In St. Paul's Lowertown, move to widen sidewalk is afoot

  • Article by: KEVIN DUCHSCHERE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 23, 2013 - 9:41 PM

The plan would allow more outdoor dining, but some fear a parking crunch in the district.

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youhavetobekiddingmeJan. 24, 13 1:47 AM

Bad idea. Changing that much infrastructure to benefit businesses for "4 months"per year" with a public subsidy? I would think the benefits of on street parking the other 8 months would be more important to year around sustainability. Sidewalks belong to the public not business owners. Eagle Street Grill is the perfect example of what is wrong with allowing private use of a public sidewalk on event days at Excel Center. Thousands of people leaving the Excel have to squeeze onto 2.5' of sidewalk left over from their sidewalk seating (that's generous when you factor in their umbrellas hanging out over that 2.5').

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spectre000Jan. 24, 13 9:04 AM

The property owners are paying for the sidewalk expansion, not the public.

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littlebootsJan. 24, 13 9:44 AM

Do it! The city needs to think big and outside the box. Saint Paul needs it's downtown back, a place people live and go to fo no other reason than it's our downtown, a place with businesses, shops, cafes, theaters, boutiques. Any lost revenue would more than be made up by taxes from new businesses that would flock to a cool new area.

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ephrakerJan. 24, 13 9:58 AM

It is not a public subsidy which is clearly spelled out in the story. The businesses, which are heavily taxed, will pay for the entire assessment. The more these businesses earn, the more tax revenue they generate. With a tax rate of 7.625%, any negated parking fees will be quickly covered. The dining enhancements are a benefit to the patrons and makes the area more livable and vibrant. It seems as if the city is willing to negotiate on the use of the bus/bike lanes which would should ease concerns about parking. Go for it!

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hardrainJan. 24, 13 9:59 AM

Fine with me - on street parking can go away for one block. I just have one question though. a "bus and bike" lane? Talk about incompatible mixtures... I'd be better off with the cars.

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tbobesJan. 24, 1310:10 AM

As a Lowertown resident I think this would be great. It's funded by the businesses and not the city, so even better. There is a parking garage on that same street not even a block away, I don't see what the problem is.

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jamgraJan. 24, 1310:18 AM

Put some parking ramps underground.

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mattaudioJan. 24, 1310:50 AM

If people think that parking is the issue, it shows that we're currently not doing parking right. We just need to follow Donald Shoup's thoughts from "The High Cost of Free Parking." The parking revenues from meters should be going to the neighborhood to create a better streetscape and sense of place, not city coffers where it becomes politicized. Secondly, it should be dynamically priced in a way that always makes sure a spot is open on a block, but with most spots filled. This is a way to price parking based on principle, and applied by the market price of car storage. Assuming this, losing 22 spaces or whatever won't matter because it will increase the equilibrium price of street parking on adjacent blocks.

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littlebootsJan. 24, 1312:28 PM

Cars and parking of course but how about bikes and more cycling in Saint Paul? Saint Paul needs to look to cool other cities like Minneapolis, Portland and Seattle and see why they have fun bustling downtowns packed with businesses (more tax base) and great nightlife etc. Saint Paul needs to get with the times and really quick lest it falls further and further behind as people continue to flee (the city is shrinking) for more cosmopolitan thriving places, which sadly downtown Saint Paul is not.

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mattaudioJan. 24, 1312:32 PM

littleboots have you looked at census maps? Lowertown's gains offset large population losses in other areas of the city. The city would be shrinking more if not for Lowertown. Same goes for Mpls, where downtown/north loop offset population losses on the north side.

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