Walk the Talk: Transit Projects and Spring Rides

Editor’s noteWalk the Talk is Streets.mn’s carefully curated, highly partisan collection of both serious and fun-loving events, community meetings and opportunities for engagement that we think will interest our readers. Email your ideas to Hawken Habig, one of our daily editors, at hawkenhabig@gmail.com.

East Grand Avenue Overlay District Project — Hearing on Friday, April 12, 8:30 a.m.

The City of St. Paul is planning to enact zoning reforms along East Grand Avenue in accordance with the city’s priorities laid out in the 2040 Comprehensive Plan. The proposal seeks to make Grand Avenue more pedestrian-oriented and support an active street life, as it includes provisions that allow for more and denser developments along the corridor. There is a lot to like about the plan it its current status, but the good people at Sustain Saint Paul highlighted one important issue: setback requirements. The amendments include language that requires 10-foot setbacks — the distance between the street and the building on a lot, e.g., a front yard — for any building over 30 feet. That includes two-story buildings. Setback requirements allow for less space to be utilized, which creates a financial disincentive for developers seeking to get the most bang for their buck! Speak out about the proposed amendments at the next public hearing, before the St. Paul Planning Commission, on Friday, April 12, 8:30 a.m. at City Hall in downtown St. Paul. Or email your questions or critiques to spencer.miller-johnson@stpaul.gov by Thursday, April 11, at 4:30 p.m.

Blue Line Extension at 30%

Graphic courtesy of Metro Transit.

After an epic and harrowing chronicle of ecstatic highs and crippling lows, the Blue Line Extension is finally beginning to take what is expected to be its final form — or rather, 30% of its final form. The Metropolitan Council released a few days ago the 30% design for the light rail extension that will run north of Target Field to the Target headquarters in Brooklyn Park. The plans detail an outline of the expected road design for the corridor, including the width of the track, station locations and impacts on surrounding streets and businesses. You can review the final documents here.

The Metropolitan Council will be hosting several meetings over the rest of this month, where you can review the 30% design plan and provide the planners with feedback (dates and locations below). You may also use this online interactive map to leave comments on the proposed design.

  • West Broadway Reconstruction Workshop: Monday, April 15, 12:30 p.m. at the Capri Theater.
  • Minneapolis Open House: Wednesday, April 17, 5-7 p.m. at the Capri Theater.
  • Brooklyn Park Open House: Tuesday, April 23, 5:30-7 p.m. at the Brooklyn Park Library.

P.S. If you haven’t checked out Richie Song’s excellent three-part series on the Blue Line Extension published recently in Streets.mn, I recommend you do!

Move MN’s St. Paul Summer Bike Series — April 18 and monthly through August

Move Minnesota’s series of summer bike rides returns this year with a kickoff on Thursday, April 18 at 5 p.m.! The summer-long series of Thursday afternoon bike rides takes participants on a tour through the capital city, with different trails and locations each month. The first in the series is on April 18, during which riders will gather at Short Line Park on Summit Avenue for a five-mile loop, heading north to the Charles Avenue Bikeway. RSVP for the April 18 ride here; and for a full list of summer rides, check out Move MN’s events page.

Additionally: Consider volunteering to help guide riders during any of Move MN’s summer rides. Details on volunteering may be found here.

Give Feedback to Metro Transit — May 6, 7 and 9

A little while ago Metro Transit launched its latest planning initiative, Forward. Like previous plans, Forward seeks to identify ways to support the system and its services, especially in light of the three-quarter-cent metro-area sales tax passed last year. The team has been working to develop Forward, and is now ready to share their progress and hear your feedback at three public meetings this coming May.

Additionally: For Blue and Green Line riders specifically, Metro Transit is seeking feedback on your experience using the light rail. An online survey is available here, which questions respondents on matters of frequency, accessibility and safety.

Med City Meander — Saturday, May 25, Rochester

The (now) annual Med City Meander, sponsored by the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota (BikeMN), will return on Saturday, May 25! The Med City Meander takes participants on a 32-mile loop through Rochester’s vast network of trails and bike lanes, with plenty to see and enjoy along the way. Riders will check-in in the morning, with the main ride continuing through the early afternoon. View a great interactive map of the route here! And more comprehensive details and registration for the event may be found here.

About Hawken Habig

Hawken is a student of Urban Studies at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and a copy editor at Streets.mn. He also composes Streets.mn's bi-weekly event listing "Walk the Talk;" email any ideas for events or opportunities to hawkenhabig@gmail.com!