The District 1 Community Council supports efforts to bring transportation dollars to our corner of the East Side! The proposed bike facilities on Upper Afton are one step in the effort to give people choices in how they get around, and are the result of a lengthy community process.
Beginning in 2011, we convened a neighborhood task force to work on a transportation plan for the district. This task force was made up of a diverse group of people with very divergent interests who spent the next 2 ½ years talking with and surveying neighbors about their transportation concerns. We held many public meetings, published surveys and results in the newspaper, and talked with literally hundreds of residents. The result of this process was our first-in-the-city neighborhood transportation plan, dealing with cars and parking, bicycles and pedestrians, commercial transportation, and transit. It laid out our neighborhood goals for assuring that we are well-connected to the rest of the city through whatever means of transportation each of us chooses. Building streets that meet everyone’s needs is vital.
Bringing bicycle connections to this part of town has been a top priority of our planning process for a variety of reasons: 1) to assure that the East Side receives its fair share of tax funds towards public improvements – to date the vast majority of these bicycle improvements have been on the western side of town; 2) to help in slowing traffic along key streets in the district and increasing safety for everyone as a result – our number one complaint from people is the speed of cars on neighborhood streets; 3) to provide neighborhood children a safe way to get to parks and rec centers; 4) to increase the number of eyes on the street to prevent crime – more bicyclists traveling slowly mean they are seeing what is happening all along their routes; 5) to provide transportation options for residents, particularly youth and low income residents without access to cars; 6) to increase opportunities for incorporating healthy activities in people’s daily lives; and 7) to assure that people who want to get to places all over the city of Saint Paul, without resorting to driving, can do so safely.
The District 1 Community Council has been involved in planning many transportation projects for our neighborhoods and the East Side – from dealing with park-and-ride and rail traffic problems, to Gateway and Red Rock Corridor transit planning, to mapping out bicycle routes that make sense for people, to putting in sidewalks and lighting for pedestrians. We welcome this opportunity to help plan for a significant east-west bicycle connection for the East Side, and to implement important traffic calming along this vital neighborhood street.
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