October 14, 2014 Minutes

West Calhoun Neighborhood Council Meeting Minutes
October 14, 2014 – 5:30 p.m., The Bakken Museum, 3537 Zenith Ave. S.

Board Members:  Kathy Cobb, Ian Kees, Katie Larson, Richard Logan, Haydee Peterson, David Rhees, John Abraham-Watne.  Staff:  Rhea Sullivan.  Also present: Rodgers Adams, Sophia Ginis, Ray Hoover, Bonnie Kiley, Allen Klugman, Ryan Kronzer, Carol Logan, Paul Miller, Council Member Linea Palmisano, Karri Pearce Ruch, Jeff Peltola, Doug Peterson, Brian Schaffer, Barbara Schmiecheu, Dan Schmiecheu, Aaron Shaffer, Katie Walker, Peter Winchell, Emily Ziring

Treasurer’s Report:  John Abraham-Watne reported no activity in the NRP account.  The balance is $607.93. The NCEC balance is $14,105.84.   

Secretary’s Report:  The minutes of the July 8 meeting were approved as read.

Board appointment – Katie Larson:  Katie Larson introduced herself.  The board unanimously approved her appointment to the WCNC Board.  We now have 9 board members.

School Board Forum October 20:  Rhea Sullivan reported that Kingfield Neighborhood Association, in partnership with a number of other Area C neighborhood associations, will be hosting an At-Large School Board Candidate Forum on October 20.  We have been invited to help sponsor it and promote it.  The board voted to approve up to $150 for the forum.

October 28 Board Retreat:  The Board will be having its annual retreat at the Minikahda Club on Tuesday, October 28 from 5-9 p.m.  We will be having chili, corn bread and a salad for dinner.  Everyone will pay for his/her own dinner.

Open Forum:  Richard Logan thanked John Abraham-Watne for his writings on relevant topics.

SW LRT West Lake Station Presentation:  Sophia Ginis gave a brief project overview.  The timeline for development was outlined, with Engineering, SDEIS, and FINAL EIS from 2014-15; the Full Funding Grant Agreement should be in place by 2016.  Heavy construction will take place between 2016 and 2018 and passenger operations will begin in 2019.  Sophia gave an overview of the West Lake Station at 30% design.  

Paul Miller explained that one of the changes in design is to realign Abbott/Chowen to create West 31st Street.  Other changes include new and enhanced pedestrian connections, which will mean adding sidewalks.  At Market Plaza there may be changes to the pedestrian crosswalks and possibly the signal.  They will add an interior retaining wall to the sidewalks on the bridge.  There will also be an area-wide traffic study.

Ryan Kronzer spoke about development.  He said that it is one year to 100% design.  It will include station design, streetscape design, public art, Kenilworth Corridor landscape design and design advancement on LRT track features, roadway and train details, OMF features, bridges and tunnels, Park and Ride facilities, systems elements and freight rail features.  Ryan reviewed the characteristics of the West Lake Station.  It is in a narrow, tree-lined corridor; it’s adjacent to dense multi-family and commercial uses and adjacent development is anticipated.  Hennepin County Community Works characterizes the area as an Urban Village, Green Corridor, Recreation & Environment, Heritage, Arts and Culture; and Transit and Trail Feeders.

There will be vertical circulation (using stairs and elevators) from the Lake Street bridge to access the station. There will be bus connections on the Lake Street bridge and on the new West 31st Street.  

Projects with community involvement through the Southwest Project Office will include Station Design (Winter 2014/15 – Fall 2015), Kenilworth Landscaping Design (Spring 2015 – Summer 2015) and Public Art (Spring 2015 – Fall 2015).  Projects with community involvement through the City of Minneapolis include the Multi-Modal Traffic Study which will be conducted by the Traffic Department and Existing Development Guidance with CPED and Hennepin County.

One outcome of the mediated settlement is the Multi-Modal Traffic Study. Allan Klugman spoke about the study.  The study will be a partnership between the City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, the Met Council and the Park Board.  The time frame that will be looked at will be the day of opening and 20-30 years out (long range planning).  The elements of the study will include enhancing safety for pedestrians, bikes, cars, buses and the LRT. It will build on studies that have already been done. The goal will be safety in circulation and connections into and out of the area.

An engineering/planning firm will be hired.  There will be public outreach involved.  It’s a 6-month study. They still need to define the scope and the budget.  They plan to start early next year to encompass Spring/Summer and get done by Fall 2015.

Brian Schaffer from CPED reviewed the Midtown Greenway Land Use and Development Plan that was created in 2007. It provides some existing land use and development guidance.  They also did case studies, including Lake Street and Calhoun/Calhoun Village.  The redevelopment of Calhoun Village was a scenario that fit the land use plan.  In terms of involvement, new development will come to the neighborhood which will require a public hearing with City planning.  We may need a pedestrian overlay for this area.  The overlay puts higher design controls on buildings and encourages affordable housing.

Sophia Ginis encouraged us to invite folks from the Southwest Project Office to our events.  For example, they attended the CIDNA Fall Festival.  We had planned to have the SW LRT bus at Movie Night.  She said we could organize a station area walkabout this fall.  

Council Member Palmisano said she is thinking of forming a joint steering committee to make sure that policy makers take ownership of the traffic study.  It would include Park Board involvement as well as 1-2 members from the community.  Business owners will be included.  The goal is to make the area safe, more welcoming and clearly defined.  

There will be an extensive public process for bus routing two years before the station opens.  The 21 and 17 will stay on the bridge and would stop at the vertical circulation point to connect with the LRT.  New routes include the 601, 602 and 612.

The current plan does accommodate a tie in with Midtown rail.  

Richard Logan asked what proposals from the community will be allowed?  What about covering the sidewalk?  

There will be a fence/crash wall between the freight rail and the LRT tracks.  There will also be a fence between the rail and the community.  This will make it difficult for the people in the condos to access the Greenway. Kathy Cobb asked if there could be a pedestrian bridge over the rail.  It is not in the base project.

Council Member Palmisano said that we have made some improvements.  She wants to get on the state legislative agenda regarding changing the speed limits to 25 mph and also reinstating traffic cameras for corridors with multi-modal transit.

The $30 million allocation that was made in the mediation has already been allocated.  

Ian Kees requested that when there are opportunities for us to be involved to please let us know.

Next meeting:  Our next meeting will be Tuesday, November 11, 2014.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:00 p.m.