Past Transportation Committee Topics
City Council approves Ayd Mill Road with new bike/ped trail
On August 1st the City of St. Paul began the repaving and redesign of Ayd Mill Road.
In the fall of 2019, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter announced that Ayd Mill Road will be resurfaced into a “complete street” as part of a mill-and-overlay project in 2020. On April 22, 2020 the City Council voted 4 to 3 to fund the $7.5 million project.
The city's plan as approved and currently under construction will retain two lanes of southbound traffic and convert the northbound lanes into one lane for vehicles and a two way separated trail for bicycles and pedestrians. The project also includes major sewer work, improved left turn lanes, improved lighting, and a mill and overlay of the road.
At its meeting on December 4, 2019, the Union Park District Council (UPDC) voted unanimously to support Mayor Carter’s plan for Ayd Mill Road. The Mayor’s plan was also supported unanimously by our Transportation Committee and by community members who completed a preference ballot at the Transportation Committee meeting on November 11, 2019. The full resolution passed by both committees can be read here.
St. Paul Healthy Transportation for All
This initiative aimed to support the creation of an environmentally sound and economically efficient multimodal transportation system that will be equitable and improve public health. UPDC continues to be active in this group, participating in and facilitating dialogues between city staff, politicians, advocates, and other District Councils.
City-Wide Pedestrian Safety
UPDC is consistently involved in efforts to enhance our streetscape for people who walk and improve compliance with laws that protect pedestrian safety. In Minnesota, every intersection is a crosswalk, and vehicle drivers must yield to pedestrians at any intersection! (Minnesota Statutes § 169.21)
On March 17th, UPDC kicked off a series of pedestrian safety events as part of the new Stop for Me campaign. Stop For Me is a yearlong effort to improve safety for people who use St. Paul’s sidewalks and cross our streets. The campaign is organized by St. Paul’s 17 District Councils, St. Paul Smart Trips, and the St. Paul Police Department.
On average, a pedestrian or bicyclist is hit in St. Paul every other day. Last year, six people were killed while crossing St. Paul streets. These injuries and deaths are preventable. No one wants to be involved in a crash. Look for pedestrians at every corner, and stop for them every time. It's the law. Check out this video to learn more.
Watch for our future events and stay connected to the new campaign by visiting the Stop for Me website and reading the news coverage below:
St. Paul launches effort to change the city's driving culture - by enforcing pedestrian laws
St. Paul Police Department launches 'Stop for Me' Campaign
St. Paul Police step up pedestrian safety law enforcement
St. Paul launches safety campaigndays after woman was hit crossing street
St. Paul launches campaign to keep cyclists, pedestrians safe
Stop for Me seeks to improve crosswalk safety
As St. Paul police prepare safety campaign, pedestrian death devastates family
Crystal woman identified in Tuesday's fatal car-pedestrian collision in St. Paul
Southbound lane of MRB converted to temporary bike and pedestrian use
In April, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter announced road conversions for 2021 on four popular roadways throughout the city. Lanes on selected roads have been converted from motor vehicle traffic use to pedestrian and bicycle use to increase recreational opportunities and promote social distancing.
Mississippi River Boulevard (MRB) — from Ford Parkway to Pelham Boulevard — is included in the conversion. The southbound traffic lane is closed to motorized vehicles, while the northbound vehicle lane remains open to vehicular traffic and driveway access.
The closure started in mid-April and lasts through mid-July. In addition to MRB, the following streets were converted:
Como Regional Park: East Como Lake Drive from East Como Boulevard to Lexington Parkway
Phalen Regional Park: East Shore Drive from Johnson Parkway to Arlington Avenue
Cherokee Heights: Cherokee Heights Boulevard from Baker/Chippewa to Annapolis Street.
Earlier this year, the Transportation Committee of Union Park District Council held a public engagement process soliciting feedback from residents, including those who live on or near MRB, about a future lane conversion on the roadway.
Opinions ran strongly both for and against lane conversion, though conversion was favored by a majority of the more than 200 respondents, including the Desnoyer Park Improvement Association. UPDC sent a letter to the city in late April summarizing the engagement process but making no recommendation.
“Now more than ever, safe outdoor spaces for recreation and exercise are critical to our collective health and wellbeing,” Mayor Carter said in a statement. “We invite our residents, workers and visitors to join us in utilizing these spaces as we move through these challenging times together.”
For more information about Union Park’s MRB engagement process, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Potential medians along Snelling through Union Park
The Union Park Board endorsed the concept of adding medians along Snelling Avenue between Selby and Summit Avenues, and authorized additional community engagement on the idea.
Similar to the stretch south of Grand Avenue, the medians allow through-traffic and left turns at every other block (likely at Selby, Laurel and Portland), while providing pedestrian refuge and blocking through-traffic and left turns at alternate blocks (likely at Hague and Ashland). No parking along Snelling was lost as a result of the median installation.
2020 Transportation Committee Work Plan
The Transportation Committee approved its 2020 Work Plan in February of 2020 as part of UPDC's Community Engagement Contract with the City of Saint Paul. The 2019 Work Plan was approved by the Board of Directors in March and can be read here.
St. Paul Pedestrian Plan
The City of Saint Paul recently created its first-ever plan to support safe walking in Saint Paul. The plan will address citywide walking needs like filling in gaps in our sidewalk system, safer ways to cross streets, and education and enforcement programs to support safe walking.
The offical public comment was from December 14, 2018 - January 25, 2019.
