DRAFT Downtown Saint Paul Station Area Plan


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The City of Saint Paul is planning for light rail transit along the Central Corridor, a spine that will connect the downtowns of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, the University of Minnesota, and the diverse neighborhoods along University Avenue. The Downtown Saint Paul Station Area Plan applies the broader Vision, Principles and Design Directions of the Central Corridor Development Strategy (CCDS). Building on this community-based and city- council adopted foundation, this Station Area Plan creates a more detailed framework for integrating decisions affecting future built form, land use, the public realm, and movement (including LRT, buses, cars, pedestrians and bicycles) within the Downtown.

June 23, 2009 - Urban Strategies Inc.

DRAFT Downtown Saint Paul Station Area Plan

  1. 1. DRAFT Downtown Saint Paul Station Area Plan JUNE 23, 2009
  2. 2. Table of Contents 1.0 Introduction 1 1.1 The Opportunity 2 1.2 The Station Area Plan 4 1.3 The Alignment 6 1.4 The Planning Context 8 1.5 Real Estate Market Considerations 10 2.0 LRT Downtown 13 2.1 Mobility 14 2.2 Land Use 18 2.3 Built Form 22 2.4 Public Realm 28 3.0 Place Specific Opportunities 33 3.1 Re-Imaging Fourth Street 34 3.2 Getting People to the Waterfront 36 3.3 Reinforcing Lowertown 38 3.4 Creating Positive Transit Environments 46 4.0 Getting There 51 4.1 Fine-tuning the Saint Paul Zoning Ordinance 52 4.2 Advancing Key Strategic Redevelopment Sites 53 4.3 Leveraging Strategic Partnerships 54
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  4. 4. Introduction 1.0 The Opportunity The City of Saint Paul is planning for light rail transit along the Central Corridor, a spine that will connect the downtowns of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, the University of Minnesota, and the diverse neighborhoods along University Avenue. The Downtown Saint Paul Station Area Plan applies the broader Vision, Principles and Design Directions of the Central Corridor Development Strategy (CCDS). Building on this community-based and city- council adopted foundation, this Station Area Plan creates a more detailed framework for integrating decisions affecting future built form, land use, the public realm, and movement (including LRT, buses, cars, pedestrians and bicycles) within the Downtown. As an introduction to this Station Area Plan, Chapter 1 begins by describing The Opportunity that LRT creates for enhancing Saint Paul as a vibrant and interesting place to live, work and visit. It goes on to describe Why a Station Area Plan is an important part of planning for LRT and related investments in downtown Saint Paul, and describes the study process that led to this station area plan document. The Alignment of the planned LRT is then described in detail, followed by a summary of the Planning Context that has shaped successful growth and investment in downtown Saint Paul in recent years. This introductory chapter concludes with Real Estate Market Considerations, which provide a snapshot of current real estate market considerations and a series of recommendations for capturing the potential of LRT to enhance the vitality and economic health of downtown Saint Paul. DRAFT DOWNTOWN SAINT PAUL STATION AREA PLAN | JUNE 2009 | 1
  5. 5. 1.1 The Opportunity The Opportunity The insertion of LRT in downtown Saint Paul creates There are number of ways in which LRT has the potential 3. Acting as a catalyst for the re-facing of streets in a signature opportunity to reinforce and enhance to build upon and strengthen these initiatives. These downtown with new or renovated buildings that downtown Saint Paul as a contemporary, vibrant include: open up and embrace activity at the street; and heart of the city for living, working and culture. It is an opportunity to put downtown Saint Paul ‘on the map’ 1. Rebalancing movement opportunities in favor 4. Supporting new uses and activities that will seek through a series of targeted city-building initiatives: of greater opportunities for pedestrians and to locate in vibrant downtown settings with strong strengthening and distinguishing downtown’s cyclists; transit linkages to the wider Twin Cities region. development market; promoting large and small place- making efforts; and improving mobility options and 2. Strengthening links between the current activity access to jobs, housing, and community services. clusters to create a stronger “Downtown” brand comprised of a collection of enjoyable, distinct Over the past decade there have been a number places and attractions; of positive investments that have helped revitalize Warehouse downtown. The introduction of new open spaces and District streetscaping has transformed the Rice Park area into Government Center East a regional gem and destination for arts and cultural Nicollet Mall West Bank 29th Bank attractions. The transformation of former warehousing Downtown East / Stadium Avenue Metrodome Village Westgate into residential and artists’ lofts as well as spaces for Raymond creative industry has breathed new life into Lowertown. The addition of Wacouta Commons, a new residential Fairview Lexington Dale Rice neighborhood in the northeast quadrant of downtown, Snelling Capitol East has brought hundreds of new residents to enliven 10th downtown day and night. Each of these important Downtown Street developments has helped to strengthen the attraction, Saint Paul 4th & Union vitality and economic position of downtown. Cedar Depot Figure 1.1 When completed, the Central Corridor LRT will be a central organizing element for new developments along its length, and help to strengthen downtown Saint Paul’s position as both a destination and gateway within the Twin Cities. 2
  6. 6. Figure 1.2 Downtown contains the highest potential building density within the city. The string of blocks on either side of the LRT line (highlighted above in green), and areas within a 5-minute walk of LRT (highlighted in white), illustrate the potential of LRT to serve the highest concentration of uses and people within downtown. DRAFT DOWNTOWN SAINT PAUL STATION AREA PLAN | JUNE 2009 | 3
  7. 7. 1.2 The Station Area Plan The Study Area Figure 1.3 The Station Area Plan study area. Why a Station Area Plan? 7th Street to the north, the Lafayette Bridge to the • ongoing discussions with the Metropolitan Council east, the Mississippi River to the south, and Wabasha related to final LRT design through downtown Saint Many community and City discussions have taken Street to the west. The Station Area Plan also updates Paul, particularly related to long-term access to place around the issues and opportunities associated and replaces the 1994 Lowertown Small Area Plan. buildings and desired streetscape conditions with the addition of LRT to downtown. The Downtown • continued outreach and education amongst Station Area Plan captures these many ideas, The Downtown Station Area Plan focuses on city- downtown residents, businesses and employees articulates how LRT should fit within the fabric of building opportunities related to the integration of with respect to the LRT design and construction downtown, and summarizes a range of opportunities LRT within downtown. It represents the City’s ongoing process, operation, and future potential benefits that result from this investment in order to maximize commitment to transit-supportive development by and impacts the benefits to downtown. exploring opportunities in downtown to: • priority-setting for public investment in city The planned 11-mile Central Corridor LRT will extend building and infrastructure 1) enhance the public realm; from downtown Minneapolis, across the Mississippi • the review and update of the Lowertown Small River and through the heart of many of Saint Paul’s 2) improve options for mobility, with a strong Area Plan in light of the renewed opportunity LRT diverse residential and business communities. From emphasis on pedestrian movement; creates for this downtown neighborhood its first Saint Paul stop at Westgate Station, it will follow 3) identify appropriate future land development University Avenue to the State Capitol campus, cross opportunities and built form; and, I-94 and thread its way into Saint Paul’s compact and The Study Process 4) analyze market potential for long-term urban downtown core, where it will terminate at the development. historic Union Depot. The Central Corridor LRT design and development Created with the input and endorsement of community process is being undertaken in partnership between The Central Corridor Development Strategy, a vision members and stakeholders, and adopted as part of the Metropolitan Council, the cities of Saint Paul and and set of strategies for how the Central Corridor should the Saint Paul Comprehensive Plan, the Downtown Minneapolis, Hennepin and Ramsey counties, and the grow and change in response to the investment in LRT, Station Area Plan is a useful tool to guide the following University of Minnesota. Metropolitan Council’s longer- was adopted in October 2007 as a chapter of the Saint decision-making processes: term process for planning the design, construction Paul Comprehensive Plan. Building on the foundation and operation of LRT is illustrated in the upper portion provided by the Development Strategy, the Downtown • policy and development review in response to of Figure 1.4. Station Area Plan addresses two of three proposed infrastructure design and investment in LRT and downtown station areas – 4th/Cedar and Union Depot. transit-supportive development This amalgamated study area is generally defined by 4
