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August 6, 2010

Agenda

  1. Call to Order and Minutes;
  2. Discuss Designated Motorcycle Parking;
  3. Review 8th Street On-Street Parking Reconfiguration;
  4. Discuss Complete Streets (Justin Kristan, MetroCOG);
  5. Reminder: Streets Alive Event Is August 29;
  6. Review Facility Improvements;
  7. Update on NP Avenue and 1st Avenue Corridor Study;
  8. Operator's Report; and
  9. Other Issues.

Minutes

Chairperson Commissioner Williams called the meeting to order. Ms. Walvatne moved to approve the minutes of the June 4, 2010 meeting and Ms. Bailly seconded the motion. All members present voted aye and the motion was declared carried. Ms. Walvatne moved to approve the March 5, 2010 minutes and Ms. Bailly seconded the motion. All members present voted aye and the motion was declared carried.

Discuss Designated Motorcycle Parking
Mr. Stein stated that the motorcycle-only parking had been removed about a year earlier at the request of some neighboring property owners. He noted that Mr. Engen had requested that the Commission address that removal formally but Mr. Stein suggested that they wait to do so until Mr. Engen could be present.

Review 8th Street On-Street Parking Configuration
Mr. Stein reviewed the block of 8th Street South between Main Avenue and 1st Avenue South. He stated that Jeremy Gordon with the Engineering Department had agreed that the block could be changed to allow diagonal parking on the west side. Mr. Stein noted that it would nearly double the available parking on the block. Ms. Bailly moved to change to diagonal parking on the west side of that block and Ms. Walvatne seconded the motion. All members present voted aye and the motion was declared carried. The Commission discussed how the eleven-foot lanes would work with fire department equipment.

Discuss Complete Streets
Justin Kristan presented the Regional Complete Streets Policy Statement that the Metropolitan Council of Governments (MetroCOG) had been composing. He reviewed the intent to include pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicular traffic and pointed out that that there was a web site where more information could be found. He explained that part of street planning was looking at how surrounding land uses would affect non-vehicle traffic in an area. He noted that the approach was contextual rather than a blanket prescription for every roadway. He explained how the draft would be reviewed and that, after approval, it would be supplied to local governments for guidance in street planning and renovations. He noted that some of this planning was already occurring. Commissioner Williams noted that the NP Avenue and 1st Avenue North corridor study was interested in the complete streets concept. He stated that the most recent meeting for affected property owners had been poorly attended and noted that the last public input meeting would be held September 14, 2010 at the main branch of the public library.

Mr. Kristan noted that one of the things included in the plan was a set of suggestions for relieving
congestion without completely remodeling streets. He stated that MetroCOG would use the complete streets policy in classifying streets in reviewing applications from local government for federal funding  of roadway projects. Mr. Stein noted that the Main Avenue corridor would be due to be rebuilt in a few years and asked how the state had been reacting to the complete streets approach. Mr. Kristan responded that he had not had dialogue with the state but agreed that it would be critical.

Commissioner Williams noted that the Department of Transportation had placed a moratorium on expanding interstates to require communities to make the most of their existing infrastructure. Mr. Kristan noted that a complete streets law had been passed in Minnesota in July, 2010 and that where roads connect with those in Minnesota it would be important to watch how the law affected these connections.

Reminder: Streets Alive! Event
Ms. Schulz distributed brochures for the Streets Alive! event that included a map of the streets that would be closed. She reviewed the route and the events included throughout the route. She explained many of the events including a range of ages and family-oriented activities. She noted that the Fargo Marathon had brought the community together but that not everyone wanted to be competitive in their exercising so the hope was that even more of the metro area involved. Ms. Bailly asked if other cities had done this sort of event and Ms. Schultz reviewed the history of the event and the request from the World Health Organization that 1,000 cities in the United States hold such an event this year.

Review Facility Improvements
Ms. Citrowske reviewed some of the improvements made with the Department of Energy grants, including the underground ramp at the Ground Transportation Center and the use of permeable pavers and garden plots at the 3rd Avenue lot. Mr. Stein stated that some of the nearby restaurants  had expressed an interest in having an herb garden in one of those plots. He noted that he had received some questions about doing square foot gardening on one or both of the remaining spaces. He stated they would be working with the architect to intercept water from the roof drains from US Bank to provide irrigation for the garden plots and pointed out the pedestal for a sculpture to be determined. He noted that Mr. Rogne had designed a way to use some of the flower hangers that had been removed from Broadway. Ms. Citrowske pointed out that the landscaping had been filled in along 2nd Avenue North between 4th and 5th Streets.

Update on the NP Avenue and 1st Avenue North Corridor Study
Commissioner Williams stated the next public meeting is scheduled for Thursday, September 30 at the downtown library from 5-7 p.m. and noted that input could be sent to Jeremy Gordon at any time before then as well.

Operator’s Report
Mr. Rogne reviewed the parking lot activity in July, 2010. He noted that there had been some big events and that everything had gone smoothly. He stated that Sanford had begun to move people into
the Island Park Ramp (IPR) and students were beginning to return to town and were looking for parking spots as well. He noted that new lights were being installed in the IPR.

Other Business
Michael Hahn, the new Downtown Community Partnership (DCP) director, introduced himself and reviewed his history of small business and downtown development. The Commission discussed sustainability, different ways of moving traffic, and riverfront development with Mr. Hahn.

Mr. Stein noted that the sign code had been amended and approved by the Planning Commission and would go to the City Commission next. He stated the current draft allowed both Electronic Messaging Centers (EMCs) and portable signs in Downtown Mixed Use (DMU) zoning. Commissioner Williams stated the new code would be a work in progress but that it was a step toward matching the codes of the metropolitan area. Mr. Stein stated that he would prefer not to see them in the DMU district. The Commission reviewed the difference between sidewalk marketing and portable signs.

Mr. Stein reviewed some car sharing programs and stated he would like to work with Mr. Lynch to explore bringing one of them to Fargo. He noted that Sanford employees travelling between Sioux Falls and Fargo may also be interested in such a program. He stated that the bike corral by the front door of the CityScapes building in 1st Avenue North would be placed within a month. There being no further business to come before the Commission, the meeting was adjourned.