Saturday, September 3, 2016

Streets, Tunnels, Cars and Bikes in the Sinex Plan

At a recent City Council meeting Sharon Bushor asked the Mayor what assurances he could give to contradict the concerns the public has about the viability of the promised streets in the Sinex proposal. Many have wondered how full streets were possible given the grade of one of the streets and the building that seems to be an obstacle to safe driving. CLC also had discovered a letter from the developer's own consultant noting that one of the streets could not be built as a full street because of the grade. Much analysis and much discussion has ensued.

What did the mayor have to say to Sharon Bushor's question on behalf of the concerned public? Basically only that they had a committee working toward attempting to make the streets complete streets and that they would have a report on it in a few weeks, many months after having promised that these streets were part of the sweet deal we would be getting. What if the committee says it is impossible, but the zoning change sold on the basis of this great boon has already been passed?

Charles Simpson reports from the NPA meeting last night:

After saying the streets will be full-service and city-owned, Sinex conceded that they "won't be perfect" in that they won't line up with existing streets and he can't get a fire truck under the Free Press building given clearances unless he lowers the ramp, but that would increase grade--he didn't say beyond ADA but that was the implication--and destroy any at-grade connection to Macy's. They'd need steps. Hence an ADA violation there. "They aren't happy" he said, but suggested that he wouldn't be doing this unless they [Macy's] closed, which he suggested was always a possibility but said he had no specific information. Just that the chain is in trouble. He asserted no more than a 4.5 degree grade on his streets and the Free Press building underpass was 12 feet. You need a margin of error for trucks and buses. Thus it seems we won't have full-service streets. It is likely that 160 plus feet of building will need a new, larger fire truck which won't be able to access Pine Street. Sounds like something no one would approve.

Later in the day, our special twitter correspondent, Tony Redington, reported:

So, the tunnel is in--and maybe will be deeper than now (9% grade now from bottom to Cherry St.). 

Second, as B. calculated and discussed with us this morning the 7.9% "grade" on the 2016 plans for public use at P&Z equal the "degrees" (different form of measurement of grade) of 1.2 percent (not sure of the number--but well below 5% "grade" which is the maximum allowed by rules for persons with a handicap).

Forget the numbers, St. Paul cannot be traversed by those with a handicap based on grades and from Bank Street to Mall concourse entrance is also inaccessible to those with a handicap because of the 12% grade I measured off the plans. 

Also, no provision for bicycle use for either street feasible to the bicycle population at large.  

Do not be confused, we continue to get mixed, changing messages regarding the two streets connect.  Our CLC analysis works off the plans that are at Planning and Zoning--unless they are specifically  changed there by some "change" message will consider those plans and our analysis as accurate.  

In recent discussions with those in the bicycle community, lack of bicycle facilities on each street re-connect is a total fatal defect in the Sinex design.   $250 million and no provision for bicycle transportation facility on either street connect. 



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