We’re hosting a live video conference today, May 6, at 5 pm to discuss the DRAFT “final” report on the Downtown Parking Conversation. The draft is on the agenda for the City Council work session on Tuesday, May 14th.
Panelists confirmed thus far:
We’ll be using Google+ Hangout Air for the video conference, embedded right here on the downtown parking conversation blog. If you’re unable to attend the live conference, I’ll have it archived here for you shortly after it’s over.
There are three ways for you to participate in this event:
- We’ll be using an online text chat feature so that anyone can submit questions for the panel during the video conference.
- You can submit questions for the panel ahead of time by either attaching a comment to this blog post, or by using the Contact Us form
- After the panel is over, we’ll continue the discussion via blog comment thread till Friday, May 10, possibly later.
Got questions or suggestions? Attach a comment or contact me.
Update 4:30 pm:
Unfortunately, some panelists has to cancel this afternoon at the last minute so we’re canceling the video conference for today and will have an update soon on when it’ll be rescheduled.
My apologies for the hassle. Enjoy the gorgeous spring weather!
Here is our DRAFT "final" report on the Downtown Parking Conversation. I’ve also sent it out via email to all of the participants in the stakeholder gatherings for feedback before formal submission to the City Council.
We have attempted to highlight and prioritize the ideas/recommendations from a wide variety of stakeholders/users.
Please note that the raw "data" of ideas is included as an appendix. We are particularly interested in hearing if we have not adequately raised the visibility of key ideas.
Please share your feedback on the report with us by Friday, May 3rd. We will do our best to incorporate what we hear from you in the report presented to the Council.
You can submit feedback, ask questions, and engage in discussion via the comment thread attached to this blog post. You can also use the form on the Contact Us page.
Also, our online coordinator Griff Wigley will soon have an announcement about a panel discussion via live video conference early next week, so watch for that.
We held a parking management plan meeting on April 3. NDDC Board Member Jerry Bilek and I were there representing the NDDC.
City staff included City Administrator Tim Madigan, Community Planning & Development Director Chris Heineman, and Public Works Director/City Engineer Joe Stapf.
City Councilors David DeLong and Jessica Peterson-White (members of the Council’s Downtown Parking Subcommittee) attended along with online citizen engagement consultant Griff Wigley.
After we discussed the 12/11/12 Council meeting decision to charge the NDDC with the Downtown Parking Study, the 12/17/12 meeting to fine-tune the assignment, and the 1/16/13 meeting to add specifics to the process, I summarized past meetings with stakeholder groups and identified upcoming stakeholder group meetings and suggested that the ideas shared by the various stakeholder groups be organized in three categories:
- Physical Projects
- Process Improvements
- Educational Initiatives and Macro Concepts
The Councilors asked if specific recommendations were emerging. I said that repeated ideas, or common themes, included enforcement of existing regulations, increasing the diversity of time limits, and reinforcing awareness of the regulations through increased education.
The Council members followed up with a question on the time limit recommendation and I highlighted the diversity of users and needs, including pick-ups and drop-offs, residents, overnight guests, library users, and program students. The goal is to more precisely meet the specific needs of different populations of parking users.
The Councilors suggested their particular interest in common ideas, “out-of-the-box” ideas, and the NDDC’s recommended ideas. The Councilors thought that instead of presenting the report at the end of April, that the report should be circulated among stakeholder participants and that the “team” (the NDDC, City staff, and Griff Wigley) work to generate feedback on the draft as well as any additional ideas.
I agreed to finalize a draft report for circulation after the final stakeholder meeting is held. City staff and Griff will collaborate to generate additional discussion.
In yesterday’s Northfield News, reporter Kaitlyn Walsh (@NFNKaitlyn) has an article titled Downtown Northfield parking conversation nears its end.
With the majority of key stakeholder groups consulted at face-to-face gatherings and various online forums, such as blog discussions and a straw poll, the Northfield Downtown Development Corporation will soon present its findings on how the city can deal with its current stock of spaces…
Another in-person gathering is in the works with those involved with visitor activities, such as the Northfield Arts Guild and the Defeat of Jesse James Days Committee, he said. Other stakeholder gatherings included building owners, bicycle and pedestrian commuters, business owners and residential neighbors.
Currier said that ideas seemed to fall into three categories: Physical projects, such as re-striping spaces; process improvements, including better enforcement of existing regulations; and education, which could mean distributing maps that show short- and long-term parking or boosting awareness of laws related to crosswalks.
A small (but influential!) group gathered at the Northfield Public Library last Thursday evening for a discussion of parking issues relevant to those who live in or near downtown. Ross Currier hosted the meeting and I was the designated photographer.
This was the 5th of several stakeholder group meetings that have been held since the project started. See all the stakeholder-related blog posts and see Ross’ Jan. 24 blog post, Planning for stakeholder input on downtown parking management.
