adding a civil penalty for failure to clear sidewalks (so that those who fail to comply will be immediately ticketed, in addition to potentially having to pay a service fee for city sidewalk clearing), (b) follow Minneapolis's lead in proactively enforcing the sidewalk ordinance rather than relying on complaints (especially in business areas, along designated school walking routes, and other high-pedestrian-traffic areas), and (c) create a program to help facilitate collective snow removal efforts by businesses and residents. On this last point, imagine a system that allowed business and residents on a block to vote (perhaps with signatures of 2/3 of landowners by street frontage) to engage a snow removal company (from a list of city-approved, high-quality, licensed contractors) to promptly and thoroughly clear snow from theirs sidewalks, intersections, and alleys and have the city handle assessing costs against the property owners on the block and cutting a check to the snow removal company.

(3) The plan does not address sidewalk width. Too many of our sidewalks are relatively narrow, especially when you consider the creeping intrusion of snow that commonly narrows them in the winter. Traditional Neighborhood Zoning is great generally but exacerbates this problem by encouraging zero lot lines along inadequately sized sidewalks. Consideration should be given to encouraging broad sidewalks (perhaps by modifying Traditional Neighborhood Zoning to incentivize or require developers to widen sidewalks when building in those areas).

(4) Walking is more pleasant and more common when streets are vibrant and active. Building, zoning, and business codes should be examined to see if more can be done to encourage active building-sidewalk interfaces and sidewalk activities (sidewalk cafes, walk-up service). Street furniture like benches and waste receptacles will encourage more active uses.

Pat Thompson inside Ward 4 February 8, 2019, 1:47 PM

Name Pat Thompson
Address 1496 Raymond Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55108
Comment I am co-chair of the District 12 Transportation Committee.

In general, we strongly support the pedestrian plan and are glad the city of St. Paul is moving in the direction of fully implementing multi-modal transportation, especially as we deal with climate change. People need to be able to travel on foot safely.

That said, I have three specific comments:

First is a minor one but important in our neighborhood. On page 90 and on the map on page 71, the plan refers to Lower St. Anthony Park. Please correct that name to South St. Anthony Park.

Second, North St. Anthony Park is generally marked in the plan as a medium-priority area for walking investment, and I agree with that with one exception. On Eustis Street, south of Como, there are no sidewalks on either side. This is where traffic from the 280 ramps enters and exits. A few blocks south on Eustis are several apartment buildings. It is very common to see people walking this stretch in the street and it’s very unsafe. Eustis is the only connection to two bus routes that run along Como, plus the HealthPartners Clinic and the only walking route to Minneapolis and Lauderdale. The land on either side of Eustis is owned by MnDOT and St. Paul Public Schools, mostly. It’s going to take some kind priority for this lack of sidewalks to ever change.

Third, South St. Anthony Park is marked as a high-priority area for walking investment, and again, we agree with that. This is an area with many sidewalk gaps, increasing housing density, and a lot of transit connections from buses and two Green Line stations. The only two specific stretches that make it onto the Pedestrian Plan's numbered priority list, however, are not the gaps we would prioritize, and are not near those areas of housing density and transit. We don’t disagree with adding sidewalks on Pierce Butler Route or Kasota Ave. (we want sidewalks everywhere) but our priority would be to make Territorial Road from the Minneapolis line to Vandalia safe for pedestrians, especially the area around the highway 280 ramps and the most likely path from Seal Hi-Rise to Raymond Station. We can share details on these areas from community input. Our second priority would be some of the private streets and passageways immediately adjacent to the Raymond and Westgate Stations that don’t have sidewalks, such as Carleton one block north of Raymond Station (connecting to Long) and LaSalle south of University, or the two possible passageways from Ellis to University between Emerald and Curfew, which are the most obvious connections between the multifamily housing south of Franklin (now under construction) and the Westgate Station.

