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June 4, 2010

Agenda

  1. Call to Order and Minutes;
  2. Consider Parking Lot Rental Policy;
  3. Discuss On-Street Bike Parking;
  4. Update on NP and 1st Avenue North Corridor Study;
  5. Operator’s Report;
  6. Other Issues; and
  7. 5th Year Landscape Architecture Presentation (West Acres Redevelopment)

Minutes

Chairperson Commissioner Williams called the meeting to order. Mr. Engen moved to approve the minutes of the April meeting and Ms. Bailly seconded the motion. All members present voted aye and the motion was declared carried.

Parking Lot Rental Policy
Mr. Stein stated that he had received a request to arrange a party in one of the city’s facilities and that there was no policy in place for setting a rate or standards for such events. He noted that he had used the contract that the Civic Center used for their agreements but that he would like to have a template for such events in the future. He stated that issues such as alcohol, food, security, and insurance would need to be addressed. The Commission discussed possible guidelines. They agreed that this was a good opportunity to raise community awareness of parking, infrastructure, and downtown in general. Mr. Stein pointed out that several different city departments were involved in approving such an event.

On-Street Bike Parking
Mr. Stein reviewed the history of the CityScapes building at Roberts Street on NP Avenue. He stated that they had approached him to discuss bike parking around the building. He noted that he had placed a bike rack on the sidewalk for the short term. The Commission discussed on-street bike corrals and that the size required would be slightly less than the length of one parallel parking space. They considered how the racks would be placed, removed, and buffered from traffic. Mr. Stein noted that the spot could be designated during the winter for campus security parking. They discussed the
options for barriers and how the street would be maintained where the street sweepers could not access it. The Commission discussed bike lanes to be added throughout the city. They considered an increase in the number of bicyclists on the sidewalk on Broadway and how people could be reminded of where this was prohibited.

Update on NP Avenue and 1st Avenue North Corridor Study
Mr. Stein reviewed the meeting on freight and other deliveries. He stated that the option to have two lanes in one direction and one opposing lane seemed to be the one garnering the most attention and pointed out the issues that needed to be addressed. Commissioner Williams pointed out that both streets were slated for road work in 2011 regardless of the option chosen and that participation had been minimal. Mr. Engen noted that a consultant would be meeting with owners whose property fronted or was adjacent to the streets to get a better idea of their concerns.

Operator’s Report
Mr. Rogne reviewed the report for May, 2010. He noted that, with school out, the hourly parking rates were down a little. He stated that the Second Avenue lots were both full and that staff was attempting to steer people to the underground garage. Mr. Stein pointed out that landscaping was planned for both the 3rd Avenue lot and the Civic Center lot.

Graduate Presentation (West Acres Area Redevelopment)
Commissioner Williams noted that a fifth-year college student in the landscape architecture program had proposed a way of incorporating parking into multi-use facilities. Mr. Ehiemere reviewed his thesis and the sites on which he’d chosen to focus. He noted that the area had not been built for the pedestrian and it was difficult to navigate 13th Avenue without a personal vehicle. He suggested that sprawl should be a concern and developmental compactness would help new residents to access jobs and services without a car. He pointed out that the large parking lots around big-box developments were often poorly landscaped in a way that provided buffers against the wind.

Mr. Ehiemere reviewed the analyses he had done on each site, including use of parking, exit and entrance points, pedestrian walkways, and landscaping. He explained his proposal for redeveloping the West Acres area with high-rise and mixed-use development as well as the addition of overhead parking structures and underground parking. He discussed how much parking would be made available using these options. He pointed out that moving the parking over and under the pedestrian access would drastically reduce the number of accidents. He noted that the only pedestrian walkways
existing on these sites were the borders rather than throughout the properties. He suggested the inclusion of courtyards among the buildings where vendors could have stalls. He pointed out that these spaces could draw people to the sites and improve the customer bases of the more-traditional businesses on the site. He stated that redevelopment of this type was starting to occur along other commercial corridors like Main, Seventh, and Twelfth Avenues North.

The Committee discussed the proposals with Mr. Schlossman who agreed that more thought needed to be put into development than simply how quickly and cheaply buildings could be built. He stated that parking ticket revenue should be returned to the Parking funds for the construction of parking ramps.

Other Issues
The Committee discussed the proposed circulator bus route and Mr. Gilmour stated that meetings were underway with Sanford/MeritCare for sponsorship of the program. He stated that vehicles were available for the short term and that the program could be implemented within ninety days of securing financing. He stated that providing all-day service with two buses would cost approximately $250,000 per year. There being no further business to come before the Committee the meeting was adjourned.