A proposal to restripe Dale Street from four lanes to three this summer has been shelved.
In an email from Erin Labaree on June 19, project engineer with Ramsey County Department of Public Works, Larbaree said the county decided that any changes to Dale Street would require additional public meetings and more analysis of the project.
The cancellation came the day after the Como District 10 Community Council sent a letter to the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners expressing its opposition to the project, which had not been made public until just days before a public meeting was held at North Dale Recreation Center on May 28.
More than 100 people filled the meeting room that night to hear county engineers explain the project, which would have extended from Larpenteur to Simon avenues and converted the current four-lane street to three lanes, with a through lane in each direction, a center turn lane and a paved shoulder on each side.
Officials cited benefits to the four- to three-lane conversion: crash reduction (studies have shown that crashes are reduced by allowing left turns to occur from a dedicated turn lane rather than from a through lane), shoulders that would provide an area for bicyclists and pedestrians to use the road more safely, reduced speeds and improved pedestrian crossings (pedestrians would have to cross just two travel lanes rather than four).
The county had received a $49,000 federal grant for the project. The project needed to be authorized by June 30 to use the grant money, which now will be returned to the federal government, Labaree said.
Many residents at the May meeting said the June deadline did not allow enough time for the community to make an informed decision. The District 10 letter sent to the commission said the plan “was developed without any input from local residents.”
The Como Community Council’s letter urged the county to put the Dale Street project on hold.
In her email, Labaree said that residents questioned the loss of parking, increased congestion and the frequent stopping of service vehicles, such as garbage trucks and buses, as potential problems, but the “most significant concern raised at the [May] meeting was the short timeframe for the public- involvement process.”
The District 10 Land Use Committee will launch a community conversation about how best to build a better Dale Street at its regular monthly meeting on Monday, June 30, at 7 p.m. at North Dale Recreation Center, 1414 St. Albans St. N. Interested residents are encouraged to attend.