Darwin Lindblom inside Ward 3 February 8, 2019, 12:16 PM

Name Darwin Lindblom and Jack Byers
Address 1988 Stanford Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105
Comment We agree with the Plan's recommendation to include areas at the edge of the campus of Saint Catherine University as needing attention and investment. We want to call to your attention one particularly dangerous intersection: Randolph Avenue and Kenneth Street. On the map it may seem like any ordinary neighborhood street crossing, but in everyday use it is much different from that. This intersection is the location of the north entrance to the St. Kate’s campus and it is generally more frequented by pedestrians and transit riders than either of the other main entrances (along Cleveland Avenue to the west, or through the parking entrance on Fairview Avenue to the East). This intersection is the most proximate location relative to the 74 bus which connects St. Kate' to and from the Blue Line LRT (at 46th Street) on the west and Downtown St. Paul on the east. Pedestrian/transit-rider crossings at this intersection are complicated by the dog-legged nature of the intersection coupled with very poor sightlines due to the rise of the hill and nearby crest of the hill on Randolph. In short, because of the hill, cars can't see pedestrians trying to cross to and from campus until they are practically at the intersection. The fact that fast moving cars often blindly dash around buses complicates matters on top of that. As a result, pedestrians are forced to take their chances on when its safe to dart across the intersection. A zebra-stripe crosswalk, a ped-activated signal, and maybe some popsicle stick markers would improve visibility and safety immensely at this high-traffic pedestrian crossing. Thanks for taking this into consideration.

Patricia Teiken inside Ward 5 February 8, 2019, 11:00 AM

Name Patricia Teiken
Address 1672 Macubin Street
Comment Cohansey Park Townhomes Association
c/o Cedar Management
7260 University Ave NE, #200
Fridley, MN 55435

February 7, 2019

Saint Paul Planning Commission
c/o Fay Simer
1400 City Hall Annex
25 West Fourth St.
St. Paul, MN 55102

Re: Saint Paul Pedestrian Plan – Fill the Sidewalk Gaps Project

We are writing to you as the governing body on behalf of the owners of Cohansey Park Townhomes Association. We have 30 units in our association, located in the North End neighborhood of St. Paul on Cohansey Street, Mackubin Street, and Larpenteur Avenue, and find we are in your target zone for this project.

We are opposed to being forced to add sidewalks to all of the properties in our association. Cohansey Street is a quiet cul-de-sac; the properties on Mackubin have the Elmhurst Cemetery across the street which is gated with a locked entry that is rarely open to Mackubin. The sidewalk placement will most likely interfere with buried utilities and mature landscape. According to your documentation, property owners will bear the cost of this project.

It is important for you as a planning commission to fully understand the tax implications for associations, who have strict requirements regarding both operating and reserve budgets UNDER STATE LAW, and the associations governing documents, including the declaration. Any forced payment or cost is in conflict with these documents (in breach of the legal documents), as they do not allow for anything to be spent outside of budgeted operating costs, reserves for replacement of EXISTING common area infrastructure or owner dwellings and require a vote of a majority of owners to pass any other type of assessment to pay for anything the association may be tasked with from the city to pay. This can be problematic and push associations in a corner with how to pay. If the recent trash change is any reflection of how this project will be administered, our membership has little faith there will not be major issues connected with this project.

The recent trash change has been a financial hardship on our residents; the city effectively voided a contract between the association and a 3rd party vendor that was less than half the cost of the current contract and has not responded to repeated inquiries. They initially billed owners the trash cost, which is legally allocated to the association. They broke out townhomes, platted as a community with association controlled and maintained common areas, including the landscaping adjacent to the owners dwelling, the drives and walks, etc., into single family homes. This leads us to believe the city will not listen to issues, complaints or understand how crime and/or property damage may also increase with sidewalks providing more access to our quiet community. Options, including legal involvement by an attorney, are being looked at relative to the trash issue because of the lack of response from the city.

Signed: Board Members of Cohansey Park Townhomes

Pat Teiken, President patteiken@comcast.net
Laurie Siewert, Vice President lsiewert@mcmanis-monsalve.com
Paul Vlahutin, Treasurer vlahutin@yahoo.com
Suellen Carroll, Secretary suellenc38@msn.com
Susan Beech-Garwood s.beechgarwood@gmail.com
Karen Smith kmsapril@comcast.net
Leslie Adams lesanden2000@yahoo.com

Sue Thaxton, Property Manager, Cedar Management sthaxton@cedarmanagement.com

Joseph Gustafson inside Ward 6 February 7, 2019, 9:30 PM

Name Joe Gustafson
Address 1853 Arlington Avenue East
Comment Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this proposed Pedestrian Plan. I applaud St. Paul’s overall walkability and the City’s desire to further improve. This draft, like many other such plans, speaks extensively to perceived comfort and confidence for pedestrians, but is unfortunately disappointing in its failure to adequately address pedestrian safety. St. Paul’s challenge has been, and continues to be, safety for pedestrians crossing major arterials, particularly at unsignalized locations.

Unlike other cities, St. Paul has long embraced the use of marked crosswalks, even at uncontrolled multi-lane locations. While installing these markings may have been politically expedient at the time they were installed, national experience and research has consistently shown that such markings not only fail to improve safety, but actually substantially degrade safety for pedestrians when used at uncontrolled multi-lane locations. Under these conditions, crosswalk markings, in the absence of other strategies such as active warning beacons, have been proven to increase the pedestrian crash risk by approximately 400% compared to unmarked crosswalks at similar locations with similar pedestrian volumes.

Marked crosswalks such as those across Snelling Avenue and across White Bear Avenue in my neighborhood have been perpetuated during pavement replacement projects in recent years, despite their known negative safety effects. Efforts in Saint Paul in recent years have instead focused on enforcement and education to improve yielding rates, which is indeed important and correlates to convenience, but does not correlate to safety. The cost of physical infrastructure to address this condition, or the controversy to remove inplace markings, may have caused the city to defer difficult decisions in the past. However, difficult decisions will need to be made if St. Paul hopes to reduce fatal and serious injury crashes involving pedestrians.

If the city is serious about tackling these issues and improving pedestrian safety, this plan presents an excellent opportunity to commit to a review of all existing uncontrolled multi-lane crosswalks, including those which are located on MnDOT and County roadways within the city. There is also an opportunity to commit to a policy of removing or enhancing such crosswalks in accordance with national safety findings, either as stand-alone projects or in conjunction with other construction projects such as pavement overlays. Other agencies such as MnDOT have adopted such policies that reflect the safety research, and these policies could serve as a useful model for the city.

If such a policy is not adopted into the plan document currently being considered, this opportunity may be missed. One remaining sign of hope, however, is contained in Table 3 of the plan, where the plan identifies “Action #1-5” as a “Top Near-Term Action”: “Establish a consistent process for reviewing, improving and prioritizing pedestrian crossings. Review and update policies as necessary to incorporate best practices and national guidelines. Apply these policies to all projects and requests that include crossing improvements.” This proposed action, if properly pursued, could indeed address the issues described above, but only if it is applied to all existing marked crosswalks in a proactive, city-wide manner, and not simply to new requests.

Thank you again for the opportunity to comment on this proposed plan. We share the same goal of improving pedestrian access and safety throughout the city, and this plan presents an opportunity to chart a new course toward pedestrian safety by addressing the widespread existence of one of the most hazardous conditions known for pedestrians: marked crosswalks on multi-lane uncontrolled approaches. Confronting this issue is critical to pedestrian safety in Saint Paul.

Thanks you.

Joe Gustafson
1853 Arlington Avenue East
Saint Paul

Alan Richardson Hohn outside Saint Paul February 7, 2019, 7:09 PM

Name Alan Richardson
Address 925 Park St
Comment You identify that snow and ice removal is the number on priority to residents based on survey response, but repeatedly state that it is the property owners responsibility in the document making clear to me it is not a desired area for the city to actually invest money.

Offering programs for free salt/sand/ice melt for residents, offering free removal services for the elderly and disabled, or creating a network of independent removers who are provided incentives for ensuring neighborhoods are cleared would be a far more comprehensive and forward thinking solution than increased enforcement, violation issuance, and fees from and already backlogged DSI. No clear solutions are offered in this plan and no future thought is obvious thoughout the strategies identified.

Monica Rasmussen inside Ward 4 February 7, 2019, 3:20 PM

Name Monica Rasmussen
Address 409 Roy St N
Comment I would like to be more visible. When I get off the EB Snelling station and cross University to head South, I am shielded by a bunch of signs. Left turning drivers don't see me or any group of people crossing there. It is especially dangerous with a stroller. There are many intersections like that in this city, not just at Green Line stations. Sometimes pedestrians are occluded by signs, sometimes by large trees. Where a person will stand to cross should be considered when landscaping and placing signage. The fence at the University ALine station also greatly affects mobility and increases the distance just to cross the street. What should be there instead is a nice accessible crossing area like what Snelling and Charles has. Hawk lights at major unsignaled intersections would also greatly improve safety. And at major signalized intersection that have high pedestrian counts (like Selby-Snelling), pedestrian scramble lights should be installed.