  8. 8. Draft Environmental Preliminary Final Design Phased Construction Metropolitan Council Central Corridor LRT Impact Statement Engineering 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 Milestones Hiawatha Development Corridor Station Downtown Construction Begins Operation of Process LRT Selected Related Transit Line begins as Preferred Strategy Area Plans Station Area the LRT line Corridor LRT Full Service Alternative Completed Completed Planning begins Central Environmental Impact Statement Preliminary Engineering Final Design Stage Construction 2008 2009 1 Understanding 2 Exploring 3 Creating Saint Paul Downtown Station Area September October November December January Feb March April May June July August Initial Downtown Steering Public Round Open House 1 Open House 2 Consultation Committee Meeting Tables Emerging Directions Draft Downtown Station Area Plan Stakeholder Interviews Steering Committee & Steering Committee Plan Process Stakeholder Workshop Meeting Project Meetings Feedback Meetings Meetings with Client Initiation with City from City Staff Meeting Staff City Staff Inventory Information Preparation Revise and Prepare the Draft Analysis & Submission Collection Draft Downtown Organization of Information of the Initial Station Area Plan Revise & Prepare Assessment of Initial Draft Tasks & Review Issues & & Preparation of Workshop Draft Final Downtown of Findings Station Area Opportunities Memo Materials Station Area Station Area Plan Plan for Review Plan Preparation of Materials Preparation of Materials Figure 1.4 Two concurrent and mutually supportive processes for planning LRT in downtown Saint Paul are featured above. The Metropolitan Council is responsible for making The Downtown Station Area Plan builds on the overall The lower portion of Figure 1.4 illustrates where the decisions regarding the LRT route alignment; the direction of the Central Corridor Development City of Saint Paul’s downtown station area planning number, location and design of station platforms; Strategy. It has been undertaken in consultation with process fits into the bigger picture of planning for future road configurations; property acquisition; and key stakeholders, agencies, land owners, businesses LRT. This document is the result of this process, and other design and construction issues that are beyond and community members in downtown. The is designed to focus on the associated benefits and the scope of the station area planning process. preparation of the Plan was guided by the leadership impacts that LRT will bring to downtown Saint Paul, as of the Downtown Steering Committee and City staff. opposed to the design of the LRT alignment itself. DRAFT DOWNTOWN SAINT PAUL STATION AREA PLAN | JUNE 2009 | 5
  9. 9. 1.3 The Alignment The Alignment 01: From the Capitol, the alignment will run down the center of 02: The alignment will continue along the eastern side of the LRT inserts itself into downtown along existing streets. Cedar Street until the 10th Street Station, where it will shift to street until 5th Street, preserving a single lane along the west It will include three stations beginning at Union Depot, the eastern side of the street. side of the street for traffic and buses heading south. which will in the future also connect to a larger inter- modal transit network. The LRT alignment described in Figure 1.7 and illustrated in Figure 1.8 transforms the character of Cedar and 4th streets into truly balanced streets with strong emphasis on transit and pedestrian movement. LRT will have a much different impact and relationship to downtown Saint Paul than the remainder of the Central Corridor line. Functionally, the downtown portion of this alignment will have more similarities with the Hiawatha LRT alignment in downtown Minneapolis than with neighboring stops on University Avenue. 03: At 5th Street the alignment will run diagonally through the 04: The alignment will run along the south side of 4th Street, While University Avenue is generally wide enough for block bound by 5th, Cedar, 4th and Minnesota. This will be the preserving one westbound lane along the north side of the LRT to be ‘added’ within the existing right-of-way, the site of the 4th and Ceder Station. street. insertion of LRT into downtown Saint Paul’s narrow right-of-way will require a more sympathetic response to a denser, more complex existing urban fabric. These constraints will require coordination with and consideration of neighboring businesses, residences, institutions, pedestrians and motorists who rely on the same tight spaces for access, address and circulation. Each user will need clear indications, through some combination of traffic signals, signage, paving materials, bollards or other sensitively- designed features to identify permitted routes, traffic direction, approaching trains, and safe crossing points. 05: The alignment will continue along the south side of the 06: East of Union Depot, the alignment will shift to the center Additionally, stations and related LRT infrastructure street in front of Union Depot. The Union Depot station will abut of the street, preserving one lane in each direction up to the will need to be streamlined to preserve limited space. the existing front lawn of the station. OMF facility. Figure 1.7 The LRT will have a variety of configurations as at travels through the downtown. 6
