Park Perspective October 2019
Follow the city’s strategic priorities
General Election 2019
In 2018, the St. Louis Park City Council adopted the following five strategic priorities. Look for the icons throughout this and future editions of the Park Perspective to read stories about how the city is working to meet these priorities.
Tuesday, Nov. 5
St. Louis Park is committed to:
Polls open 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Being a leader in racial equity and inclusion in order to create a more just and inclusive community for all.
All about absentee voting
Continuing to lead in environmental stewardship.
If you can’t make it to the polls on Election Day, remember that you can vote early at St. Louis Park City Hall until Nov. 4, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Extended hours are offered on:
Providing a broad range of housing and neighborhood-oriented development. Providing a variety of options for people to make their way around the city comfortably, safely and reliably. reating opportunities to build social capital C through community engagement.
For city events, activities and news, visit www.stlouispark.org.
Sign up for email and text notifications: www.stlouispark.org/sign-up Make service requests or receive city information via the app
or visit www.mystlouispark.org.
PRSRT STD U.S. Postage PAID Twin Cities Permit No. 603
The Park Perspective is printed on 30 percent post-consumer recycled paper in an effort to meet the city’s environmentally preferable purchasing policy.
• Nov. 2, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. • Nov. 4, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. When voting early in person at city hall, you can place your ballot directly into a ballot counter beginning Oct. 29. This is called direct balloting. Votes will be counted immediately, but results will not be reported until the polls close on Nov. 5.
What offices are on the ballot? In 2019, the following offices will be on the ballot: City offices (ranked-choice races) for mayor, council member at large A and council member at large B.
You can also request to have a ballot mailed to you through the mail if you can’t make it to city hall or to your polling place. Call the elections office at 952.924.2503 for more information.
School district offices (not ranked-choice) for St. Louis Park Public Schools/ISD 283 school board member and Hopkins Public Schools/ISD 270 school board member. Your ballot will contain the school board offices for the district you live in.
New polling location in Precinct 9 Voters in Precinct 9 who previously voted at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church will vote at a new polling place in 2019. The change in location was required due to the sale of the building.
For a sample ballot, visit www.stlouispark.org/vote or contact the elections office.
When can I vote? Polling places will be open 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 5.
The new polling place for Precinct 9 will be Knollwood Place Apartments, 3630 Phillips Pkwy. All registered voters in Precinct 9 will receive a mailed notification of this change from Hennepin County before Election Day.
Early (absentee) voting started Sept. 20 and is available through Nov. 4. See more details later in this article.
Plan ahead to vote Don’t wait until Election Day – plan ahead and call theelections team at 952.924.2503 with any questions! Who can vote in Minnesota?
To be eligible to vote, you must be: • • • •
At least 18 years old on Election Day A U.S. citizen A resident of Minnesota for 20 days Finished with all parts of any felony sentence
Am I registered to vote?
At least one month prior to voting, check your registration status online at www.stlouispark.org/vote or by calling 952.924.2503.
LEGEND 46A (North) / 46B (South) District line Precincts
Your polling place may change before election day. Call 952.924.2503 or visit www.stlouispark.org/vote to find your polling place before you vote. 10
Registering before Election Day
If you know you are not registered to vote under your current name and/or at your current residential address, you should register to vote before Election Day. This will make your trip to the polls much faster. State law requires you to register at least 20 days prior to Election Day so that your name is on the list of registered voters at your polling place. The last day to preregister for the 2019 General Election is Oct. 15. Registering on Election Day
If you missed the preregistration deadline, you can register or update your registration when you vote. Whether you choose to vote early or at your polling place on Election Day, you will need to bring proof of residence to register. For a list of acceptable proofs of residence under state law,visit www.stlouispark.org/vote or call 952.924.2503.
LEGEND 46A (North) / 46B (South) District line Precincts
Your polling place may change before election day. Call 952.924.2503 or visit www.stlouispark.org/vote to find your polling place before you vote. 10
Where to find elections results Final tabulations and winners of all races for city council will be tabulated beginning at 8 a.m. on Nov. 6. Results will be posted online at www.stlouispark.org/vote once available. Results for school board races can be viewed at www.sos.state.mn.us after the polls close on Election Day, Nov. 5. Visit www.stlouispark.org/vote on election night for more information.
www.stlouispark.org/vote or call 952.924.2503
Inspections now the building and energy department The city’s inspections department has evolved into the newly created building and energy department, most notably adding a sustainability division to help make greater progress in achieving the city’s Climate Action Plan goals. The division will be led by a sustainability manager and two supporting staff.