The group generated a list of items they they’d like to see discussed. Here’s Ross’ post-meeting translation:
- Expected more parking disruptions than have experienced
- Sunday morning (church) busiest time
- Wonder about Premier Bank lot availability
- Increased enforcement of parking limits would help
- Workers who walk or ride impacted by weather
- Need a culture change about acceptable distance for parking
- Library’s short-term spaces taken by all-day parkers
- Library has no parking for late morning or afternoon programs (all taken)
- Parking is #1 complaint for library patrons
- City purchase of apartment building is a real opportunity for library
- Need parking for out-of-town visitors
- Visitors can help drive the economy
- Need better signage for public parking locations
- Downtown residents are really affected by parking regulations
- Parking regulations should be supportive of downtown residents
- Collaborate with Carleton on Division Street north of 2nd Street
- Try valet parking during big downtown events
- Library parking has been an issue for 28 years
- Library has programs that serve 40 people – there aren’t 40 free spaces
- Changing demographics impact parking needs
- Older people, toddlers find longer walks more challenging
- Need some dedicated library parking
- Try some “Library Parking Only” signs
- Use smart library cards for parking
- Three public lots at 3rd Street perfect for parking experiments
- Seniors look for parking and if they don’t see it they’ll drive away
At the direction of the Northfield City Council, and in collaboration with the staff of the City of Northfield, the Northfield Downtown Development Corp. (NDDC) has been conducting a Downtown Parking Conversation. The goal is to gather downtown stakeholders together and generate ideas for better use of our downtown parking resources.
The Council, City and NDDC want to hear the thoughts of the residents in the neighborhood near downtown. We’ve heard that downtown parking is part of many of these residents’ daily lives and that they may have some parking stories and ideas to share with us. It’s important that the downtown neighbors are part of the parking discussion.
The Residential Stakeholder Gathering will be Thursday, March 28th, 7:00 p.m., at the Northfield Public Library. Please, join us in the discussion of downtown parking. If you are unable to join us, but have thoughts and ideas that you’d like to share, stay tuned to this blog and we’ll have online ways for you to contribute.
Here’s Griff Wigley’s photo of me distributing invitation cards to residential addresses near downtown last week:
A group of 18 local business owners met in the Archer House conference room on Tuesday morning to discuss downtown parking issues. Ross Currier hosted the meeting was called upon to be the designated photographer as I had a family medical appointment in the Twin Cities.
This was the 4th of several stakeholder group meetings that have been held since the project started. See all the stakeholder-related blog posts and see Ross’ Jan. 24 blog post, Planning for stakeholder input on downtown parking management.
The group generated a list of items they they’d like to see discussed.
Ross will have the post-meeting translation written up early next week and I’ll post it here. Here’s Ross’ post-meeting translation:
- Customers and Residents Compete for Parking
- There are Both Short-Term vs. Long-Term Parking Needs
- Pick-Ups and Drop-Offs Need Very Short-Term Parking
- Both Residents and Workers are Important to the Economy
- Many Residents Don’t Have Dedicated Spots
- What are the Needs of Residents and Workers?
- People are Staying More Nights at the Archer House
- We Need Some Overnight Guest Parking on Division Street
- Residents (Rental) are a Steady Income Stream
- Pursue Private-Public Partnerships to Create More Parking
- Our Aging Population Impacts Parking
- Older People Don’t Want to Walk as Far
- Parking Terms (Long and Short) Might Benefit from Adjustment
- However, Enforcement is the Key
- Two Hours of Turnover in the Morning (Busier Some Places)
- One and a Half Hour “Rush” at Lunch
- One and a Half Hour “Rush” at Dinner
- Sometimes Several Hour “Rush” at Night
- Consider One-Way Streets and Diagonal Parking? No!
- Consider Returning Parking Meters? No!
- Study Edina Model – Who Paid for It?
- Build Additional Levels on Public Parking Lots
- Red Wing: Public Sector Support Private Sector with Parking
- Stillwater: How Do They Choose the Mix of Free and Pay Parking?
- Some Retailers Have More “Visitor” Customers on Weekends
- Paint “Customer” Label on Painted Stripes
- Add Some 30-Minute Parking Spaces
- Explore Area Wide Plan for Westside with MOM?
- Consider “Re-lining” Spaces for Better Use?
- Consider Bigger, Longer Plan for Parking in Downtown (More Money, More Parking)
- Explore Short-Term Plan with Premier Bank?
- Remember West Side of Highway 3
- Speed of Traffic on Hwy 3 Limits Economic Development
- Leverage EDA Resources for Parking
- Are There Opportunities on The Crossing Site?
- Can We Get More Economic Leverage from North Hwy 3?
- Economic Drivers (Commercial Property Taxes) Pay for Everything
The NDDC-City of Northfield collaborative downtown parking discussion continues. In coming weeks, additional important stakeholder groups will gather to share insights and ideas.
Next up is the downtown business owners’ stakeholder group. On Tuesday, March 19th, 8:00 a.m., the downtown business owners will gather at the Archer House to discuss downtown parking.
This is obviously a very important stakeholder group. We’re looking forward to hearing their observations and suggestions as part of the on-going downtown parking discussion.
A March 9 article in the StarTribune titled Downtown Stillwater without the lift bridge? Maybe better than ever? discusses what the city is doing to prepare for the day when Hwy. 36 commuter traffic no longer travels through downtown.
It might be interesting to follow those developments but in the meantime, I found this Stillwater downtown parking map on their website. It includes info on their parking lots (free parking, limited free parking, pay parking, permit parking) and their parking ramp. In addition, the map has this:
- Posted time limits will be enforced year round
- Stillwater is a handicap friendly city with 31 designated spots. All city owned lots have handicapped parking.
- All on street parking is three hour limit unless otherwise designated. Posted time limits will be enforced year round.
Downtown Stillwater is different from downtown Northfield, of course, but might there be something we can learn from what’s working and not working there?
For the next week (and maybe longer), we’ve got three focused blog discussion threads active here. Although each one addresses the concerns of the particular stakeholder group, the discussions are open to all: