Community Conversation on Transit

by Kent Petterson, Becky Yust

Transit improvements are important for our community. The Boards of the Fort Road Federation and the West 7th Business Association established a Joint Riverview Task Force in June 2018 in response to the differing views of transit improvement between Ramsey County and the City of St. Paul with our local organizations, residents, and business owners. The purpose of the task force is to coordinate strategy, communications, and positions of our two organizations regarding the transit improvements in the Riverview Corridor as the transit process evolves. Members of the task force are Michelle Bastian, Michael Black, Tyler Blackmon, Mark Fangmeier, Kent Petterson, and Becky Yust.

                This fall the task force asked itself the question: What does an improved West Seventh mean to you? From that question we identified nine operating principles related to improved transit on West Seventh and we want to engage others in the community to participate in our discussion. On Wednesday, January 30, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Palace Community Center, we invite you to join the task force members in roundtable conversations on the nine principles identified.

                The evening will start with an introduction. Next, conversations will take place at each table so that participants can share comments and ideas regarding the principles. Each table will focus on a set of three of the nine principles and participants will be able to move to different tables to discuss a different set of principles about every 20 minutes. This way, all participants will have the opportunity to address each of the nine principles. At the end of the evening, key points from each table will be shared with everyone. The task force will then move forward to create a unified position on items on which we all agree.

                The nine operating principles and some initial points for discussion on each principle on January 30 are:

                Support Current Businesses: Be attractive to businesses; vibrant businesses; safeguards for business losses during construction; business resources — funding, technical help, promotions/PR; flavor of businesses in neighborhood; family-owned, small, incubator, local businesses.

                Slow Down Traffic on West Seventh: Two lanes and one turn lane the entire stretch of West Seventh (west of Smith); reduce speed on West Seventh.

                Parking: No net loss of parking; explore structured parking in the rear part of lots, not fronting onto West Seventh (e.g. Victoria Crossing); explore utilizing existing ramps in the area for overflow parking.

                Improve Bicycling Experience: Establish bike lanes, not just share-rows; bicycle routes; safety.

                Improve Pedestrian Experience: Greater density of housing and businesses for more walkable community, especially west of Otto; more walkable sidewalks, not narrower than existing sidewalks; enhance pedestrian safety; improve pedestrian crossings between the north and south sides of West Seventh; maintain access between the north and south sides of West Seventh.

                Streetscape: Maintain it; preservation of current historic streetscape building stock; preserve trees, replace lost trees, and overall increase the number of trees along West Seventh.

                Housing Current and Future Residents: Remain attractive to live here; more affordable housing stock; increase housing supply through appropriately scaled transit oriented development infill; don’t price out current neighbors, especially seniors.

                Tailor Transit Route to Resident Needs: Improvements needed now; we are not a pass-through; open to the utilization of Smith and West Seventh as transit; bike/pedestrian only for the CP/Ford Spur in West Seventh neighborhood; sufficient and reliable transit stops.

                People Can Connect to The River: Follow and implement Great River Passage guidelines; make sure that everyone can connect to the Mississippi River in different ways from West Seventh; access to the Mississippi River for pedestrians.

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