Summit Hill Association takes stand on St. Paul LRT Circulator Bus plans

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Over the past several months, SHA volunteers on the Pedestrian Safety and Traffic Calming Committee have been working hard to get out the word in Summit Hill about the Met Council/Metro Transit process currently unfolding for creating better access for St. Paul residents to the Central Corridor LRT Green Line expected to open in 2014

A public meeting organized by the SHA Pedestrian Safety and Traffic Calming Committee (PSTC) held on April 25 at the Linwood Rec Center discussed the impact of circulator buses to the Summit Hill neighborhood and to provide input to Metro Transit planning staff. At that meeting, Metro Transit officials took citizen input on the matter. Nearly 20 residents attended the meeting and shared both strong support and concerns with the expected bus routes that would serve the Summit Hill community.

Also at that meeting, the SHA Pedestrian Safety and Traffic Calming Committee share results from our own online neighborhood survey which found few residents currently opposed to the concept of a bus route(s) through the neighborhood. Possible routes could be along Lexington Parkway, Dale St. or both.

Given the late June deadline set by the Met Council for community input on the draft Metro Transit Concept Plan, the PSTC recommended the following letter to the SHA Board of Directors who reviewed and approved sending it to the Met Council.

June 28, 2012

Metropolitan Council Data Center

390 N. Robert St.

St. Paul, MN 55101

Dear Metropolitan Council,

The Summit Hill Association (District 16) has reviewed the Metro Transit concept plan regarding the expansion and integration of bus service with the Central Corridor lightrail transit line (LRT Green Line). Overall, we are pleased to see that the concept plan addresses the input provided to Metro Transit via our neighborhood survey, as well as the public meeting held with your staff on April 25, 2012. Below we have provided specific comments on the concept plan for those elements that impact the Summit Hill neighborhood.

  • In concept, we are supportive of the plan to add a new Route 83 bus to Lexington Parkway. We remain concerned, however, about the specific implementation of this new route. For example, we want to ensure that any impacts to traffic flow that may result from the new bus route do not result in Lexington Avenue reverting to a four-lane road from its current three-lane design. Additionally, we want to ensure that details such as stop placement, road surfaces at stops, types of buses, and maintenance of stops (snow removal, graffiti removal, etc,) meet the needs of the neighborhood and maintain the character of the neighborhood. Our support of the concept plan is contingent on the details of the new Route 83 implementation. We strongly request that Metro Transit provide opportunities for neighborhood input regarding the detailed planning for Route 83.
  • We are supportive of the southerly extension of the Route 65 bus to Grand Avenue. Currently, there is no north-south bus service in District 16, and the extension of Route 65 to Grand Avenue, along with the addition of Route 83, will provide much needed north-south bus access to District 16. These two routes are essential to allowing our neighborhood to utilize the LRT Green Line.
  • We are pleased to see that a new NorthSouth route has not been added to Victoria Street.
  • We generally support increases in frequency and hours of service for buses in the neighborhood. We are specifically supportive of the increase in frequency for Route 63 along Grand Avenue and Route 65 along Dale Avenue. We are concerned about the limited frequency for Route 83 along Lexington Parkway. The concept plan notes that a future consideration of Metro Transit will be to increase the frequency and hours of service of the new Route 83 bus to be consistent with other routes in the Study Area. We strongly encourage Metro Transit to implement the new Route 83 bus with a frequency of 20 minutes versus 30 minutes. At a minimum, the new Route 83 bus should operate with a frequency of 20 minutes during weekday peak times to attract neighborhood commuters to the LRT Green Line.
  • Though the extension of Route 83 north of the LRT Green Line does not directly impact our neighborhood, it indirectly impacts our residents that desire north-south transit from the neighborhood to destinations such as Como Zoo and Como Park. Metro Transit should strongly consider extending Route 83 further north to encompass these trip-generating attractions.
    The Summit Hill Association makes the following requests of Metropolitan Council and Metro Transit as the planning and implementation process moves forward.
  • Provide opportunities for neighborhood input regarding the detailed planning for all routes that impact District 16, especially Route 83.
  • Keep the neighborhood informed, through the Summit Hill Association, of any changes to the concept plan that impact District 16, from now until finalization late in 2012.
  • Where possible, utilize quiet, newer buses on all District 16 routes, to minimize noise and pollution.
  • Work with the Summit Hill Association Crime Prevention Coordinator and the Pedestrian Safety and Traffic Calming Committee to educate neighbors about bus stop safety, crime prevention, and reporting. Where possible, utilize covered and lighted stops for increased safety.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide feedback on the concept plan.

Sincerely,

Mark Berhow
President, Summit Hill Association

cc:

Councilmember Dave Thune
Jill Hentges, Met Council
Scott thompson, Metro Council Planner