COMMUNICATIONS AND NEWS FROM THE WEEK: FEBRUARY 20, 2023
Meetings and Announcements:
· The next regular City Council Meeting will be on Monday, February 27th. Our Council Workshop will begin at 6:15 with a presentation on Fire/EMS staffing plan updates.
Purple Line - Our next Purple Line meeting will be February 28, 2023. The tentative agenda for the 28th includes:
2. Presentation from No Rush Line Coalition
3. Presentation from St. John's Hospital and other businesses
4. Questions from City Council and Advisory Committee
2023 Improvement Project Public Hearings
The City will be holding Public Hearings for the Myrtle-Sterling Area Improvements and the Woodlynn-Southlawn Area Improvements at next Monday’s Council Meeting. Leading up to these hearings, staff have been communicating with area residents in a number of ways to ensure they understand the proposed improvements and have had a multiple opportunities to have their questions answered. This included multiple mailings, a project survey, two neighborhood meetings, and a new online tool called InputID. The InputID tool can be viewed by clicking on the following links.
Feedback received on the Myrtle-Sterling project mainly focused on concerns with drainage and the slope of Myrtle Street at Holloway Avenue along with questions about assessments. Overall residents seemed to be supportive of the improvements.
Feedback received on the Woodlynn-Southlawn project focused mainly on two streets; Woodlynn and Radatz Avenues. Residents along Woodlynn Avenue noted that speeding, lack of on-street parking, gaps in the sidewalk network, street lighting, and pedestrian crossing safety were of concern. Staff took an in-depth look at Woodlynn Avenue during the design, keeping this feedback in mind. The 2040 Comprehensive plan calls out the miss sidewalk segments along Woodlynn Avenue and Ariel Street as priority segments. The proposed roadway configuration, reduces the road width from the current 4-driving lanes to 2-driving lanes with parking areas in select locations along with filling in missing sidewalk segments. The proposed design better fits with current and future traffic demands, makes the corridor feel more constricted (which tends to reduce speeds), shortens the distance for pedestrians to cross the roadway, reduces impervious surfaces, and fills in the missing sidewalk segments called out in the 2040 Comprehensive plan.
Feedback received on Radatz Avenue focused on the condition of the pavement, speeding, cut-through traffic, and sidewalks. Overall there were a few residents that noted speeding concerns on Radatz Avenue. A request for a sidewalk along Radatz Avenue has come from one resident that is very passionate about his request. Staff took an in-depth look at Radatz Avenue and consulted with our guiding documents such as the 2040 Comprehensive plan and Living Street’s policy. We factored in items such as current traffic volumes, the area roadway and sidewalk networks, and resident feedback in designing the proposed roadway layout. The proposed layout reduces the roadway width from the current 30-31 foot width to 28-feet wide. This allows for one driving lane in each direction, parking on one side of the roadway, and space for on-street pedestrians and bicyclists. Beyond the typical width reduction guided by our Living Street’s policy, staff are proposing curb ‘bump-outs’ in a couple of locations along the street to further constrict the roadway, creating a tighter feeling to further promote slower vehicle speeds.
When considering a sidewalk, our guiding documents do not call for one along Radatz Avenue. The 2040 Comprehensive plan does not call for sidewalks along this section of Radatz Avenue or Southlawn Drive between Beam Avenue and Radatz Avenue. Our Living Street’s policy does provide an option for sidewalks in residential neighborhoods, but these are typically placed along higher volume neighborhood collector type streets, with side-streets feeding in to them. The most recent traffic count recorded along Radatz was roughly 600 vehicles per day. While there is likely cut-through traffic, the volume is well within a typical residential street volume of up to a 1,000 vehicles per day. Additionally, Radatz Avenue is not a neighborhood collector Street.
Staff is not proposing to include a sidewalk along Radatz Avenue and Southlawn Drive at this time. Staff does recommend that gaps in the sidewalk network along Beam Avenue, as called out in the city’s 2040 Comprehensive plan, to be filled in during future improvements along that corridor to complete the larger sidewalk network in the area. Many good conversations have occurred with the resident requesting a sidewalk along Radatz. They were informed of the City’s reasoning behind not proposing a sidewalk along Radatz and that strong resident support would be needed to install one, as our guiding documents, traffic volumes, and the area roadway and sidewalk network do not support one. This resident said they would try to rally support from his neighbors and present it at Monday’s meeting.
While staff is not recommending a sidewalk along Radatz Avenue and Southlawn Drive, one could be designed for these roads. This does come with increased construction costs and the need to acquire easements over the commercial property on Southlawn Drive. If a decision is made to include sidewalks as part of the project scope, staff would recommend doing a neighborhood survey during the design process to ensure that the majority of residents are in favor of a sidewalk as there will be significant boulevard impacts.
Assistance to Firefighters Grant:
Fire department staff were notified on Wednesday 2/22/2023 that the department was selected to receive a $43,000 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This grant will allow the fire department to install a new Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) compressor and fill station at the South Fire Station. Firefighters wear SCBA at fire and rescue incidents where they need clean breathable air, these air tanks are worn like a back pack. After each incident in which an SCBA is worn, firefighters have to refill the SCBA bottle with air to ensure that it is ready for future calls. The SCBA compressor and fill station allows us to fill those bottles with clean air.
Previously, the department did not have this capability at the South Station. This grant ensures that both fire stations now have modern technology to safely fill air bottles and the mobile air truck.
Parks and Natural Resources
4H Program Partnership Update
On Monday February 21st, the Nature Center was host to another schools out nature class, “Nature Crafts” conducted by Ramsey County 4H. Registration was full and the kids had a great time exploring outside for items to use on their nature lanterns and used the rooms indoors for teaching and building!
The next session on March 10 is a DIY bird feeder!
They have been a great partner to work with and we are excited to continue to grow the relationship.
Ramsey County 4H Facebook Post:
Special thanks to our Public Works and Parks and Natural Resources crews for their excellent snow removal work this week!