[River Road, Minneapolis.]
[Downtown, Saint Paul.]
[Downtown, Saint Paul.]
|[Worse than scooters.]|
|[One of my photos visiting and observing the Starbucks in 2017.]|
Chair Wencl [after Commissioner Nelson’s report on the Zoning Committee application]: Open for discussion. Commissioner Lindeke?
Me (Commissioner Lindeke): I’m curious about two things. One is, I received mixed messages about whether or not there were traffic studies done or traffic concerns from Ramsey County or MnDOT. I’m just recalling all the times that trying to do anything to improve pedestrian safety on Snelling Avenue, and MnDOT or someone will say “oh well that can’t be done.” And here there is a case where there are, I think, legitimate concerns about this kind of use, and and how it could affect traffic flow. And at one point it says Ramsey county and MnDOT have looked at this and its fine and at another point is says that there’s a lot of traffic here already and therefore no traffic study is required, and you just told me that they’re going o look at it later. That’s a mixed message and I don’t understand what’s going on.
The other question is that the developer said that other uses would not fit here and that seems like something that I don’t know any developer might say, so I’m curious what what other uses were predicted or projected by the community or the basic general questions is about how drive-thrus increase any property's value, if you have retail and add a drive-thru you’ll make a lot more money because its kind of easier, but we kind of discourage them in certain specific areas for a lot of reasons and so I just think we should have a more through conversation about it.
[referring to Commissioner Nelson] I don’t know if that’s for you or who…
Commissioner Nelson: [gives an answer about the traffic studies from the engineering firm hired by Starbucks, basically described the study numbers with counts, about how the Snelling Avenue bridge was closed at the time, and that the studies did not have an accurate baseline. Said he cannot predict what the nearby the Vintage apartment and grocery store project would do to affect traffic. Added that other developments were looked at and the developer was looking to find a use for the site and talked to a mattress store and a cell phone store. Said that the traffic in and out of the site for curb cuts would have been the same location.]
Commissioner Nelson [continuing]: The site, the way its set up, the curb cuts are as far from the intersection as they possibly can get. There are some things you can see that the site plan that’s been drawn indicates Marshall avenue and a bike lane. There were some modifications to the site plan as this has gone through development. For example, there is an island that has bene added at the exit to marshal avenue, what one of the people speaking referred to as a pork chop…
Me [interrupting]: That’s one of my favorite terms.
Commissioner Nelson: ... that and sideburns right? ... the island which channelizes the traffic into a right turn onto Marshall so that traffic own’t be coming out of the parcel and go over to snelling. By turning right on Marshall… there is one more street you can go back into a frontage road and hop back onto 94, so there have been some traffic mitigation measures put into place w/r/t the site plan.
Traffic and bicycle safety were definitely items that were brought up, and one suggestion from one of the Commissioners was that the bike lane be looked at very carefully along that area in order to help separate bikes and traffic along the Marshall street frontage on the south side of the road.
[referring to a city planner] Mr Williams would you like to add something to that?
Josh Williams: I guess if the questions of Comm. Lindeke have been answered to his satisfaction I don’t feel like I need to add anything else, but I’m happy to.
Me: I still think it’s kind of a lazy development and the idea that most of the space is going to just be, anyone who’s ever driven to work knows that stopping to get coffee is something that a lot of people want to do.
I just feel like its’ going to be a parking lot filled with idling cars that are not... it’s not going to be an asset to the neighborhood. There’s a Starbucks two blocks down and I feel like we should respect the vision of the zoning that was put in in the first place, and w/r/t traffic, this question, you can imagine what’s going to happen. Normally I don’t really concern myself too much about commuting, but I don’t think it’s an asset, so I’m going to vote against it.
[Commission has an extended discussion about Floor Area Ratios (FAR) and the nature of variances, involving Commissioner Perrus, Commissioner Shively, Commissioner Noecker, Commissioner That, and Commissioner Edgerton.]
Chair Wencl [introducing the final vote and her stance against the proposal]: Because along with that the traffic problems that would only be additional to what is already happening on Snelling Avenue, I’ve got a particular concern about the bike lane and the turning right on Marshall Avenue as well.
|[Don't put all your old Villagers in one basket.]|
|[The guilty party.]|
|[Like herding cats.]|