March 11, 2014 Minutes

West Calhoun Neighborhood Council Board Meeting Minutes
March 11, 2014 – 5:30 p.m., The Bakken Museum, 3537 Zenith Ave. S.

Board Members:  John Abraham-Watne, Kathy Cobb, Ian Kees, Haydee Peterson, David Rhees.  Staff:  Rhea Sullivan.  Also present: Jennifer Mutschler, Bonnie Kiley, Rodgers Adams, Aaron Shaffer, Emily Ziring, Council Member Linea Palmisano, Jess Harris.

Treasurer’s Report:  Treasurer John Abraham-Watne reported that the NRP balance remains at $1,562.93.  The NCEC balance is 4,082.41.  This amount includes our NCEC reimbursement of $2,201.35.

Secretary’s Report:  The minutes of the January and February 2014 meetings were both approved as read.  Kathy Cobb recommended that we purchase stationery with our new logo from Vista Print.  The cost will be $215 for 250 pieces of letterhead and 250 envelopes.  The Board approved this expenditure.  ACTION ITEM:  Kathy will order the stationery.

Making the West Calhoun Greenway Exit Safer:  Aaron Shaffer brought a proposal to the Board that he developed with Richard Logan that is intended to make the West Calhoun Greenway exit safer for all.  In this area where bikes, pedestrians and cars meet, the question is “How do we get cars to stop?” The ideas for immediate improvement include: pedestrian/bicyclist crossing signs, possible stop signs for vehicles, painted bike lanes on Abbott (possibly on Chowen too for the apartment residents) in both directions and a gate to prevent anything larger than a wheelchair from entering the Greenway.  The proposal also included ideas for near future improvement and future improvement.    

Council Member Linea Palmisano commented that a lot of the area near the access point is owned by the Hennepin County Railroad Authority (HCRRA).  The other part is owned by Calhoun Commons.  She also mentioned that only 17% of people stop at stop signs.  Policy Aide Emily Ziring suggested that speed humps or traffic circles would likely be better options than stop signs.  

The Board made this resolution:  “We recommend that the appropriate government entities do a study of pedestrian and bicycle safety at the Chowen and Abbott exit from the Midtown Greenway.”

Council Member Linea Palmisano:  Linea passed out a handout regarding the resolution that came out of the Pedestrian Advisory Committee regarding the Lake Street/Excelsior Boulevard/Market Plaza “Triangle.”  There was one item that seemed extreme to her: “Remove right turn lanes on Lake Street in both directions to reduce pedestrian crossing distances by approximately 12 feet each.  Potentially use temporary measures initially to restrict the lanes and monitor how traffic responds and then evaluate a permanent solution.”  The Board agreed that this seems extreme.  It was not suggested by the neighborhood.  

Something they are looking to implement quickly is a leading pedestrian interval at Lake Street and Market Plaza, which moves pedestrians out into the street earlier than cars.  They do this at Hennepin and Lagoon and Hennepin and Lake.  It requires Hennepin County approval and then the City makes the change.  Another idea is to have a charrette.  Linea suggested that rather than starting the long process of having a charrette we instead have a community meeting to get input on all the ideas that we have.  The consensus was that a community meeting makes more sense.  Council Member Palmisano said that the meeting would likely be in the community space at Whole Foods.  She will consider our newsletter publication date in setting the date for the meeting.  The newsletter should arrive in homes two weeks before our May 13 Annual Meeting.

Regarding the Southwest LRT, the City maintains the same stance that it has had in the past.  They feel that the re-route of freight is viable.  Council Member Palmisano let the Board know that she is the mayor’s appointee for LRT station planning.  

Polar Bear Plunge:  Ian Kees reported that the fireworks on February 28 were a success, however the table at the event didn’t draw many people.  We need to consider if it’s worthwhile having a table.  David mentioned the idea of having a gathering on the Bakken’s green roof next year.

Summer Movie Night:  Ian Kees suggested that we form a movie committee next year.  We will soon find out if we got a movie.  He had to submit 5 dates with 5 movies for each date.  It would be good to include the June movie in the May newsletter.  The Park Board would help us with food trucks.    

Lake St. Council/Uptown Association:  Our memberships in the Lake Street Council and the Uptown Association have come up for renewal.  The Board discussed whether to renew.  The feeling was that the memberships could be helpful in the future.  Rhea will be the contact person for communications with the organizations and will disseminate information that is of interest.  The Board voted to continue our memberships in both business associations.  Ian said that he would be willing to contact both associations to talk about the benefits of membership.  ACTION ITEM:  Rhea will renew the memberships and Ian will contact both of them.

Board members:  We need more Board members.  People should be thinking about who we might recruit.  The Annual Meeting is coming up May 13.

Earth Day April 26:  We have agreed to staff the table at the site at Lake Calhoun Parkway and W. 32nd Street.  Haydee, Richard and John have volunteered to help.  Rhea will also plan to be there.  It is from 9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 26.  ACTION ITEM:  Rhea will put together a little blurb about Earth Day for an eblast, the website and general publicity.

Small Area Plan:  Kathy Cobb reported that she had reviewed the Small Area Plan.  She suggested that we talk about it at our next retreat.  We will schedule the retreat after the Annual Meeting.

SW LRT Updates:  John Abraham-Watne attended the CAC for Kathy.  Rodgers Adams also reported that negotiations are currently occurring.  The Corridor Management Committee will meet on Wednesday and will challenge the railroad’s stance.  While municipal consent is desired, it’s not required.

Logo Signs:  They are finished, but probably won’t go up until the end of March.

Calhoun Conversations:  David and Mary and Haydee need to set up a time to meet.  David explained the concept to the meeting attendees.  We are looking to start the programs in the Fall of 2014.

If we had money to invest in one project, what would it be?  Jennifer Mutschler said she would like to have more trash cans around.  Another Board member mentioned the idea of the gazebo at the location of the Clear Channel billboard.  The Board wonders how to find out who owns the land that the billboard is on.  ACTION ITEM:  Kathy will ask Meg when she returns from her vacation.

David said that he would like to complain about the last minute closings of Calhoun Parkway for running events.  He would like to request a list of closings.

Next meeting:  Our next meeting will be Tuesday, April 8, 2014.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:15 p.m.