City joins electric vehicle purchasing collaborative
The other divisions within the building and energy department include: construction codes, property maintenance/licensing and facilities. This reorganization and additional support reflect the city’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions citywide. The city will continue to build the sustainability division in the upcoming months and looks forward to welcoming new staff and advancing these important initiatives.
The City of St. Louis Park recently joined the Climate Mayors Electric Vehicle Purchasing Collaborative, an online portal that provides cities with a single, equal price for electric vehicles and charging infrastructure. More than 127 cities and 15 counties from across 38 states have joined the collaborative, committing to purchasing more than 2,100 electric vehicles for government fleets by the end of 2020. The city began purchasing Ford Escape hybrids in 2007, purchasing seven vehicles at that time with two now in their last year of service. The building and energy department (previously inspections) added a leased Nissan Leaf to its fleet in 2016. Through the Climate Mayors Electric Vehicle Purchasing Collaborative, a Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid and a Chevy Bolt (battery electric vehicle) have been added to the city fleet as well. The Outlander is driven by staff in the building and energy department, while the Bolt is available for all staff to use for city business. By transitioning parts of its vehicle fleet to electric vehicles, the city is helping to cut greenhouse gas emissions and supporting the Climate Action Plan goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2040. At the same time, access to competitively priced electric vehicles and charging infrastructure and reduced-cost leasing options helps save tax dollars.
2040 Comprehensive Plan adopted St. Louis Park’s 2040 Comprehensive Plan emphasizes the city’s five strategic priorities (see front page) in planning for the city’s future. The plan looks out to 2040 for growth and development, mobility in the community, environment and sustainability, housing, public safety, parks and recreation, neighborhoods and several other areas. Policies and direction for the city are laid out to guide daily, weekly and monthly decisions within a long-range perspective and framework. Visit www.stlouispark.org/slp2040 to view the plan.
Support small businesses Nov. 30 Mark Saturday, Nov. 30 on your calendar to shop small and support local St. Louis Park businesses! The City of St. Louis Park has joined cities and communities across the country and state in proclaiming Nov. 30 as Small Business Saturday. The city recognizes the importance of small businesses within the community and supports local businesses that create jobs, boost the economy and enhance neighborhoods. Visit www.ShopSmall.com to learn more.
City establishes efficient building and business climate champions programs In 2018, the St. Louis Park City Council passed a Climate Action Plan with the ambitious goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2040. As a step in achieving this goal, the city is advancing a youth-led initiative to establish a Business Climate Champions program. This program is intended to provide an opportunity for businesses to take a community leadership role and increase energy efficiency, reduce consumption and participate in using renewable energy. Energy benchmarking is a preliminary step to understand energy usage by tracking the energy performance of large buildings, promoting energy awareness and improving energy efficiency. The proposed efficient buildings program would require annual whole-building energy and water benchmarking for commercial, multifamily and public buildings over 25,000 square feet. Technical assistance will be provided for property owners, and city resources will be offered based on feedback from businesses. There is no planned cost to property owners except for a few hours of required data entry. Visit www.stlouispark.org/government/environment-sustainability for more information.
Canvassing underway for 2020 Census As address canvassing begins, census workers may draw the attention of residents who are concerned about the presence of strangers in their neighborhoods. Each temporary decennial census employee will have an official identification card with the employees name, picture and an expiration date. Regional level staff can be identified by their Personal Identity Verification (PIV) card. Both temporary and regional level staff can be identified by their laptop computer with a Census Bureau logo on the top and a black canvas bag with a Census Bureau logo.
To verify an employee with this type of ID, call the Chicago Regional Census Center at 1.312.579.1500.
Preserving affordable rental housing The city is committed to preserving affordable rental housing in St. Louis Park through the 4d and multifamily rental rehab programs. 4d affordable housing The 4d affordable housing incentive program helps preserve affordable homes in the city by providing a financial incentive that qualifies apartment owners for state property tax reductions. In return, owners must agree to keep 20 percent or more of their rental units affordable. The program also offers grants to help owners make energy efficiency, safety or other improvements to their properties. Applications are due to the city by Feb. 28, 2020. Visit www.stlouispark.org/4d-incentive-program for the online application. Contact Michele Schnitker, housing supervisor, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 952.924.2571 if you have questions. Multifamily rental rehab The multifamily rental rehab program provides moderate rehabilitation assistance to eligible owners of St. Louis Park multifamily residential rental properties with three or more units. The targeted properties are naturally occurring affordable housing (NOAH) properties that have been maintained, are in good standing and whose owners wish to make improvements to the properties. Buildings must be at least 30 years old and meet St. Louis Park’s definition of a NOAH property. The maximum loan amount per qualified rent restricted unit is $5,000, with a maximum loan per building/development of $50,000. Loans are zero percent interest and are due upon the sale of the property. Owners must restrict the rents for a 10-year term or until the sale or transfer of the ownership of the property. The goal of this program is to provide a rehab incentive for NOAH properties to improve their property without raising rents above the 60 percent area median income (AMI) rent level.
Spin scooters debut Spin, a mobility sharing company, has debuted its scooters in the city. Mobility sharing is a transportation solution ideal for short-distance, point-to-point trips. For more information about how to use and access Spin scooters, visit Spin’s website at www.spin.app or the city’s website at www.stlouispark.org/mobility-sharing. For more information about mobility sharing in St. Louis Park, contact Ben Manibog at email@example.com. Scooter users must follow the same traffic laws as bicyclists. They can be used on city or Three Rivers Park District trails, but can’t be used on the sidewalk according to state statute. To report unsafe or abandoned scooters, contact Spin at 1.888.249.9698 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also report unsafe or abandoned scooters at www.mystlouispark.org. Spin offers discounted and free rides through its Spin Access program. To be eligible, you must provide a proof of address and proof of enrollment in a city, state or federal support program with a low-income requirement (includes SNAP, TANF, WIC, HUD Housing Choice Voucher or LIHEAP). For more information, visit www.spin.app or call 1.888.262.5189.
Contact Marney Olson, assistant housing supervisor, at 952.924.2196 or email@example.com if you have questions. The lending center at the Center for Energy and Environment (CEE) will administer this program.
SWLRT construction underway
Bike lane safety for drivers and bikers Construction on Cedar Lake Road between Kentucky and Quentin avenues will be completed this fall. When completed, the city will have its first separated bike lane (SBL). Also known as a cycle track, a SBL is a bikeway that is separated from traffic with a vertical element. For Cedar Lake Road, the eastbound SBL will be behind the curb; the westbound bike lane is on the street. For more information, call the engineering department at 952.924.2656.
SWLRT construction continues; stay updated Heavy construction for the Southwest Light Rail Transit (SWLRT) has begun in St. Louis Park. Most of the construction activities centers on building the bridges to carry the relocated freight rail and regional trail. Work is happening at Louisiana Avenue, Wooddale Avenue, Highway 100 and Beltline Boulevard. Please look for notifications of upcoming road closures and traffic detours as work progresses at these locations. Go to www.swlrt.org to learn more about the project and to receive weekly updates. To report construction issues, call the 24-hour hotline number at 612.373.3933.
Drivers: • Never park or stop in a bike lane. • After parking adjacent to a bikeway, always check if a bicyclist is approaching before opening your door to avoid “dooring.” • Before turning across a SBL or bikeway, look over your right shoulder and check for bicyclists approaching the intersection. If a bicyclist is approaching the intersection, you must yield and let them pass before turning. Bicyclists may be more difficult to see because they could be coming from behind parked cars. Bicyclists: • Watch for passenger side doors opening and pedestrians crossing the bike lane. • As you approach an intersection, use caution and assume turning or merging motorists do not see you. • If a vehicle is illegally parked or stopped in a bikeway, you are allowed to merge left onto the street and pass the vehicle. Use caution when merging into a travel lane.
Join a life-saving community
Rainwater Rewards adds 29 rain gardens
This was a great year for the Rainwater Rewards program, with 29 residents applying for and installing a project in their yard to improve water quality in our creeks, wetlands and lakes. The Rainwater Rewards program helps homeowners control and manage stormwater runoff by providing financial and technical assistance to residents who implement stormwater management projects on their property. Since the program began in 2017, the following projects have been installed: • 53 rain gardens • Six rain barrels • Five tree plantings The city’s goal is to install more than 30 rain gardens in 2020. Visit www.stlouispark.org/rainwater-rewards for more information.
St. Louis Park residents are invited to participate in PulsePoint, a smart phone app that allows CPR-trained people to provide lifesaving assistance to nearby victims of sudden cardiac arrest. App users who have indicated they are trained in CPR and willing to assist in an emergency are notified if someone nearby requires CPR. If the cardiac emergency is in a public place and 911 has been called, the app alerts trained people in the vicinity of the need for bystander CPR, along with the dispatch of police, fire and EMS crews. The app also directs resident rescuers to the exact location of the closest publicly accessible automated external defibrillator (AED). PulsePoint is a free app and can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play. Visit www.pulsepoint.org for more information.
Join the lockbox program One component of community resiliency is the ability to provide resources for residents to stay in their homes safely and securely, for as long as they choose. The St. Louis Park Fire Department offers a program to residents who are worried that in case of an emergency, they may not be able to reach the door to let in first responders. Residents may request a secure lockbox, which is placed at the entrance door and contains a key to the home that can be accessed only by a special key carried by police and fire personnel. When help arrives, if no one is there to meet them, firefighters or police officers can open the door with the key in the lockbox instead of forcing the door open and causing damage and additional cost. The lockboxes are offered to St. Louis Park residents for a one-time fee of $50, which covers administration of the program for as long as the resident requires it. The lockbox, produced by The Knox Company, installs easily and holds one key. Should the resident move or no longer require the lockbox, it can be returned to the fire department. If you need to update the keys, notify the fire department. If you or your loved one could benefit from this program, call the fire department at 952.924.2595 to learn more.
Planning a recreational fire? Get a permit first.
Permits are required for recreational fires (in ground fire pits, portable fire pits, fire bowls, chimineas, etc.). Natural gas and propane fire pits and fireplaces do not require a recreational fire permit. Visit www.stlouispark.org/firepermit to view or print the permit application and to find complete information and regulations. For more information, call 952.924.2595 during normal business hours. There is a one-time fee of $25 for a lifetime permit for the current resident living at the property. Reminder: Please be considerate of your neighbors. 2 44
Be a Hydrant Hero Attend a hands-only CPR training session Do you know what to do if someone’s heart stops beating? Find out by attending a hands-only CPR class, hosted by the St. Louis Park Fire Department. Classes take place at Fire Station 1, 3750 Wooddale Ave. S. Participants must be age 15 or over (an adult or guardian must be present with participants age 15 – 17). There is a maximum of 15 participants per class, and minimum of five per class. The training isn’t a certification course; participants won’t qualify for a CPR certificate. Call Lieutenant Bob Hampton at 952.924.2599 with questions. Sign up at www.hocpr.eventbrite.com for one of the upcoming training dates: • Wednesday, Nov. 6, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. • Wednesday, Dec. 4, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. • Wednesday, Jan. 8, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. • Wednesday, Feb. 5, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Volunteer to become a Hydrant Hero! The St. Louis Park Fire Department asks homeowners and businesses with fire hydrants on or near their property to shovel the snow around the fire hydrant after each snowfall. Visit www.hydranthero.org to adopt a hydrant. Choose a hydrant, click on the “Adopt me” link and fill out the registration form – you can even give your hydrant a name! Questions? Call 952.924.2171.
Fight breast cancer: buy a pink police patch
The St. Louis Park Police Department has joined the Pink Patch Project, selling collectible uniform patches during the month of October to help bring awareness and an end to breast cancer. Pink St. Louis Park police patches are available to purchase for $10 throughout the month of October. Proceeds will help the Jane Brattain Breast Center purchase a second mobile mammogram truck. To purchase a patch, visit the St. Louis Park Police Department, 3015 Raleigh Ave. S., during regular business hours.
Holidays in the Community toy drive The St. Louis Park Fire Department and nonprofit Perspectives have teamed up again for the Holidays in the Community toy drive. This year, we hope to give toys and gifts to 200 families in need! Consider donating a new, unwrapped toy before 8 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 6 to: • Perspectives, 3381 Gorham Ave. • Fire Station 1 lobby, 3750 Wooddale Ave. S. • Fire Station 2 lobby, 2262 Louisiana Ave. S. When purchasing toys, consider the following: • Toys should be new, unwrapped and in the original packaging. • Gifts are meant for children ranging in age from 0 – 18 years old. • Don’t purchase toy weapons. • Stuffed animals aren’t accepted due to allergy concerns. • A wide range of diverse families are served. Consider buying culturally diverse items whenever possible (books, dolls, make-up, etc.). The fire department will deliver the donated toys to Perspectives, where they will be distributed to families in need around the community. Perspective's mission is to break the cycle for at-risk families and children for total family recovery. Visit www.perspectives-family.org to learn more.
Dispose of prescription drugs safely On Oct. 26 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., the St. Louis Park Police Department will be collecting unused or expired prescription drugs at the police department, 3015 Raleigh Ave. S. This event, part of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, is a safe, convenient and responsible way to dispose of unused or expired prescription drugs. Note: sharps (e.g. needles, EpiPens) will not be collected. If you can’t attend the event, a drop box is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week in the police department lobby to dispose of household medicines, including prescription, over-the-counter and pet medicines.
Neighborhood watch block captains needed! Neighborhood watch is a voluntary program to reduce the likelihood of someone becoming a crime victim. It works by teaching simple yet proven crime prevention techniques and by building relationships between neighbors and the St. Louis Park Police Department. Block captains help maintain the safety and well-being of their neighborhood by coordinating neighborhood watch activities for their block. These activities include: • • • • •
Serving as liaison between the block and police department Organizing their block's annual National Night Out party Hosting crime prevention meetings Distributing newsletters and crime alerts Attending the annual block captains meeting
In exchange for their service, block captains report an increased sense of neighborhood pride and improved relationships. To find out if your neighborhood is organized, volunteer to become a block captain or for more information, contact Community Outreach Officer Ken Sysko at 952.924.2661. You can also complete the neighborhood watch block captain application at bit.ly/2Z6qO8i.
Prevent water lines from freezing this winter Avoid frozen water lines this winter by taking these precautions: • Don’t set your heat below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. • Leave cabinet doors open under your kitchen and bathroom sinks. This will allow heat from the rest of the house to circulate around the pipes. • Wrap foam insulation around pipes that are more likely to freeze. • Consider running cold water on the lowest level of your home. Run a steady quarter-inch stream of water all day to help prevent lines from freezing. Note: The city will not provide any credits or discounts to run water to prevent frozen water lines. • Shut off and drain any pipes that lead to outside faucets. • If you are gone, have someone check your home regularly. Note: If your water lines freeze once and must be thawed, they are more likely to freeze again if you do not run water continuously. Call public works at 952.924.2562 if you have questions.
Block captains must be St. Louis Park residents and at least 18 years old.
Hands-free law helps address distracted driving This information is provided by St. Louis Park Police Chief Mike Harcey. According to the Minnesota Safety Council, distracted driving accounts for one-fourth of all vehicle crashes and one-fifth of all fatalities on the road. We have seen the impact of distracted driving in our community, and many tragedies have occurred across the state as a result of distracted driving. To begin to address the issue of distracted driving, the hands-free Minnesota law took effect in August. The new law allows the use of a cell phone as long it is done hands-free. Drivers can use their cell phone to make calls, text, listen to music or podcasts and get directions, but only by voice commands or single-touch activation without holding the phone. GPS and other systems that can only be used for navigation are exempt from the hands-free law. Drivers may not use their phone at any time for video calling, video live streaming, Snapchat, gaming, looking at videos or photos stored on the phone, using non-navigation apps, reading texts and scrolling or typing on the phone.
Fall is the time to remove buckthorn Buckthorn is a non-native, invasive plant that spreads quickly and chokes out native vegetation and ornamental landscaping. Fall is the best time to remove buckthorn from your yard because it’s easier to distinguish buckthorn from native plants. Buckthorn leaves will still be green, while native plant leaves are turning color or have dropped to the ground. Other identifiers include thorny stems and a lot of small black berries. To remove buckthorn, cut the stems to the ground, and then paint the stems, stump and exposed root flares with a non-selective herbicide or Tryclopyamine (Ortho Brush B-Gon). Chemicals applied in the fall or winter months are effective because the plant is dormant and the herbicide is transported to the root system. It is important to monitor and continue treating the area if needed since buckthorn seeds can remain viable in the soil for up to five years. The city actively removes buckthorn from park and city properties. Visit bit.ly/2VUKWVv for more information on buckthorn control or how to identify it.
It’s important to remember that at no time may a driver hold a phone in their hand unless it’s to get emergency assistance, if there is an immediate threat to life and safety, or when in an authorized emergency vehicle while performing official duties.
While the new law is an important first step towards safer roads for everyone, remember that hands-free doesn’t mean risk-free. In order to stay safe, keep your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel and your mind on driving.
Pruning your trees: timing is everything
St. Louis Park Police Department officers will be enforcing the new law, and we will continue to encourage everyone to stop all distractions while driving. Offenders may receive a citation. First-time offenders will pay a fine of $50 plus court fees, and every additional offense could result in a $275 fine plus fees. The fines are set by state law, not by the City of St. Louis Park.
The best time to prune your trees, especially elms and oaks, is during the dormant season – November through March. DO NOT prune elms or oaks April through September. During these months, the fungus of Dutch elm disease and oak wilt disease are persistent and present within the atmosphere, potentially infecting any tree with an open wound (branch pruning location) through wind dissemination or insect transport.
Visit handsfreemn.org for more information on the hands-free Minnesota law.
Visit www.stlouispark.org/trees for a list of licensed tree services in St. Louis Park.
Nature center project taking shape City of St. Louis Park
The new interpretive center at Westwood Hills Nature Center is starting to take shape! The project is still on track, with completion scheduled for spring 2020.
The parking lot is currently closed and is being used for construction vehicles. The city has constructed a path from West Franklin Avenue to the current interpretive center building for visitors to use. During construction, parking is on West Franklin Avenue. N A T U R E
C E N T E R
There are alternative access points at gate 7 and gate 8, located on Virginia Avenue and Westwood Hills Drive. For additional details, view the alternate entrances map at www.stlouispark.org/whnc/new-interpretive-center. Drive carefully, park responsibly and be considerate of those who live on the streets being used for alternative parking and access points. Activities to enjoy during construction include exploring the 3.5 miles of trails, hosting a birthday party, participating in a variety of nature programming or visiting the current interpretive center. The playground is unavailable during construction. Visit www.stlouispark.org/whnc/new-interpretive-center or text SLPMN WHNC to 468311 for project updates.
Overloaded electrical circuits
New pickleball and tennis courts ready for play Pickleball and tennis players have new and improved courts to play on in St. Louis Park! This summer, the grass space behind the sand volleyball court at Wolfe Park, 3700 Monterey Drive, was constructed into five new pickleball courts. Additionally, three tennis courts at Carpenter Park, 4900 Hwy. 7, were updated.
Join the organics program! Over one-third of St. Louis Park households participate in weekly collection of food scraps and more through the residential organics program. If you’re not participating, what’s stopping you?! The most common reasons people hesitate to sign up are addressed below. Visit www.stlouispark.org/organics to learn more about this weekly collection option, find set-up tips and sign up today. Don’t think you have enough food scraps to make it worthwhile? Any amount of food kept out of the trash helps the environment. Food scraps, paper towels and facial tissues can all be composted through the city’s organics program. Give it a try, you might be surprised at just how much you’re throwing away!
Last week of yard waste collection is Nov. 25 The last week for yard waste collection is the week of Nov. 25. If there is a significant snowfall before Nov. 25, yard waste collection will end at that time. If this occurs, an update will be posted at www.stlouispark.org/yard-waste. Remember, yard waste must be in reusable containers, compostable bags or bundled separate from garbage. Visit www.stlouispark.org/yard-waste for guidelines on setting out yard waste for collection.
Recycle smart! Look for the recycling guide inserted in this Park Perspective. Post the guide at home so everyone in your household knows what can be recycled. Check out the back side of the guide, which provides more information on participating in the city’s curbside and drop-site organics programs.
Short on space? Get creative! Consider collecting in a countertop pail, under the sink or a standalone bin on the floor. To set out your organics for collection, the city provides a 30-gallon brown-lidded organics cart that measures 39 inches high, 24 inches wide and 23 inches deep. You can also make more room outside and save money by downsizing your garbage cart. Worried about odors? Remember that you are currently putting these materials in your garbage; participating in the organics program just means you put them in a different container. Collection is weekly, just like garbage. Material must also be bagged in certified compostable bags, which helps keep your cart clean. Do you use your garbage disposal to get rid of your food scraps? This stresses our wastewater system and can cause expensive clogs in your pipes or sewer line. There’s a better place for your food scraps! Join St. Louis Park’s organics program so your food scraps are composted instead.