The plan was presented to the Saint Paul Transportation Committee on November 19, 2018; it was presented to the Planning Commission on December 14, 2018 to request a formal draft plan release.
The UPDC Board voted in favor of supporting the Pedestrian Plan with two caveats, you can read UPDC's position here.
Permit Parking Area
Neighbors living in and near Parking Permit Area #8 are sought an expansion of the permit parking area as a response to concerns about current parking availability and the future impact of the Allianz Field Stadium. The committee requested data on the availability of parking and impact of nearby businesse on residential parking.
The outcome can be found here.
Snelling Ave. signal time changes
Mike Klobucar, from City of Saint Paul Public Works Department, presented on light interval changes at intersectins along Snelling. New traffic signal timings will be tested at intersections between St. Anthony and Selby Avenues; optimization of traffic signal timings on certain roadways is required every 5 years by state statute.
The changes will include removal of the flashing yellow arrows onto Concordia & St. Anthony during peak times, reduced cycle lengths at Selby, Concordia and St. Anthony, and removal of the automatic walk signal at Snelling & Selby (pedestrians will be required to push the button). If these changes are effective, they will remain permanently.
The committee asked Public Works to attend the November Transportation meeting and present on their findings after the changes have gone into affect.
Transportation Committee -- along with the Committee on Land Use and Economic Development and the full Union Park Board -- has submitted multiple resolutions (read here and here) to the city requesting that the drive-through be closed unless and until the persistent right-of-way obstructions created by queueing vehicles are resolved.
City staff were in negotiation with Starbucks for months on the creation of an acceptable site plan that would provide for adequate vehicle queueing space on the site.
The Committee and Board reviewed the revised site plan and UPDC maintains its opposition to the conditional use permit that allows Starbucks to operate a drive through at this location, which can be read here.
The City of Saint Paul Planning Commission approved the modified Starbucks site plan (234 Snelling Avenue North).
Permit Parking Changes
On February 12, the Committee hosted city staff to present on the city's permit parking study and recommendations. The city currently maintains 27 permit parking areas to make it easier for residents to find on-street parking near their home, many of which lie within the Union Park boundaries. In those areas, residents must purchase permits to park on the street, and parking by non-permit holders is not allowed, during certain timeframes. The city embarked on the permit parking study with an eye toward streamlining the system and making the areas more consistent.
Cretin Ave Working Group
The Transportation Committee formed a working group to address pedestrian safety concerns on Cretin Avenue from I-94 to Summit.
The group consisted of residents who live near Cretin, as well as interested Committee members and St. Thomas representatives. They met with city traffic engineers, Ward 4 staff, and other stakeholders to identify the primary issues, and hosted broader community discussions on the issues. Their goal was to arrive at cost-effective, shorter-term solutions that could be implemented to enhance pedestrian safety along the corridor.
The city had applied for grant funding from MnDOT to support the addition of sidewalks on the west side of the Cretin Avenue between I-94 and Marshall, adjacent to the Town and Country Club. That proposal was not funded.
The City of St. Paul replaced the Summit Avenue bridge over the Short Line Railroad and Ayd Mill corridor in 2018.
The bridge was at the end of its useful life, and the opportunity for redesign will allow the city to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety in the area.
Transportation committee members and residents had an opportunity to ask questions about two possible design options and offer feedback on design and proposed detours.
The committee has discussed safety and traffic concerns along the Hamline Avenue corridor between University and Summit Avenues. Among the numerous issues identifed are pedestrians crossing mid-block, traffic speeds, congestion created by left-hand turns, excessive "lane jockeying," and the need to accommodate bicycle facilities in the future.
The committee will continue to work on this issue and coordinate with city staff to plan for some cost-effective shorter-term improvements, especially near the Target store driveway.
The City has implemented biking improvements along Pelham after much community engagement, including a final presentation to our committee on Monday, March 13, 2017. Part of Saint Paul's Grand Round, Pelham received a two-way, in-street protected bikeway. The City Council held a public hearing on the project on Monday, June 7 before implementing the final proposal.
St. Anthony Ave Traffic Calming
A group of residents worked with Public Works Transportation Planners to address concerns about vehicle traffic speed along St. Anthony Avenue between Snelling and Prior Avenues. They analyzed traffic and parking data, and reviewed various options to achieve traffic calming along the variety of roadway widths presented there (the image below illustrates one of the options along the widest stretch).
Because St. Anthony Avenue is part of the City's bike plan, and because St. Anthony can provide an important connection to the site of the future soccer stadium, bicycle facilities were incorporated into the traffic calming solution.
While some of this project was implemented in fall 2017, the remainder of it was installed in spring 2018. If you have questions or comments about this project, check out the city's project page and contact Reuben Collins, the St. Paul Transportation Engineer working on the project.
Pedestrian Safety at Snelling and Selby
The Committee has frequently discussed ways to address resident concerns around pedestrian safety at Snelling and Selby Avenues. It advocated for the implementation of Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPI) there, which allow pedestrians a few seconds to begin walking before parallel vehicle traffic gets a green light.
Saint Paul had been piloting LPI at intersections elsewhere in the city, recognizing that there is a tension between adding time for pedestrians and increasing vehicle wait time (and congestion) and possibly pushing more traffic into neighborhoods. We have received positive feedback from residents on the LPI at Snelling and Selby.
Relatedly, as part of the Vintage project, the bumpout in front of Whole Foods was expanded to shorten the pedestrian crossing distance there. A right hand turn lane has been installed on Selby at Saratota to allow westbound vehicles to access northbound Snelling by using Saratoga and avoiding the Snelling/Selby intersection.