12.6.15

Saint Paul's Final Capital Budget Recommendations Chock Full of Sidewalks and Bike Lanes


[The CIB public hearing. Img. Rebecca Airmet.]
Last week I wrote about the city's CIB process in Minnpost, calling it a "budgetary sausage factory" where:

People who have experienced the process tend to have one of two reactions: either they’re mystified and frustrated, or they optimistically grit their teeth. After all, a lot of good ideas emerge, and some of them even get money.

At the time, the mayoral-appointed CIB committee rankings were dominated by three big-ticket projects: a community rec center in Frogtown, a fire station, and a police shooting range.

To many people with grassroots low-cost, high-value projects, competing with big city departments  seemed unfair.

Here's what one East Side participant said:

“You have all volunteers, nominated by their neighborhood, going in and competing against people who are professionals, who are paid to be there, and have the weight of the city behind them,” [Dan] Chouma told me.
That’s how you end up with a committee choosing among a park, a crosswalk, a fire station, and a city-owned bridge that might be falling down. Both Chouma and [Jim] Ivey would like to see the city department budgets separated from the community projects, so that the process didn’t pit police facilities against rec centers, and bike lanes against street trees.

[The preliminary CIB rankings.]

Since then, all of those projects have been cut back quite a bit, freeing up all kinds of money for bottom-up community projects like sidewalk improvements, bike lanes, and tree guards, and lots of other things I mentioned in my article.

Here is the new list, with streetscape and street design improvements highlighted:

[Final CIB Committee rankings.]


Great to see! Hopefully the mayor's office doesn't throw out all the good choices here. As usual in Saint Paul, the mayor gets the final say.

[You know, for kids!]

No comments: