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QuikTrip Passes, But Citizen Referendum Looms

The measure passed with one dissenting vote.

Maplewood City Council took the last vote on QuikTrip’s move to the intersection of Manchester and Big Bend at its meeting on Tuesday. Mayor James White said the process took longer than any previous measure, including Maplewood Commons.

It passed, with Councilman Shawn Faulkingham voting no. He was opposed to totally closing off Martini Drive, which had already passed as an amendment.

Resident Tonya Powell wants Maplewood residents to have the last say.

She said in public comments that the QuikTrip situation is a “nightmare that has gotten worse,” and that if it passes she’ll organize a referendum and put it to the voters.

“We have no other choice,” she said after the meeting.

“We have five days from tonight to get our citizen group together and register with city hall that we’re going to push for a referendum, then we have 30 days to collect our signatures, and force them to hold a special election and take it to the people.” she said. “Then they’ll have to do the right thing.”

QuikTrip real estate manager Alan Renner said “we’re committed to this deal,” even if QuikTrip has to wait until after a municipal election.

“We actually believe what we’re doing here will make this intersection safer,” Renner said. “We’ve pointed out some deficiencies that the school board has adopted.” He said they’re also working with St. Louis County and MoDOT for improved signalization and signage.

“We’ve come to an agreement on 60-70 percent of them,” he said. “Some just don’t make sense to do.”

School board president Maria Langston said the board is disappointed. “We feel that what ultimately was voted on this evening was not any safer, and in fact creates more issues for the safety of our students.”

The board sent a letter to Mayor James White with a list of requirements days before the meeting.

Mayor James White said the whole safety issue could have been avoided.

“What’s aggravating is, the school district has within its means to cure that intersection by bussing 60 kids,” he said. “That’s all they have to do and the controversy is gone.” He said the district encourages walking and bicycling for the fitness benefit.

Also in Patch:

  • Maplewood QuikTrip Vote Tabled Before Final Vote

 

 

Beverly Tronicek November 30, 2012 at 10:19 PM
Actually, in addition to saying that the kids could be bused instead of walking, the Mayor said other offensive and/or accusatory comments. I was shocked and disappointed. Something like..."We're DONE working with the School Board..." I have attended nearly all of the meetings since August, and my observation is the the Mayor,City Manager, City Council QT, and the School Board have never sat down around one table to work through this issue. The protocal of the city council meetings does not allow for real conversations to take place. The real conversations must take place during work sessions. Unfortunately, work sessions involving all of the key players have not occured. Individuals have met, but this has been ineffective. Beverly
Josh November 30, 2012 at 10:42 PM
Fair enough, Jeannine. I appreciate your point and I would like to see the context of the mayor's quote. I am not opposed to the QT relocation, but the suggestion of bussing kids who normally would walk or bike to school just to accommodate a business deal is a ridiculous suggestion, and in this case, is unnecessary. I was surprised to see that the mayor (or anyone) would make such a suggestion.
Sarah K December 12, 2012 at 09:26 PM
For drivers and pedestrians, I think Quick Trip will improve safety in this intersection. Driving east on Manchester turning south on Big Bend is always frightening - you have to pull into traffic to see past the current building in order to make your turn. Also, it can be tough to see pedestrians if you heading south on Big Bend turning west on Manchester due to the current building not being set back. Because of the paved area and the Quick Trip building being set back, I will feel much safer as a driver and pedestrian at this intersection.
Maplewood4Me December 13, 2012 at 11:59 AM
I agree with Sarah K. The building that is there now is obtrusive. I make those turns she mentioned on a weekly basis and your sight is impaired due to that building being so close to the road. Quik Trip will open up that area making it safer for traffic and pedistrians to see each other and the turning ratio not as tight as it is now on Martini.
Ilovemaplewood January 31, 2013 at 07:24 PM
I agree very much with Jane and the Sara(h)s. Each of us can think of our "dream plan" for the northwest corner of Manchester & Big Bend - a park with gardens and fountains, perhaps? Most probably wouldn't choose a Quiktrip. But the reality of the situation is that it is not our decision to make - this is a privately owned lot we are talking about. This is up for debate due to the nature of the proposed business (a gas station) and has nothing to do with the amount of traffic the business is expected to receive or safety concerns (which, to be clear, I believe are of UTMOST importance). Quiktrip has offered to work with the city to make the intersection (which is EXTREMELY unsafe as it stands today) more safe and has even offered to hire a crossing guard during times when most students traverse that section of the road. So, I think we have to think long and hard about what we might end up with if a business other than QT goes in at that corner, and if things fall through with QT, one will. That business likely won't have to work with the Citizens of the Maplewood and/or may not have the resources to improve the safety of the intersection. There are inherent problems when a school is located near a busy intersection or when houses are located near commercial zones. But, there has to be a balancing of interests and concessions made. The QT move can be a great thing for our Maplewood, we just have to be open-minded and look for creative solutions.

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