Our Transportation Committee meets on the second Monday of each month from 6:30-8:30 p.m. A link to the committee agenda will be posted on the UPDC Facebook page one week before the meeting. Past agendas and minutes can be found here.
The Transportation Committee advocates for the transportation objectives outlined in the Union Park Community Plan. The Committee addresses roadway design, public transit, bicycle and pedestrian access and infrastructure, traffic safety, transportation aspects of development projects and other topics. The Transportation Committee makes recommendations to the UPDC Board, and to the UPDC Committee on Land Use and Economic Development on transportation elements of development projects.
Everyone is welcome to attend committee meetings. Email email@example.com to sign up for the monthly e-mailing list and receive agendas, minutes, and the Zoom link. If you are interested in joining the Committee, you’ll need to attend three consecutive meetings to become a voting member. Learn more about joining a committee here.
Learn more about Transportation and planning terms, projects happening in Union Park, and answers to frequently asked questions here.
For information about how to get around in Union Park, go here.
You can learn more about our current and past work below.
Ongoing Committee Topics:
Planning for the future reconstruction of I-94 through Saint Paul
Review of the transportation elements of major development proposals in Union Park
Proposed changes / improvements to Metro Transit bus service
Responding to community concerns about traffic, bicycle and pedestrian issues, traffic safet
Recent Committee Topics
Our Lady of Peace Proposed Street Vacation
Proposed Street Vacation by Our Lady of Peace Hospice Center:
Our Lady of Peace, a hospice center located on St. Anthony Ave, plans to file a request with the City of Saint Paul to close St Anthony to through traffic between Finn and Cleveland. The Hospice would convert the section of St Anthony Avenue into parking for its staff and visitors. This proposal by The Hospice is separate from the approval The Hospice was given by the City to expand its current on-site parking lot from 15 to 40 parking spaces. The work to expand the parking lot will begin sometime in the summer of 2021.
At the UPDC Transportation Committee meeting on June 14, the committee voted unanimously to oppose the likely request to the City of Saint Paul by Our Lady of Peace Hospice (The Hospice) to vacate Saint Anthony Avenue between Finn and Cleveland. At its July meeting, the Union Park District Council (UPDC) also voted to strongly oppose the street vacation.
In voting to oppose a street vacation, the community and board had concerns about increasing traffic volumes on parallel streets and access for police/fire vehicles and snowplows. The roads running parallel to St. Anthony currently experience significant cut-through traffic during rush hours, especially when Cretin or Cleveland are congested. Closing St. Anthony would add traffic to the parallel streets. Given that the Hospice is currently expanding its off-street parking lot from 14 to 40 spaces, many neighbors and board members stated that a street vacation proposal should wait after the new parking lot is completed and usage of the off and on-street parking can be assessed. The board recommends that a parking study would make sense at that time.
Union Park undertook public engagement in the neighborhood on this topic. The Hospice made a presentation to the Union Park transportation committee in the spring. In late May and early June, Union Park distributed a flyer about a possible street vacation to the residences along Saint Anthony, Finn, Temple Court, Roblyn, and Carroll Avenues. Union Park accepted community input through email and at the Transportation Committee meeting on June 14.
Comments received by the Transportation Committee at its June meeting and in writing came primarily from residents in the adjoining neighborhood. Nineteen community members attended the committee meeting. All but one of the residents who spoke were opposed to a street vacation. Nine residents submitted comments by email - with eight expressing opposition and one in support. While many people mentioned the good work of The Hospice, concerns about the plan to close St Anthony Avenue included:
● Result will be increased cut-through traffic and higher traffic volumes on streets to the south (Robyn, Carrol Ave, maybe Iglehart). These streets already get a lot of cut-through traffic during rush hours when Cleveland or Cretin is backed up.
● Residents note that the current Hospice parking lot is rarely full and ask to wait until the Hospice parking lot is expanded this summer (from 15 to 40 spaces) to see what the need will be after that.
● Concerns about emergency vehicle and snowplow access to St. Anthony Ave
● The potential cost of the project and who would pay for it.
● Taking public land for private use.
● Traffic calming is needed on all these streets.
A resident of St Anthony Avenue provided comments in support of the project because of reduction of traffic.
On July 21st, 2021, UPDC formally sent a letter to Councilmember Jalali and Public Works Director Sean Kershaw opposing the street vacation. At this time, the Hospice is still waiting for the city to respond to its proposal.
MnDOT Plans to Raise the Speed Limit on Highway 280
MnDOT plans to raise the speed limit on Highway 280 from 55 mph to 60 mph.
On July 21st, 2021, the Board of Directors sent a letter to Melissa Barnes, the current Metro North area manager. The Board of Directors of the Union Park District Council (UPDC) also voted to support a resolution from our Transportation Committee to oppose MnDOT’s plan to raise the posted speed limit from 55 mph to 60 mph on highway 280.
Union Park believes that raising the speed limit will increase noise, pollution and contribute to more severe crashes, injury, and death.
A higher speed limit will also result in a more significant vehicle speed variation in a corridor with many trucks entering and exiting. Additionally, vehicles will travel into neighborhood streets at a higher rate of speed than they currently do, which will exacerbate the problem.
History of Highway 280
Highway 280 was built in the 1950s and connected to I-94 in 1968. After the I-35W bridge collapsed in 2007, Highway 280 was designated as the detour route, resulting in its temporary conversion into a full freeway. The intersections at County Road B, Broadway Street, Walnut Street, and Roselawn Avenue were closed. After the new I-35W bridge opened in September 2008, many of Highway 280's at-grade intersections were not reopened. In October of 2008, MnDOT proposed to make the post-collapse changes permanent and to further reduce local access along Highway 280. Highway 280 now functions more like an expressway.
