Changes to Margaret Street planned for this summer


courtesy of City of St. Paul • The City of St. Paul is planning to add features to Margaret Street to help slow down traffic to make the street safer for all modes of transportation. The street is already a marked bike boulevard, meaning that cars and bicycles share the same space. In addition, an off-street trail will be added along McKnight Road between Minnehaha Avenue and Hudson Road.

courtesy of City of St. Paul • The city is adding a median at the intersection of Johnson Parkway and Margaret Street to prevent Margaret Street traffic from crossing Johnson Parkway.

Project aims to improve bike and pedestiran safety in the corridior.

 

During the St. Paul City Council meeting on Feb. 7, the council gave it’s final approval for bike and pedestrian improvements to be made to Margaret Street this summer. 

According to city documents, the work will take place between Forest Street and McKnight Road and include construction of an off-street trail along McKnight Road between Minnehaha Avenue and Hudson Road. 

This follows more than four years of planning, which started when the Dayton’s Bluff Greenspace Committee proposed making such improvements to Margaret Street. 

The street will have a variety of features added to it, including traffic circles and bump-outs at intersections, in an attempt to slow down traffic and make it safer for everyone, including bikers and pedestrians, to use.

In the four years leading up to this summer’s construction, the project was given $100,000 to conduct studies and create designs. Overall, the work will cost nearly $2 million, using both federal and local funding. Property owners along the project corridor will not be assessed to pay for the work.

In 2014, Margaret Street was established as a bike boulevard route, with signage and striping added to mark it, meaning that bikers do not have their own lane, but share the road with traffic.

 

Improvements

According to city documents, the goal of the changes on Margaret Street include slowing down traffic, making it safer and easier for bikers to use the street, and to make the corridor easier and safer for pedestrians. 

Features to be added include traffic circles, curb bump-outs and ADA-compliant pedestrian ramps. Sections of the sidewalk will also be repaired.

Reuben Collins, a St. Paul transportation planner and engineer, said features like traffic circles help slow down traffic as vehicles navigate around them.

Curb bump-outs, which are built where pedestrians cross the road, make crossings safer, said Collins, because they reduce the amount of road space a pedestrian must cross and also make pedestrians more visible. Collins added that bump-outs make vehicles slow down as they turn.

City documents show plans to install traffic circles at Atlantic, Hazelwood, Flandrau, Hazel and Winthrop streets. 

Curb bump-outs will be installed at Forest, Earl and Ruth streets and McKnight Road. 

Sidewalks will be replaced on both sides between Etna and Birmingham streets, on the south side between Birmingham and Barclay streets, and on both sides between Hazelwood and Germain streets. Sidewalks are mainly being replaced due to damage and heaving from tree roots. 

 

Additional features 

In addition, the project will include a “geometric redesign” of the intersection at Margaret Street and Johnson Parkway, which will include a median installed that will prevent Margaret Street traffic from crossing Johnson Parkway.

A separate bike path will be constructed along McKnight Road between Minnehaha Avenue and Hudson Road, connecting to existing bike paths that are already in place along McKnight. 

The work is expected to start and be completed this summer.

Overall, the community and commuters have been receptive of the plan. In the more than 20 comments submitted to the city council, the majority supported making the road safer for all users. Many commenters described using the corridor to bike to jobs at 3M in Maplewood on the other end of McKnight Road. Others expressed concerns regarding the median at Johnson and Margaret and how that would affect traffic flow.

The work ties into the St. Paul Bicycle Plan, which was adopted by the St. Paul City Council in 2015 to designate how bike infrastructure will be increased over time across the city, connecting to infrastructure across Ramsey County.

 

Slowly expanding

While Margaret Street has been designated a bicycle boulevard for a few years, the St. Paul Public Works Department is considering a few other bicycle-related projects on the East Side and across the city in an attempt to expand the bicycle network.

The city held an information session in January regarding the addition of a marked bike lane on Prosperity Road, Hazelwood Street and Prosperity Avenue that will be added after those streets are repaved this summer.

Forest Street between Maryland Avenue and Seventh Street is scheduled to be resurfaced by the city this year as well; Collins said that may provide an opportunity to add bike features. He said the city hasn’t studied or engineered it yet, “but it’s something we’re considering.”

Collins added that the city is making plans to construct an off-street path along Johnson Parkway between Burns Avenue and Phalen Boulevard in 2020, further expanding bike networks on the East Side.

 


– Marjorie Otto can be reached at 651-748-7816 or at eastside@lillienews.com. Follow her on Twitter at @EastSideM_Otto

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