The Recycling Association of Minnesota had a program called Recycle Your Holiday that arranged for drop off points for recycling of holiday lights — and they really should be recycled, not only to avoid waste but with LED strings, there’s more problematic waste to be addressed. Amazingly enough, recycling programs sort out the components, such as copper, glass and PVC.
Alas, the Recycle Your Holiday program is kaput, though many drop off points in the Twin Cities area have pledged to keep their own initiatives going, and for my many Twin Cities readers, I’ll add the link online.
Christmas lights can be dropped off at the Olmsted County Recycling Center Plus at no charge. They’re open Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and it’s easier than ever to get through there quickly.
Some of the big hardware and home improvement stores have run holiday recycling programs in the past — this year, Lowe’s is and Home Depot isn’t, though the latter does have recycling boxes for CFL lights, etc. If you’re aware of other holiday light recycling sites, pass them along and I’ll make them famous.
Dear Answer Man, what is the city doing about the lack of available parking downtown? I know young people think it’s just fine that there’s no parking downtown so that we have to take mass transit or ride bikes, but I am 73 years old and I can’t walk a long distance when I’m lucky enough to find a parking space.
I also can’t walk a long distance in a dark parking ramp when I’m lucky enough to find a parking space that’s NOT a contract space.
If this was New York, where I lived for many years, I’d take the train to Herald Square or the public library. In Rochester, I can’t walk eight blocks to the nearest bus stop and hope a bus comes within the next hour.
This is a much-needed perspective on downtown parking. Thank you.
We all know how challenging it is to find parking on the street or in ramps downtown. From 8 to 5, they’re as scarce as fans of the Army Corps of Engineers in Wabasha. Parking is cheap, but you often can’t find it — and if you’re older or have trouble getting around, you’re out of luck.
Here’s what Tony Knauer, the downtown parking czar, has to say:
“We do have those instances of being full in the ramps, particularly when there are large weekday events at the Civic Center. There are things we are doing and planning:
“We have always considered the spaces used for contract parking as a reserve that can be converted to short-term use as that demand grows. Currently there is a partial freeze on any new contract parking. If we open contract parking up, they will probably be to flex-parkers whose cards are turned off during events.
“The number of park-and-ride spaces has been increased significantly this fall, from 1,500 to over 2,200 spaces. We are currently at 1,600 parkers in that system. The idea is to park employees out of the downtown. This is in tandem with increased transit service. We are also negotiating the use of a large private lot for use during off hours for events.”
Tony says that Ramp No. 6 — the one that’s under construction directly outside the massive World Headquarters of the Post Bulletin — will have 640 new spaces and will be open by August. And much to the chagrin of those who prefer bike lanes, narrower city streets, fewer cars and limited downtown parking, there’s talk about the need for a seventh city ramp.
“Regarding turnover (in ramps), there are also enforcement strategies being considered,” Tony says. “This includes overtime enforcement, which should increase availability for shoppers and short-term downtown visitors.”