Recycling Champions training
Be prepared for snow season!
Oct. 24, 6:30 – 8 p.m. Municipal Service Center, 7305 Oxford St.
The Recycling Champions program was launched in 2017 to engage residents who are interested in improving recycling and promoting waste reduction. Through the program, residents serve as ambassadors in the community by sharing information and volunteering at events. All St. Louis Park residents are welcome to attend the training. Visit www.stlouispark.org/recycling-champions to learn more. If you would like to attend the training, RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or 952.924.2187. Please include your phone number and neighborhood.
Save the date: Media and entertainment swap!
What does the city plow? The city plows city-owned roads, alleys, trails and parking lots. A few county and state highways are located within the city, which are maintained by Hennepin County and the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT). Private association roads are plowed by those associations.
When does plowing start? Snow removal start times are based on the latest forecast information on timing, intensity and duration of the snow event. In most cases, snowplowing operations begin between midnight and 4 a.m., but the exact time depends on weather conditions. Citywide snow removal starts when snow accumulation approaches 2 inches or more.
In what order is the city plowed?
Jan. 22, 5:30 – 7 p.m. The Rec Center Banquet Room, 3700 Monterey Drive
The city is hosting another swap! This time, go through your music, movies, books and games for the city’s first media and entertainment swap! Start your new year off right by resolving to reuse in 2020! The event is free and open to everyone. Visit www.stlouispark.org/waste-reduction for details and a list of accepted items.
The city is divided into 11 plow areas, each with high-volume and residential streets. In a snow event, high-volume roads are plowed first; residential streets and cul-de-sacs are plowed next.
How long does it take to plow the entire city? The city’s goal is to clear streets and cul-de-sacs within 10 hours during an average 3- to 6-inch snowfall. Each additional inch of snow will increase snow removal time.
Minnesota GreenCorps service
What slows down the plows?
Jennifer Wyers served the city as a Minnesota GreenCorps member from October 2018 to August 2019, focusing her time on improving event recycling and internal city recycling. While at the city, she helped improve recycling at numerous events, trained volunteers, led waste sorts at city hall and the Municipal Service Center and gave workshops at multifamily buildings. Jennifer also conducted an “I don’t know” bin project which helped the city understand what items are confusing to staff when it comes to recycling. Thank you to Jennifer for her year of service!
How will I know when it’s safe to clear my driveway without getting plowed in?
Help keep streets and waterways clean St. Louis Park cleans city streets to provide safe road conditions for transportation and to protect the environment. All city streets are swept at least twice a year – in the spring and again in the fall. Fall street sweeping started in early October and will continue until the snow falls. The goal is to remove leaves from the street to prevent plugged storm drains and to ensure streets are as clean as possible before the first snowfall. When leaves accumulate in the street, sweepers are ineffective. The city first uses equipment to push leaves into a pile and haul them away. The sweepers will then resume sweeping to do a final cleanup. Weather greatly influences the amount of sweeping completed in the fall. Here’s how you can help: Keep streets clear If possible, avoid parking on streets during daytime hours. “No parking” signs aren’t posted for street sweeping since work is ongoing as long as the weather cooperates. However, crews can do a better job when cars aren’t blocking access to the curb. Keeping storm drains clear of obstructions reduces the chance of flooding in the event of heavy rains. Visit www.stlouispark.org/floodplain for more information on flood hazards, risks and building responsibly. Protect local waters Grass clippings and leaves in the street end up in local water bodies where they decompose and release phosphorous. Algae use this nutrient to grow, which can turn lakes green and negatively affect fish. Leave grass clippings on the lawn, try composting them in your backyard (visit www.stlouispark.org/backyard-composting for details) or collect grass and leaves for pick up by the city’s yard waste hauler. Thank you for doing your part to protect local lakes, creeks and rivers!
Adopt a storm drain
Snowfall before and during rush hour will cause more plowing delays than snow falling from midnight to 3 a.m. Remember, if you are stuck in traffic, so are the plows. Additionally, heavy, wet snow followed by a cold snap requires more time to clear than dry snow.