Pat Thompson, A member of the St Anthony Park Community Council (SAPCC) Transportation Committee, wrote this article on the speed increase.
A chart and study demonstrating braking and stopping distances from a publication of the National Association of City Transportation Professionals.
Other resources can be found within the Transportation Committee's Highway 280 resolution.
Reconstruction of I-94
MnDOT has begun planning for the reconstruction of I-94
MnDOT will be starting the first major rebuild of I-94 since the highway first opened in the 1960s. When it was built, homes and businesses all along the corridor were removed. The heart of the Rondo neighborhood lost 700 homes, 300 businesses and $35 million in intergenerational wealth. Union Park also lost business districts and many homes.
Late last year, the Union Park District Council, along with 25 other community organizations signed onto both a community flyer and a letter to MnDOT about the project. UPDC called for less traffic and safer crossings – a quieter, greener, healthier corridor overall.
In February, the Saint Paul City Council also passed a strong resolution opposing adding any new lanes and calling on MnDOT to provide economic opportunities to local businesses, especially BIPOC- and women-owned, and reduce traffic volumes, leading to improved air quality, better health outcomes and reduced noise.
Later this year, MnDOT will be adopting the official “Purpose and Need Statement” for the project, which will guide the planning and study of project alternatives going forward. Public comments will be important!
To learn more, attend the monthly meeting of the UPDC transportation committee (second Monday of every month at 6:30 pm). If you would like a community speaker to address a group of neighbors or a civic organization about I-94 planning, email firstname.lastname@example.org
2040 Comprehensive Plan - Saint Paul for All
The City of Saint Paul has released the draft of the 2040 Comprehensive Plan - Saint Paul For All. The public comment period ended on January 11, 2019. More information on the Plan can be found here.
The 10 Year Plan, completed in 2016 by UPDC that informs the Comprehensive Plan, can be found here.
I-94 Reconstruction Planning
Since 2016, MnDOT has been working with neighborhoods, community groups, district councils, local governments and others interested in the future reconstruction of I-94 between St. Paul and Minneapolis. MnDOT has called this process Rethinking I-94. This process will guide future planning design and identify specific construction projects and their timelines. The goals of the study included:
Learning more about how I-94 is used by residents, and forecasting travel demands.
Producing a long-term, community-based approach to understand the needs of the area around I-94.
Gaining a stronger understanding of the structural conditions of I-94, including its bridges, tunnels and other infrastructure.
Determining how to best address the mobility needs of and around the freeway.
You can find an interactive map on the Rethinking I-94 page to add comments on your experience with the freeway or read the experiences of others. Union Park hosted MnDOT staff to discuss the project; you can review some of the information discussed in a Q&A with MnDOT. UPDC collaborated with Met Council and MnDOT to host engagement in 2018 along the corridor to hear more from residents on desired changes along the corridor.
Brenda Thomas of MnDOT presented on the work completed in Phase 1 of their Rethinking I-94 Iniative and on the plans for Phase 2, which will take place from 2018 to 2020/2021. The presentation is available here.
Dale Gade of MnDOT was present to answer questions on current MnDOT projects on I-94 while Phase 2 of Rethinking I-94 progresses. In 2019, MnDOT completed a Mill & Overlay for sections of I-94; more information is available here. More information on Phase 1 of Rethinking I-94 is available here.
Union Park concerns about and comments on MnDOT's "Purpose and Needs" statement and Statement of Goals" were identified in a memo passed by the UP Transportation Committee on January 13th 2020 and the Executive Committee of UPDC on January 15th, 2020. The memo can be read here.
The METRO B Line is Metro Transit's planned bus rapid transit (BRT) line that will provide faster and more reliable transit service in the Route 21 corridor along Lake Street and Marshall Avenue. Bus rapid transit provides a faster trip and an improved rider experience on the busiest bus routes. BRT routes have improved signage, faster boarding, more frequent service, a faster trip (with fewer stops and signal priority) and a more comfortable ride.
Each weekday, customers take more than 10,000 rides on Route 21, Metro Transit’s second busiest bus route. Buses carry approximately 20% of people traveling by vehicle on Lake Street today and make up less than 2% of vehicle traffic. But Lake Street is also one of the slowest transit corridors in the region. During rush hours, buses regularly slow to average speeds of 8 miles per hour. Frequent stops, lines of customers waiting to board, and red lights mean that buses are moving less than half the time.
B-Line Corridor Plan Update:
As provided by Metro Transit
What's new in the Recommended Corridor Plan?
-BRT station facilities and service characteristics
-B Line routing and stops
-Updates to station locations from the Draft Corridor Plan based on feedback from project partners and community members:
-Planned station locations: station intersections and location of platforms within each intersection. Once approved, this plan will set the locations for stations moving forward.
Changes to station locations from the Draft Corridor Plan include:
A recommendation for nearside platform locations at Lake & Cedar, Lake & Lyndale, and Lake & Bloomington based on continued coordination around bus priority treatments and other potential improvements along Lake Street
A recommendation for an eastbound platform at Selby & Arundel as opposed to Selby & Western based on continued evaluation of the two concepts presented in the Draft Corridor Plan
Updated scenarios for bus priority treatments and other potential improvements along the B Line corridor
Local and limited-stop bus service within and along the B Line corridor, including more information on the factors that will be considered as a final bus service plan is developed to complement the B Line
To learn more and utilize the window for public comment (available until August 13th), visit Metro Transit's B-line page here.
See older Transportation Committee topics and projects