Item #2 on the list of parking recommendations stated:
Reducing parking time limits for some parking to create pick-up/drop-off spaces: City Council and Staff are ready to begin an “experiment” with 15 minute pick-up/drop-off spaces and City Engineering, in consultation with the Police Department, has developed a map of 13 proposed locations.
Here is the map from Public Works Director/City Engineer Joe Stapf that shows the locations of what he believes are the most appropriate locations for short-duration (15 minute) parking spaces: Quality Bakery, The HideAway, Dufours Cleaners, Northfield Public Library, Cocoa Bean, Goodbye Blue Monday Coffeehouse, Basil’s Pizza.
Joe also wrote via email:
An option might be to use the temporary signs we made up for use in front of Dufours Cleaners for use during the 6th Street Project. By using these temporary signs, we could experiment with the locations, and the merchants could also assess the desirability of the 15 minute spaces—just a thought.
Ross Currier has made the rounds to the downtown businesses and organizations closest to these proposed short-duration parking spots to let them know about the experiment.
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‘Over Hill, ‘long with Dale, We did Hit that Dusty Trail… actually, in some places, the trail, or lane, was conceptual.
A couple weeks ago, the Northfield News reported that the results of the NDDC’s Parking Conversation did not include recommendations for items #5 and #8, the two items related to bicycles. Actually there were recommendations for those two items, they’re just fruit that’s not quite ripe.
For item #5, the recommendation was share "rules of the road" with all modes of transportation through collaboration with local groups, a community initiative with great potential for a variety of private-public partnerships in this collaboration.
For item #8, the recommendations were: 1) implement adopted policies for lanes, routes, and trails, 2) integrate new projects into the existing network, and 3) reduce barriers to bicycle/pedestrian access and circulation throughout the network.
I wanted to continue the momentum on item #8, so I took a tour of the northwest quadrant of Northfield with renowned local trail guide and almost-famous bicycle explorer Dale Gehring. He showed me the existing network, and the planned connections, in that area. He also showed me some really cool parts of Northfield.
We’ve heard from bicycle commuters in the northwest that the area is not well-connected to the rest of Northfield. I learned from riding with Dale that there are some sites in the northwest that many Northfielders would enjoy seeing.
That’s what item #8 is all about, completing the pieces, and making the connections, to bring the various parts, and people, of Northfield, closer together.
Maybe next week Dale and I will explore the southeast quadrant.
#3 on the list of Parking Management Recommendations that were presented to the City Council last week states:
Reviewing and upgrading directional and way-finding signs to public parking: City Staff has conducted an inventory from the entrances to the community to the public parking locations and identified signage enhancement opportunities, stressing consistency in internationally-recognized symbols.
Public Works Director/City Engineer Joe Stapf sent us this PDF map, showing the proposed locations for the public parking directional and way-finding signs.
The first half hour or so of Tuesday’s Northfield City Council work session was devoted to the downtown parking recommendations. Here’s the video. For the entire video of the work session, see this KYMN Radio blog post.
We’ve used the phrase ‘low-hanging fruit’ to describe some of the recommended actionable steps for better managing downtown parking. Here’s one that’s been done already that’s so low-hanging that it didn’t make the official list.
Ross Currier and I noticed earlier this year that the faded striping in the Washington St. parking lot (between 4th and 5th streets) was contributing to some haphazard parking and therefore inefficient use of parking spaces.
Ross brought it to the attention of Director of Public Works/City Engineer Joe Stapf and last week, the lot was restriped. Joe wrote via email:
… we have restriped the big lot off Washington, and used yellow paint to differentiate between the two different sets of white parking space markings which were reported to be causing confusion.
I drove through the lot today, and it seems to be doing the job. When we seal coat this lot next year, we will restripe it, and use the more conventional white.
The two recommendations in the final parking report for which there are not brief, simple sentences are related to bicycles. These recommendations, numbers 5 and 8, are longer term and more complex.
Many of us associated with the NDDC believe that bicycles will become a larger and more important piece of our community’s transportation system. We therefore believe that Northfield should start working now on these longer term and more complex recommendations.
Bicyclists and anyone else should review recommendations 5 and 8 and think about ideas for these initiatives and/or projects. Then, please consider attending the 8/13 Council work session or contacting a Councilor or two over the next week.
We believe that it is important to encourage the Council to keep working for better bicycle transportation in Northfield as we address parking in downtown.
Here is the "Final Final Final" list of recommendations for increasing leverage from existing parking in downtown Northfield. It is included in the Council Packet for next Tuesday’s (8/13) Work Session. The meeting will be held at 7:00 p.m. at City Hall.
The NDDC received much encouragement from the City Council and City Staff to hone the recommendations to, essentially, one sentence action steps. Hopefully you will notice that we succeeded for six of the eight recommendations.
Northfield Downtown Development Corporation
Parking Management Recommendations from The Conversation
Submitted June 12th, 2013; Highlighted June 24th, 2013; Focused July 25th
- Increasing enforcement and maintaining markings of existing parking regulations: City Staff has already begun enforcing duration and location regulations and improving paint and signage of existing parking spaces.
- Reducing parking time limits for some parking to create pick-up/drop-off spaces: City Council and Staff are ready to begin an “experiment” with15 minute pick-up/drop-off spaces and City Engineering, in consultation with the Police Department, has developed a map of 13 proposed locations.
- Reviewing and upgrading directional and way-finding signs to public parking: City Staff has conducted an inventory from the entrances to the community to the public parking locations and identified signage enhancement opportunities, stressing consistency in internationally-recognized symbols.
- Providing parking which “safely accommodate[s] users of all ages and abilities” (Northfield Complete Streets Policy); parking near popular destinations should reflect the abilities of those most likely to use it: City Staff is considering possible locations and specifications for this type of parking.
- Supporting community-wide education initiatives as recommended by the 2008 Non-motorized Transportation Task Force Report for sharing the “rules of the road” with all modes of transportation by collaborating with schools, local government, police, non-profits and for-profits utilizing multiple media and events.
- Reducing speeds and/or improving design safety on key downtown corridors of Highway 3 and Division Street: The City will formally engage the State regarding the 3rd Street intersection of Highway 3. City Staff has begun exploring the 3rd Street and 6th Street intersections of Division Street.
- Tailoring parking regulations and locations for different parking purposes including employees, short trips, and out-of-town visitors. Council adopts policy with input from stakeholders including the Chamber, the CVB, the EDA, the NDDC, and programmers.
- Improving bicycle and pedestrian accommodation to help reduce demand for automobile parking in accordance with the Comprehensive Plan by (a) continuing to implement adopted policies including bike lanes, routes and trails (identified in the Parks, Open Space and Trail Plan), (b) integrating new projects such as the TIGER Trail at entrances to the downtown, and (c) reducing barriers to bicycle/pedestrian access and circulation downtown by broadly considering possible longer term or larger scale improvements.
The Council Parking Subcommittee met on Wednesday, July 31st, to prepare for the August 13th Northfield City Council Work Session. The meeting opened with a discussion of Verne Gagne, Gene Kiniski, Bill Miller, The Crusher, Fritz Von Erich, Mad Dog Vachon, Dick the Bruiser, and Dr. X. After considering professional wrestling from the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, the issues of downtown parking seemed much less fearsome.
The group, which consisted of City Councilor David DeLong, NDDC folks Jerry Bilek, Keith Covey, and me, City of Northfield folks Community Planning and Development Director Chris Heineman, Interim Police Chief Chuck Walerius, and Public Works Director/City Engineer Joe Stapf, and citizen engagement consultant Griff Wigley, reviewed the list of recommendations to the City Council resulting from the Downtown Parking Conversation conducted earlier this year. (PDF)
The group decided to separate the “low-hanging fruit” into items that were relatively immediately actionable and items that required more exploration by stakeholders and/or more discussion by the City Councilors. All present seemed to agree that this approach would lead to more efficient and effective implementation.
The notes from this categorization process will be circulated within the group. The final version will be included in the Council packet for the August 13th Work Session, which should be available on the City Council’s web page at the end of this week.
Throughout the life of this project, we’ve posted updates to this blog and alerted people to them via our RSS Feed, the @Nfld_parking Twitter feed, and our email subscription option.
On our right sidebar, we’ve kept a running tally of current/upcoming/expired engagement activities. As of this week, it looks like this:
We’ve also regularly linked to these updates via posts and online discussion comments on Northfield.org (here), Northfield News (most recently here), Locally Grown Northfield (here), and LoGro Facebook (recent example here).
On June 18th, the NDDC got an opportunity to present the findings of the parking Conversation, along with some specific recommendations, to the City Council. The Council demonstrated impressive knowledge of the recommendations and particular interest in specific ideas. They directed the NDDC to return to a future Council meeting with the most actionable items, or "low-hanging fruit."