Wait until your street is plowed to the curb. Also, depending on the amount of snowfall, plows may come through multiple times. To help avoid getting plowed in, follow these tips: • Move snow to the right or left of your driveway. • Clear an area of your property on both sides of your driveway, along the roadway. This gives plows a place to push snow and reduces the chances of it piling up across your driveway entrance. • Remember, it’s against the law to plow, blow or shovel snow into or across any street or alley.
How is salt used for snow and ice control? Due to environmental concerns about high salt (chloride) levels found in water bodies, including Minnehaha Creek, the city closely monitors the amount of salt applied by city vehicles. This concern is balanced with the responsibility to provide the traveling public with a safe driving surface. Current practice limits ice control to streets and alleys when needed. It does not allow for salt on sidewalks or trails. Through automated vehicle location (AVL) on snow removal equipment, the city can monitor how much salt is being applied and where. Application rates can be adjusted based on current weather conditions, using real-time data to be most effective for both environmental and safety concerns. The city’s equipment is checked and calibrated each year to ensure accuracy.
What should I do in a snow emergency? The city may declare snow emergencies for major snow events of 3 inches or more. During a snow emergency, vehicles must be parked off the street until the street is plowed to the curb. Vehicles that aren’t moved may be ticketed and towed. See below for ways to stay informed.
How will I know if there’s a snow emergency? The city announces snow emergencies in several different ways. Use any of the following to find out if a snow emergency has been declared. • Visit the city website at www.stlouispark.org or www.slpsnow.org. • Sign up for ParkAlert, the city’s citizen notification system, at www.slpsnow.org. The system automatically calls all phone numbers listed in the white and yellow pages, but signing up lets you choose how you want to be contacted. Choose text messages, emails, cell phone calls, landline calls or all of the above. Note: Your telephone caller ID will show 952.924.2646 when you are called by ParkAlert; you may wish to save this number in your contacts. • Download the mystlouispark app in the App Store or Google Play Store for free. The app will display an alert when a snow emergency is in effect. • Follow the city’s social media sites on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (@stlouispark), as well as Nextdoor. • Sign up through GovDelivery for email and text notifications for snow emergencies and other events at www.stlouispark.org/sign-up. How will you know if a snow emergency is in effect? • Call the winter parking hotline at 952.924.2180. Register Sign up for ParkAlert at slpSNOW.org. • Watch ParkTV or the local television news stations (Channels 4, 5, 9 and 11). Choose how to be contacted: text message, email, cell phone call, land line call or all of the above.
How will you know if a snow emergency is in effect? Register
Sign up for ParkAlert at slpSNOW.org. Choose how to be contacted: text message, email, cell phone call, land line call or all of the above.
Download the MyStLouisPark app in the
Register Follow iTunes or Android store for free. How will you know if a snow emergency is in effect?
Sign up for ParkAlert at slpSNOW.org. Download Choose how to be contacted: text
Download MyStLouisPark inline the message, the email, cell phone call,app land iTunes store for free. call oror allAndroid of the above.
St. Louis Park residents are invited to adopt a storm drain by committing to keep Download it clear of leaves, trash and other debris. The simple act of sweeping andFollow cleaning Download the MyStLouisPark app in the iTunes or Android store for free. Check the city’s social media sites @stlouispark up around a storm drain protects creeks, wetlands and lakes by preventing pollution from entering our shared waterways. Visit www.adopt-a-drain.org/map Follow Or call the winter parking hotline at 952.924.2180 the city’s social media sites @stlouispark to sign up! Since the program started in April 2019, 82 storm drains haveCheck been adopted and 543 pounds of material has been removed from these drains! Or call the winter parking hotline at 952.924.2180
at www.slpsnow.org for ParkAlert. the city’s social media sites: Choose how you want to be @stlouispark nextdoor.com Follow contacted: text message, email, @stlouispark Check the city’s social media sites @stlouispark @stlouispark cell phone call and/or landline call.
the mystlouispark app in the App Store or Google Play Store for free.
for text or emails notifications: www.stlouispark.org/sign-up
Or call the winter parking hotline at 952.924.2180
Call the winter parking hotline: 952.924.2180 www.parktv.org
Park Perspective - October 2019