Categorized | IN OUR COMMUNITY

Hwy 280 reconstruction; Car2Go no more; snow satisfaction

Posted on 14 January 2016 by Calvin



Reconstruction of Hwy 280 project planned in 2016
Just when it was safe to drive on Snelling Ave. again, north-south travelers have another challenge coming—reconstruction of Hwy 280 is scheduled for spring and summer 2016.
The project calls for repair and pavement resurfacing work for northbound and southbound Hwy 280 and shoulders between Como Ave. and I-35W. The ramps between Hwy 280 and I-35W will be rebuilt, with zipper merge signs added for the ramp from northbound Hwy 280 to I-35W. The approach road to the Hwy 280 bridge over Como Ave. will be rebuilt. New concrete medians are planned, as are storm sewer and pond improvements, and a new guardrail north of Larpenteur Ave.

The work will be done in stages with detours posted. The work will be postponed in July during the annual Rondo Days weekend, and is to be completed before the Minnesota State Fair starts.

The project cost is $3.3 million.

Read more and subscribe to updates at http://www.dot.state.mn.us/metro/projects/hwy280/.

Car2GoCar2Go cherry-picks service area to avoid Hamline-Midway, Como
The car-sharing service Car2Go will be going away from all, or parts of of, several neighborhoods Mar. 1, including Hamline-Midway, Como, North End and Frogtown. The new service area has Minnehaha and St. Clair avenues as north and south boundaries, with half of downtown and Shepard Rd. to the east. The west boundary is the west city limits, with a tiny piece extending into St. Anthony Park and the St. Paul University of Minnesota campus.

The vote to approve the Car2Go 2016 contract with the city was approved Dec. 16 on a 4-3 City Council vote. Council members Amy Brendmoen, William Finney, Russ Stark and Dave Thune, voted for the agreement, saying that partial service is better than none at all. Council member Dan Bostrom, Dai Thao, and Chris Tolbert voted against.

Bostrom and Tolbert noted that if a taxi company licensed by the city tried to pick and choose areas it served, that request would be seen as discriminatory.

Stark, as a Car2Go user, said he struggles with the cutbacks. “It’s a disappointing proposal from a transportation perspective.”

Car2Go is a point to point car rental service, offering two-seat Smart cars. Members use a mobile app to find and then get into the cars, which have keys left inside. Car2Go will use the first quarter of 2016 to communicate with users about the changes. Josh Johnson of Car2Go said lower-than-anticipated usage is forcing the change. Talks to downsize the Minneapolis service area are underway in that city.

Under its permit Car2Go pays the city $6 per car to cover any meter revenues and for the use of streets to leave the cars on. Users don’t plug meters when a car is parked at one. The new contract calls for a minimum of 100 cars.

Johnson explained that someone living outside of the reduced service area could still go to the area and pick up a vehicle, drive it to a destination such as Mall of America. But the car would have to be returned to the service area.

Snow removal survey shows general satisfaction
St. Paul residents, recently surveyed by the city’s Department of Public Works, are satisfied with how city streets are cleared of snow. But if residents got a quiz about the difference between a “snow event” and a “snow emergency,” many would fail.

A need for more communication about St. Paul’s winter street maintenance operations, as well as efforts to reach more diverse communities, emerged as themes in the survey, according to Public Works Director Kathy Lantry. Public Works plans stepped up communication as well as two pilot areas for targeted outreach—Highland and the North End—in areas with many apartments and where language barriers are more prevalent.
Lantry said that while Public Works is pleased that people are generally happy with winter street maintenance work, “there is a gap in understanding what services we provide and what services residents think we provide.”

The city sent out 1,400 surveys in September to ask residents about snow emergencies, snow events and winter street maintenance in general. Of those 416 were returned. Wards Three and Four had the highest number of respondents, at 74 and 76 respectively. Ward One and Five had the lowest, with 50 surveys returned apiece. About two-third of the respondents have lived in the city for 11 or more years. More than 77 percent are Caucasians.

One example is that people sometimes think they only see snowplows when a snow emergency is declared. Typically that is when three or more inches of snow falls. Lantry said that doesn’t take into account snow events when work done to sand, salt, and clear arterial streets and treat bridge decks when smaller amounts of snow or sleet or freezing rain fall. During snow events, crews work within a 10-hour time frame to plow 90 percent of arterials within 10 hours, and the streets designated as high priorities are treated with salt, brine or other solutions to keep from icing up.

The survey was conducted by Civic Consulting and the research group QEM. In 2014 City Council members said they were interested in seeing other surveys of city services. Read the winter maintenance report at stpaul.gov/public-works-survey-results.

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