Maplewood city council did as promised at last night’s meeting. They discussed amendments to the bill that would allow QuikTrip to move to the northwest corner of Manchester and Big Bend.
After discussion, no changes were made to amendments, and the council didn’t make the final vote on the bill that would allow QuikTrip to move.
Councilman Shawn Faulkingham started the discussion, saying a gate on Martini Drive at the north end of the potential QuikTrip lot, instead of a permanent barrier that could open for buses or events, as needed by the school.
He may have been surprised when City Manager Marty Corcoran said he had talked with school superintendent Karen Hall Thursday night after the board discussed QuikTrip, and one of the things Hall told Corcoran was that they wanted a permanent fence for northbound Martini, and wanted no gate for southbound traffic.
Councilman David Cervin said pedestrian traffic could still move, even if traffic were blocked, because part of the sidewalk is on school property, so there’s only so much the city can do to restrict people walking along Martini.
Mayor Jim White was against a gate. He said Martini should be blocked from both cars and pedestrian traffic. He said if a gate is accidentally left open, there could be problems with pedestrians.
“It’s all or nothing,” White said. “It’s a city street. We need to have control over it.”
Councilman Barry Greenberg said the school should have control over whether it is open or not. “If they think it’s best to have it open at times, I certainly don’t have a problem with that,” he said.
Cervin said they may get recommendations, but the safety of Maplewood’s streets ultimately falls on the council.
“I’m not willing to pass the buck, and say, ‘if there’s a problem, say this is what the school wanted so we wash our hands of it,'” he said.
The council eventually voted on a motion for a movable gate for northbound traffic at the north end of the property at Martini, and open on southbound. It failed, so the original amendment to the bill stood, with a permanent barrier on northbound Martini at the north end of the QuikTrip property.
White, Wolf, Cervin and Dunn voted no, to keep the northbound barrier permanent. Karen Wood, Faulkingham and Greenberg voted for a movable barrier for northbound traffic.
The council also considered a cut-through street between Big Bend and Martini, providing better access to the school from Big Bend.