Letter from Saralyn Romanishan Re: Parking Requirement

12 June 2015

Planning Commission & City Council

Regarding the Off Street Parking Zoning Code Text Amendment

 

I am writing this letter as I will not be able to attend the June 15 meeting of the Planning

Commission.  Please make sure this letter is included in the packet.

 

I am deeply disturbed by this amendment and the thoughtlessness and true blindness

represented by it.  This is bad city planning at its finest.  Passing this amendment  will

be a grave mistake and will hurt the residents of this city more than it could ever hope to

help them.  

 

Please do NOT approve this amendment.  Do NOT change current off street parking

requirements and please stop giving variances for them.

 

I am a strong proponent of mass transit, walking, and biking.  But cars exist for a reason

as do the current requirements for Off Street Parking.

 

This is a policy that is discriminatory of those designated “Limited Mobility”.

Fact:

 Not everyone can physically ride a bike.

 Walking a ¼ mile to a bus stop or a ½ mile to a train station is impossible for many

people.

 

This policy does not promote safety.

Fact:

 Streets crowded with parked cars stacked up against each other are unsafe.

 Trying to find a parking space on a PUBLIC street near one’s home becomes a lottery

ticket people fight for.

 Walking home from a bus or train ¼ mile to a ½ mile away from your home at midnight is

not safe.

o Vehicle damage increases.

o Visibility decreases.

o Snow plowing is near impossible.

o Walking home from a car parked ¼ mile to a ½ mile away from your home at

midnight is not safe.

o There is an uptick in violent crime this year.  Read the latest statistics.

 “In addition, this distance would be measured to the nearest transit stop rather than

to the transit stops serving the site in both directions.”

o What if this is an extremely busy or multi-lane street?

o What if there are no crosswalks or lights?

 

Developers are in it for the money, not the environment.  This is their business

not their cause.

Fact:

 Developers always ask for less parking then required unless they are building an

extremely high-end luxury development.

o Luxury developers know they cannot ask astronomical prices for their units

without have full indoor parking available.

 

The ideology of a carless society has entered cult status.

Fact:

 This will not stop people from having cars.

 You cannot make people not have cars.

 Clean and energy efficient cars exist and everyone knows it; hybrids, electric, solar, and

Tesla seems to come up with a new battery and car every day.  This is a major industry.

 Not everyone owns a bike, or wants to.

 This is Minnesota.  We have winter.

 Bicycle ridership goes down in the winter.  

 Bus and train ridership go down in the winter.

 People that own cars can be just as healthy and happy as people that don’t.

o Low income transit riders count the days until they can afford a car so they don’t

have to ride a bus OR bike anymore, especially those with children.  

 CarHop‘s business is booming.

 

I will use my neighborhood (Lowry Hill East / the Wedge), Ward 10, as an example

to support the above statements and further the argument.

Fact:

 This is a very small neighborhood surrounded and bisected by frequent mass transit.

 We are extremely bicycle oriented with a bike boulevard and the Wave Bicycle Bridge.

 Bicycles and buses are everywhere.  But so are cars.

 29th St W. is in the planning stages of becoming an city planning example of a street

sharing bicycle, pedestrian, vehicle, and public zones.

 We have the highest walkability rating in the city.

 We are a high density neighborhood of over 7000 people and at least 85 percent rental.

 Currently, the streets are piled high with cars and spaces near one’s home often

impossible to find in the summer, let alone the one sided parking winter.

 Crime is up.

 Property taxes and Rents are up.

 Developers are buying up property throughout the neighborhood with the blessing of our

city council member.

 WE DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH PARKING.

o Developers are drooling.

o How much extra profit can a short term development investment make if they

don’t have to put in parking?  A LOT.  And they don’t have to stick around for the

aftermath.

o Whenever we say we have no parking on the street and ask the developer to put

more in?  The response is always;

 They can park on the street.  

 They can take the bus.  

 We have bike storage because everyone bikes now.

 How does this follow?  There is no available parking.

 But they still rent to people with cars.

 No they don’t.

 WE CANNOT HANDLE LESS PARKING.

 

Midday Frequency Schedules for Lowry Hill East/the Wedge

(This does not count UofM buses)

 

 Hennepin to Lyndale at Lake St is approximately .5 miles

 Hennepin to Lyndale at 28th St is approximately .5 miles

 Hennepin to Lyndale at 26th St is approximately .4 miles

 Hennepin to Lyndale at 22nd St is approximately .2 miles

 Lake St & Aldrich or Bryant to 27th St & Aldrich or Bryant is approximately .4 miles

 

Therefore, there is no location within this neighborhood that is not within a ¼ mile of a 6

or 21.

So according to this amendment;

NO PARKING IS REQUIRED FOR NEW DEVELOPMENT IN THE WHOLE

NEIGHBORHOOD!

 

How can anyone be serious about this?

(And changing to 350 ft when it should be less than 300ft for over 15 minutes doesn’t

help us either).

 

#2 (Franklin Ave s)

15-16 minutes apart

 

#4 (Lyndale Ave S)

15 minutes apart

 

#17 (24th & Hennepin between 24th & Lake)

14-19 minutes apart

 

#6 (Hennepin Ave S)

10 minutes apart

 

#21 (Lake St W)

6 minutes apart

 

Uptown Station (29th & Hennepin)

5-10 minutes apart due to so many bus routes

#21,6,23,17,12,

 

It almost seems as if the ¼ mile was written with Lowry Hill East (the Wedge) in

mind.  Was it?  I’m guessing it was.  There is not one inch of this neighborhood that

would not qualify.  And with all of the press lately, would any of you be surprised either?  

Open season once again in this neighborhood for developers.  Let’s be honest, it’s on

the first page of the staff report;: “Initiator: Council Member Bender”

 

“The primary objective of the amendment is to ensure that the City’s residential off-

street parking regulations align with adopted policies related to housing, land use, urban

design, transportation, and environmental sustainability.”

 

This statement is false.

This is corporate welfare for the developers and another give in to the Cult of the

Carless.

 

In addition, the chosen book and article references are 1) not local 2) biased towards

only one idea, and 3) not realistic.  Where are the references that state the opposite

position?

 

The Developers were not elected to run this city.

The Bicycle Coalition was not elected to run this city.

The City Council was elected to run this city – but – by the wishes of the people NOT by

special interests.

 

It is time to take SPECIAL INTERESTS out of local politics just as we all campaign

to take them out of national politics.

 

Again, please do NOT approve this amendment. In addition, put it in the circular file and

do not bring it out again until society has completely changed and special interests no

longer apply.

 

Thank you,

Saralyn Romanishan