|[A great project for downtown Saint Paul.]|
|[Typical downtown Saint Paul sidewalk experience.]|
|[Does for downtown what Midwest nitrogen does for the Gulf shrimp industry.]|
Thus, the Capital City Bikeway. Jackson Street was a great beginning to this effort, but the city really needs to do something while it waits for more funding for the rest of the project. That's why it's great to see the City Council vote unanimously to support an interim route east-west along 9th and 10th Streets. More importantly, they did it despite the dunder-headed opposition of a handful of restaurants and even a brewery (!).
Despite what the Key's Café lady will tell you, rules for businesses downtown differ from those in Roseville strip malls. People come downtown because it's a vibrant, unique place. Nobody comes downtown for convenient parking.
Anyway, here's my letter to the City Council:
Dear City Council:
I'm writing today to let you know that the Transportation Committee of the Planning Commission passed a resolution yesterday unanimously in support of the interim bikeway treatments along 9th and 10th Streets downtown. We are on the record as being very excited about this project, that fulfills the commitments and ideals laid out in many of our long-standing city plans.
Speaking for myself, I believe that connecting downtown Saint Paul in ways that make it more walkable and bikeable will only boost the downtown economy, which has been uneven, fragmented, and struggling for as long as I can remember.
In my opinion, one of downtown Saint Paul's big problems is that it has long been isolated from the rest of the city around it. The freeways and dangerous, high-speed roadways that ring our downtown form a kind of asphalt moat that prevents people from easily walking, biking, or accessing the downtown from anywhere else in the city. This harms local businesses and prevents downtown Saint Paul from being the economic and tax base asset that it can and should be.
The Capital City Bikeway is intended to help fix this problem by linking all parts of downtown. This connection is both an internal one within the thriving pockets of downtown, and external one with the neighborhoods around it. The 9th/10th leg is a critical connection that will bring people into the city and alleviate perceived and actual tensions around parking for drivers. I am very enthusiastic about the future of a downtown Saint Paul that is gracefully and safely connected to the east, west, north and south.
Please support the 9th/10th bikeway by voting to lay out a welcome mat for people to easily get into and out of downtown, and help downtown Saint Paul streets, businesses, and communities thrive.
Thanks for your support, and I hope you are staying safe and healthy.
It's worth pointing out that debating this project during the stay-at-home shut down triggered by COVID-19 adds an extra layer of tension here. As CM Prince stated, she was worried about the loss of parking "further stressing these businesses" during the pandemic.
But I would suggest that the pandemic actually shows the critical importance of biking and walking infrastructure. When restaurants do re-open, the ones that are linked to biking and walking paths will be the most successful. This goes double for breweries, which have long thrived when they invest in bike parking and locate near bike trails. Here's hoping downtown Saint Paul comes out of this crisis better than ever.