Janet Pierson, Ward 1 resident, asks:
Q: "When does a vision become a plan? The GRG and Trolley example are very important...
Many residents who want to participate, have a voice and take the time to participate or attend the various meetings have no idea of what point they are entering into the process (of making policy) unless they have had prior experience with government."
A: Briefly, a "vision" becomes a plan when it is adopted. The vote taken by the City Council establishes a policy. The words “concept," “vision" and “plan" are often used interchangeably for the purposes of convincing passage, or as the rationale for implementation. For example, as a relatively new Councilmember I voted to approve a letter endorsing the “concept of the Trolley” only to find out later that the “concept” actually included the final details of where the Trolley would stub. It is now very clear that each vote for a “concept" or “vision" will establish a policy, and that policy will be carried out by the Administration as the City Manager and his staff deem most feasible.
The earlier the residents learn of the issue and become involved - and the more persistant they are with enlisting other residents in participating, the more likely they will have an impact on the outcome. You have only to look at what happened when residents from Parkview became active in protecting the trees on Greenway South. That means staying engaged with what is happening in City Hall on an ongoing basis.
Margaret Johnson, Co-chair of the Mayor’s Task Force on Bike & Walkability, a member of the Steering Committee for the Proposed Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan, and Ward 2 resident, asks:
Q: "In the opening paragraph you say that University City already has adopted a bike plan, that a $200,000. bike/walk project is currently underway, and also referred to an ordinance which you introduced. Would you please be more specific. What is the bike walk plan? What is the project currently underway? What is the ordinance? Please give me the dates when the Council considered and voted on these items."
A. The bike/walk plan is the current bicycle facility plan/map last published in 2009 and can be viewed here. As best I can determine these bicycle routes and the Plan were established around 15 years ago. Routes, signs and designations are established with the approval of Council. Perhaps you can contact our City Clerk to determine when and how that was accomplished - whether a resolution, a vote under the City Manager's report or on a consent agenda. Until such a time as something else is adopted, this remains our Plan. The $200,000 bike/walk project was described in my newsletter - the striping and signage that will be installed on Canton, Old Bonhomme and Jackson. The Ordinance allowing the City to accept the grant money for this project is Ordinance 6902.
The City obligated funds toward a bicycle route project in FY13 to match an Enhancement Grant the City received through East West Gateway Council of Governments in 2012. The Council approved this grant on November 13, 2012 and obligated $40,000 over the next two years in the FY13 Budget. City Council approved $4,000 (part of the obligated $40,000) in the FY13 Capital Improvement Program budget for the design of the bike routes along Old Bonhomme, Jackson and Canton. This design work is in process and the remaining budgeted Capital Improvement Program funds are for construction.
Q: "In numbered paragraph 4, you refer to closed roads, in the North portion of the city, which are opened by the plan. Specifically, which roads?"
One of the currently closed roads to be opened in this proposed plan is Perdue from Midland through North of Olive to the City limits. It was closed to through traffic and the vehicular path rerouted years ago for reasons of safety - to control the traffic and reduce the high-speed thoroughfare through those neighborhoods. Where Perdue crosses Midland, there is not a road, but a pedestrian footbridge into Heman Park. Etzel is to be designated as a Bike/Walk street with access into the neighboring City in the proposed plan... and Sutter is designated to be a super sharrow (marked shared lanes between automobiles and bicycles) moving into Wellston (destination: the MetroLink station?). They are not blocked off, as is Perdue, but are not major connectors - should they be? This should be examined with Police Department input. Enright is shown as open in the proposed Bicycle & Pedestrian Facility Network. As I understand it, that street was closed years ago to control drugs and criminal activity, etc. What may happen as WU develops their properties remains to be decided. Vernon, East of the Greenway is shown as closed... no paths. It is highly unlikely that Vernon will ever be closed.
Q: "In numbered paragraph 6, you said the plan disconnects from several destinations of importance within University City. Would you please tell me to which destinations you are referring."
A. Some of the disconnections appear to be a downgrade from our now listed, official bicycle routes to a neighborhood streets and connectors: Loop South bicycle path is missing... that is a major way for bicyclists to get through the Loop and may be needed even more once the Trolley is installed. Eastgate bike path to Eastgate Park and Vernon is deleted. Balson Ave. (High School to Heman Park) is reduced from a major designated bicycle route to a neighborhood street/connector - and the same for those currently designated bicycle routes that connect Greensfelder Park and Janet Majerus Park to Canton.
My lists above are not exhaustive. Some of the suggestions in the proposed Bicycle & Pedestrian Facility Network are worth exploring, and others require a bit more discussion and further examination. The Task Force and Steering Committee did a fine job! The Proposed Plan/revision/upgrade has not been killed, just sent back for further examination and consideration in light of what our complete comprehensive city plan should be. By the way, I do believe that the currently designated paths could use striping and better signage.