  10. 10. TW Y A HW C S O U B TH U M IF TA LU . T. F O T. ST S S C S TH IB E LE V LE Y H E ST T LF . V E E. W T ST . . ST JA TH C K N T . TE ST S E O JO TH M N P HN H ST IG E R E . R A O N . B ST C E E TH R B T IN R Proposed ST O N AD . Fitzgerald Park M W W Site IN A AY B N St. Louis King A . E ST S ST S of France Church H TH .E O . ST A TA N ST V E TH . W E R ST Central S U A McNally O . C . Presbyterian F ST Smith O Farmers U Church W . TH PL P TA AL N Market IN E TH C L ST E N E St. Agatha’s S E . Minnesota ST IB V D Conservatory E . S A LE Public R of Music Securian Y . Radio ST ST E Center . G Galtier ST N A JA Plaza . H . C ST C X E TH K LA UBS Plaza IX S Securian S O FA N Center YE S ST T. . TT P R E O E Wells Fargo . TE ST B E Place TH R Union R R IF T F Depot ST US Bank M . IN Center N L. Endicott St. Paul E P . S Building Radiology VD TH O N LL Alliance Pioneer BL TA E G V MA Bank Building G E ST S O Travelers LL . First National E Companies Federal K Bank S EcoLab IB Building US Postal LE Center W Y S T. A . ST ST B . A C d 2n S St. Paul Kellogg E H D A Lawson Athletic Square A ST R S Travelers Commons Club T. . ST Companies P . E Minnesota TE . Capital ST Building R EST City Plaza FIFTH TH ST S T. N ST. R . City Hall U MAR O Annex F INGTO Ordway KET Music St Paul Theater Hotel ST. WASH City Hall & Courthouse Centre Qwest OGG KELL B L V D. AD RO Figure 1.8 The LRT alignment through downtown serves the office core and large residential population, and connects to the Union Depot multi-modal hub. DRAFT DOWNTOWN SAINT PAUL STATION AREA PLAN | JUNE 2009 | 7
  11. 11. 1.4 The Planning Context Numerous plans, studies and initiatives have shaped Central Corridor Development into Directions and Place-Specific Opportunities the positive transformation of downtown Saint Paul Strategy (2007) outlined in Section3. In particular, principles related over the last 20 years. The Downtown Station Area Plan The Central Corridor Development Strategy (CCDS), to “Improving Connectivity” by improving linkages and does not exist in isolation from these documents. The a vision and set of strategies for how the Central mobility routes through downtown, and “Providing a Downtown Station Area Plan provides a lens through Corridor should grow and change in response to the balanced network for movement”, which refers to which to re-examine past ideas and recommendations investment in LRT, was adopted in October 2007 as a the design of streets that are shared equally amongst in light of the planned insertion of LRT, and identify chapter of the Comprehensive Plan for the City of Saint vehicles, pedestrians, buses, bicycles and trains, are the many new opportunities this investment affords in Paul. The Downtown Station Area Plan is designed explored in more detail in the Downtown Station Area achieving the long-term vision for downtown Saint Paul to be fully consistent with and complementary to the Plan. as a revitalized, vibrant and complete community. higher-level objectives of the CCDS, specifically the downtown-specific opportunities described in Section Saint Paul Downtown Development As a result, this document carries many of the ideas 3.4. Where relevant, the Downtown Station Area Plan Strategy (2005) from existing plans forward, with a revised emphasis revises and expands upon these recommendations The Downtown Development Strategy builds on the on the place-making and reinvestment potential of in light of new information and/or recent planning or Development Framework directives to provide focussed LRT. The following summarizes specifically where development activity undertaken since adoption of the direction for the downtown. Core principles include the Downtown Station Area Plan is aligned with and Central Corridor Development Strategy, including the improving connectivity between neighborhoods, informed by its predecessor documents. final location of LRT stations and nature of platform downtown and the river; and designing a more amenities, a confirmed LRT alignment and relationship balanced network of streets. Key directions described Summarized documents include the Historic to existing transportation patterns, the location of the in the Strategy with particular relevance to the station Lowertown Small Area Plan, the Lowertown Operations and Maintenance Facility, and additional area planning process include: Redevelopment Corporation’s Urban Village Vision, detail on an expanded bicycle network. • enhancing Cedar and Fourth Streets as balanced the Saint Paul on the Mississippi Development streets that accommodate LRT, pedestrians, and Framework, the Downtown Development Strategy, the Saint Paul on the Mississippi other forms of mobility; Report of Diamond Products Task Force, and most Development Framework (1997) recently, the Central Corridor Development Strategy. The Development Framework outlines ten principles • improving the experience of moving through for guiding future development in downtown Saint downtown at grade level; Paul. The Downtown Station Area Plan incorporates the general intent and meaning of these principles 8