E-DEMOCRACY | Lowertown development and the Saint Paul Farmer’s Market

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From: Mary C. Zanmiller Date: Apr 21 23:59

So is the public discussion about the Farmer’s Market leaving it’s current site in Lowertown going to happen after everything is a done deal? Does the public have a voice in this? Will anyone listen? Is there accountability for this decision?

From: Jim Buscher Date: Apr 22 01:06

When has City Hall ever said recently they want the Farmer’s Market to leave Lowertown?? I recall about ten years ago a proposal existed briefly to move it across the river to the West Side Flats area but that was shot down by the community.

I think someone is just starting false rumors.

From: Chris Tholkes Date: Apr 22 21:13

As someone who lives in the MarketHouse building across the street fromt he market, I can tell you that the latest word on parking is that the lot (taken through eminent domaign) will be open to the public through June and then will be closed as construction begins.

Access to the market is going to be a BIG problem come July 1.

From: Jim Buscher Date: Apr 23 00:30

Fortunately more than a thousand spaces have been opened up at the Union Depot. I think there will be adequate parking for the FM. I’ve seen convention goers who’ve parked there and walked all the way from it to events at RiverCentre and elsewhere. I think market goers will have no problem walking the single block to get to the market.

And lets not forget the light rail will be running next year about this time or by summer. I think that will be a very popular mode for people visiting the downtown FM.

And in a slightly unrelated comment, I hope your association members do well in their negotiations with the city in getting a favorable price for your parking spaces. As well as finding suitable contract spaces in nearby ramps or lots.

From: Jim Mork Date: Apr 23 03:53

First, when if at all will any of those parking spaces be free? Second, the Union Station ramp is not really convenient to anything. When the sidewalks are iced up for several months of the year, are people really going to want to park on the river and walk a half mile or mile to their destination? I think avid promoters of some of these schemes don’t really translate their suggestions into real life as lived in Minnesota. For parking schemes like this to be meaningful, there will have to be circulator buses running every 5 minutes from ramps to popular downtown locations. Just the CCLRT running down Cedar to Union Station really serves a minor part of downtown.

From: Zach Schwartz Date: Apr 23 19:30

Concerns about Saint Paul Farmer’s Market parking were raised at the last parking task force meeting of the Capitol River Council and the group discussed a few different options to look into in order to keep the market where it is with as little impact as possible.

Jack Gerten from the market proposed a number of solutions they are working on that included pick-up and drop-off zones and he recently shared this updated parking map of the area. http://www.stpaulfarmersmarket.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=69&Itemid=174 Also discussed was the continuing use of the horse drawn carriages to the more distant lots (the market used these last year).

For future consideration there were proposals to partner with both Metro State University (new parking ramp) or the State of Minnesota/Sears lots which are underutilized on weekends. in the near term these could be shuttle lots and the Sears/State lots would be convenient for commuters coming from I-94 once the Green Line LRT is operational.

From: Nigel Parry Date: Apr 24 02:29

This is a ridiculous discussion about Farmers Market parking being made by people who don’t have any direct experience. Having lived on and off in Lowertown since 2001, the notion that there’s not enough parking here for the Farmers Market has no basis in reality.

There’s never more than a few hundred people in the market area at any one time and the fancy new Union Depot parking lot C with hundreds of spaces is just one block away. Also one block away, two more parking lots behind the Black Dog.

To consider that ‘inadequate’ is a sign of total laziness. Is that the measure of things: if you can’t park outside something, then there’s not enough parking?

Bar a couple of streets, the whole of Lowertown is a street parking lot, both ringed by and peppered with multiple parking lots. Bar Mears Park, there’s nothing but concrete here. The ballpark is seeing yet more parking coming down the road. How much parking do we need exactly?

From: John Mannillo Date: Apr 24 16:25

Lowertown parking is far more complicated than many people want to believe. It’s not just needs for the Farmer’s Market, or the Ballpark or the residents. It’s not just counting places to park. Saint Paul needs a comprehensive approach which both identifies the problems as well solutions.

There is public parking, private parking and private parking available to the public. There is demand for short term (hourly), daily and monthly contract. There is need for permanent parking for condo owners. There is ramp parking, surface lots and metered parking. All this is very sensitive to convenience , pricing and enforcement. When you change any aspect of this puzzle, it effects other pieces. Public transit, bicycles, skyways and sidewalks are part of the mix.

It is far more than just satisfying someone who wants to drive downtown and find a place to park. You need to understand the issues that Diggitt brings up. It certainly isn’t surprising that people who invested in condos before a ballpark was ever thought of would object to losing their private parking and much of their investment. Many retailers and restaurants downtown consider on-street parking their lifeblood.

I object to the City’s approach of changing something (often something that is very successful like Lowertown) and dealing with any problems that arise later. This, with the hope that there will actually be a solution not to mention the money. After the Sixth Street concrete sidewalk extension was approved, the City now acknowledges they have over committed uses of the only through streets the length of downtown. They can’t fit bus lanes, dining, streetscape, wide sidewalks traffic lanes, parking and bike lanes. Something has to go.

There hasn’t been a parking study that looked at parking comprehensively since 2002 and that revealed many issues. There was a 2010 study of downtown on-street metered parking by The Chamber, City, BOMA and the CRC that concluded we drastically needed to improve our metering and supply. The recent EAW study only looked at the number of parking spaces within reasonable walking distance to the new ballpark. TKDA (the engineers who made the study) will readily tell your they did not address any of the other parking issues. They also don’t agree with the City’s total count of parking even within their limited study area.

Regarding the Sixth Street sidewalk extension and 22 on-street spaces. Saying that this is minor in the big picture of 11,500 or whatever is the correct number, is irrelevant. What you need to look at is how many in total on-street spaces there are, and what is available for each type of use. Those 22 spaces make a big impact for that specific need in that specific area, especially when so many of the spaces are used by city employees. What makes the sidewalk extension even worse is that not only will it be used for extremely limited seating, it will be used only a small fraction of the year at all, not to mention even during the warm months. Hence my idea of a seasonally moveable pop-up café.

Lowertown has not just recently become successful. Reinvestment goes back to the McKnight Foundation grant in 1978 which established the Lowertown Redevelopment Corporation. They set a direction and substantially held a course. It was able to do this because it was independent from the City and its politics. It understood how to preserve assets which could not be replaced and built on those things. The Heritage Preservation Commission has taken on the toughest job this respect has required.

We can maximize our available parking for all these uses but we have to intelligently manage all the issues.

From: Jim Buscher Date: May 03 14:14

http://www.twincities.com/opinion/ci_23158988/st-paul-farmers-market-some-changes-parking-but

St. Paul Farmers’ Market: Some changes in parking, but market is here to stay: Jack Gerten

By Jack Gerten

Posted: 05/02/2013 12:01:00 AM CDT

“…But we want to assure the tens of thousands of Farmers’ Market customers that the Saint Paul Farmers’ Market is here to stay in its current location for decades to come…”

Jack Gerten is the director of the Saint Paul Farmers’ Market.

As of May 8, 2013, there were 23 posts on this topic. Read the full thread here.