Some residents of Area 21 who live on the south side of Summit Avenue had a conversation with the Transportation Committee of the Mac Groveland Community Council on April 22nd to ask that they be removed from Area 21 and added to Area 19 or 20 to join the north side of Summit Avenue. Their concern is that the new hours have allowed evening students of St. Thomas to park on Summit for their classes.
The Transportation Committee has supported their request for a petition to change the boundaries of the parking areas, and that request is now going to the city transportation staff for review. It is not yet clear who all would have to sign off on that petition or what percentage of signatures they would require.
If this moves ahead as planned, then it would not change the rules on Lincoln, Grand, or Goodrich. Have folks noticed any downsides of the new rules anywhere else in Area 21?
In case you have not noticed, the new Area 21 parking permit signs are up. For most residents of Area 21 this just means that you no longer need permits to park in the evening or during the summer months. But for residents of Lincoln Avenue whose address is odd between 1943 and 2009 or even between 1944 and 2022, this means you need to buy a parking permit to park on the street. It is not clear when enforcement of the new parking requirements will start, but any permit you buy today will be valid through August 2013, so there is no reason to delay.
Please see the city web page on residential permit parking for instructions. Note that you will need your driver’s license showing your Lincoln Avenue address, your current vehicle insurance card, and the make, model, year, color and license plate number for the vehicle. There are alternatives if any of these present a problem for you, see the instructions or call traffic operations at 651-266-9777 for details. Permits cost $10 per vehicle.
Area 21 will soon get its new permit parking signs. Monica Beeman confirmed that the traffic sign folks already have our new signs in production and hope to get them up before St. Thomas begins the Fall term on 5 September. Of course, there are many priorities for the staff, from the state fair to other projects downtown, so it could be they miss that target date, but Monica is certain the new signs will be here soon.
For those of us who live on the eastern two thirds of Lincoln Avenue between Cleveland and Prior, this means we need to purchase a parking permit soon. Our addresses are already listed as part of the Area 21 parking permit zone, so we can pick those permits up any time. Please see the city web page on residential permit parking for instructions. Note that you will need your driver’s license showing your Lincoln Avenue address, your current vehicle insurance card, and the make, model, year, color and license plate number for the vehicle. There are alternatives if any of these present a problem for you, see the instructions or call traffic operations at 651-266-9777 for details. Permits cost $10 per vehicle and they will be valid though August 2013.
A number of neighbors stood up tonight in support of the Area 21 parking permit changes. This was important, since a number also rose to oppose the change. Thanks to everyone who wrote emails and spoke up, your voice was critical. In fact, the petition only barely passed, on a 4-3 vote of the council. Russ Stark supported the petition and Chris Tolbert opposed it.
The next step for the neighborhood is the RSVP construction. We don’t expect to see signs for the new permit until after that construction is complete, some time in the fall of this year.
This is it! City Council holds its hearing on the Area 21 parking permit petition this week, on Wednesday 3/21. The hearing will be at 5:30 in the basement (Room 40 A & B) of City Hall (15 Kellogg Blvd). Please join your neighbors in support of the petition one last time.
Whether or not you can be at the City Council meeting on Wednesday, please consider writing to members of the council. I’ve prepared a list of their addresses (PDF), that includes their email addresses since snail mail probably won’t arrive before the meeting. Phone numbers are also on the list if you wish to give them a call. It is most critical to communicate with Russ Stark (who represents those of us on Lincoln west of Prior) and Chris Tolbert (who represents residents of Lincoln east of Prior), but we need support from everyone for the petition to be passed. Please let them know why you support the changes and extension of the Area 21 permit, give them a sense of who lives in the neighborhood and why this is important to us.
We will only have a few minutes to make our case on Wednesday, so we should really coordinate the message we want to get across. If you can join me tomorrow evening, Tuesday 3/20 at 7pm, 1993 Lincoln Avenue, that would be very helpful. I’d like to talk over testimony, make sure we cover all the bases.
The Macalester Groveland Community Council Board approved the resolution of its Transportation Committee to support our Area 21 parking petition in its journey to the Saint Paul City Council. As has been the case at each hearing so far, opponents of the petition did show up, but they were all from residences outside the petition area.
The board more or less felt it was their duty to pass along our petition since we’d done everything we were asked to do and were following a clearly laid out process. Some members of the board expressed sympathy for those who don’t believe parking permits are an appropriate tool for those living in the city, but only one board member ended up actually voting against the resolution.
Next stop: City Hall.
We expect the petition to be heard at the March 21 meeting of the council. Public comment starts at 5:30 in the Council Chambers, Room 300 at City Hall, 15 Kellogg Blvd. W. This is the final step of the process and we will definitely need all the advocates we can get at this meeting.
Jane McClure writes in the Highland Villager: “Concerns raised over changing permit parking area near St. Thomas.” (Wednesday, 8 February 2012, page 12, is anyone else as annoyed as I am that the Villager is not online?)
The article covers the 1/23 MGCC Transportation Committee meeting. She quotes several neighbors, misspelling names along the way:
“Permit parking is not popular,” said Eric Hess, who lives in the area of Lincoln that does not have permit parking now. “People would love to have the street back in the evenings and not have to use visitor passes.”
“We’d like summers off,” said Lincoln Avenue resident Kristine Anderson.
McClure also covered the opposition to changes in Area 21 parking:
“What we’re concerned about is that we’re taking one block’s problem and pushing it onto another,” [Lenny Russo] said.
The article notes that the full MGCC board will be voting on the Area 21 parking permit request tomorrow evening, February 9, during their 6:45pm meeting at the Edgecumbe Rec Center. Neighbors concerned about the issue should consider attending to make sure the board hears from all sides of the issue.
It turns out the that code change that brought us the 75% threshold for successful partitions also brought a few other changes. While we were grandfathered in to the 60% threshold due to when our petition began, one other change will slow our petition process down a bit. The city is now required to give 30 days notice of hearings on parking permit changes instead of 10 days notice. This means that we cannot have our hearing in February, and instead are now aiming for the Saint Paul City Council meeting on the evening of Wednesday 3/21. I’ll share more details as that date nears.
Another change is that notice must be sent not just to the petition area, but also to anyone living within 350 feet of the petition area. If our MGCC experience is any guide, we can anticipate those opposing the petition will show up to make their case. We will have to, again, be sure that strong advocate are present and testify to city council.
After a very vigorous citizen discussion, the MGCC Transportation Committee voted unanimously to recommend that City Council approve the Area 21 parking permit changes, including the expansion on Lincoln to Prior. Our next target for advocacy will likely be the 2/15 meeting of City Council, I’ll keep you posted.
Thank you to everyone who showed up to speak for the permit and lend your support. It really helped.
Even though we gathered more than the 60% support for changes to the Area 21 parking permits, the Mac-Groveland Community Council’s Transportation Committee refused to support our petition in December. Instead, it will be brought up again at their meeting tomorrow (Monday, 1/23) at 6:30pm, at the Edgcumbe Rec Center. We really need as many advocates for this permit as possible to join us at this meeting!
In December some vocal neighbors from Lincoln between Prior and Howell complained that the transportation committee would only be nudging the St. Thomas parking problem eastward by supporting permit parking on Lincoln between Cleveland and Prior. This may be the case, but we are following the process the committee laid out for us at their January 2011 meeting. We were offered no resolution for St. Thomas parking issues by either St. Thomas or the city except this permit process. Now is the time to turn out to advocate for the parking permits!