Franklin Avenue to be repaved and improved for bikes and pedestrians

Paving and improvements to Franklin Avenue just west of trunk Highway 280 will cause street closures and other traffic disruptions this summer.

St. Anthony Park Community Council member Brad Engelmann said it will be worth the trouble. The council met with city officials in early March and reacted with enthusiasm to the plan, which Engelmann said will make the street friendlier to pedestrians and bikes and help draw the neighborhood together.

“They included nearly all the elements we look for in a street plan,” said Engelmann, who co-chairs the community council’s transportation committee.

The project, which stretches from St. Paul’s western border at Curfew Street east to Eustis Street, will be funded by city street improvement bonds and assessments to adjacent properties. Eustis Street serves as a frontage road along the western edge of 280 where it meets Franklin Avenue.

In addition to the typical updates to sewers and utilities, Engelmann said, the plan includes installation of sidewalks and boulevards where there have long been gaps and replacement of lighting with a “lantern style” that better serves bikes and pedestrians.

Curb bumpouts, improved crosswalks and bike lanes are also planned. “We’re excited about it,” Engelmann said.

The council has asked for bikelane striping to continue on Franklin east to University, a request that is still pending, he said.

All property owners directly affected by the Franklin Avenue project should have received a letter from the city in early March. Construction is scheduled to begin in May. St. Paul Public Works engineer Jess Farrell, who is heading up the project, noted that he’s aware that Curfew Street residents will need access during construction, “as it’s a dead-end street.”

Copies of correspondence and a calendar of construction updates can be found on the city of St. Paul’s Franklin Avenue Reconstruction Project web page, http://stpaul.gov/index.aspx?NID=5 628.

Engelmann and his colleagues also reconstruction of Territorial Road, the entire length of it,” he said. “It’s a pretty big vision.” Highway 280 is “a big physical barrier,” splitting the growing residential population west of the freeway from South St. Anthony Park to the east, Engelmann said. “If we do Territorial the way we’re asking, pedestrian access would be greatly improved.” “We’re a block from the Green Line,” he added. “It’ll socially connect all these people.” The other goal is to acknowledge that Territorial is the new truck route since University Avenue was reconfigured for light rail and lost its wide turn lanes, he said. “Vehicles are already using Territorial as an alternate,” Engelmann said. “We’d like it to be properly engineered.” While trucks are sometimes viewed as a competing interest with pedestrians and bikes, “they are important partners,” Engelmann said. “South St. Anthony generates as much property tax as anywhere in the city, in large part because of commercial and industrial. We feel that they’re underserved right now. The Territorial Road project would benefit them greatly,” he said. Engelmann hopes residents will weigh in with support for the Territorial Road reconstruction during April, when the city’s Capital Improvement Budget committee will be touring projects and ranking them for support in the city’s budget process next fall. Comments can be emailed to Community Council staff at info@sapcc.org or to St. Paul City Council member Russ Stark, ward4@ci.stpaul.mn.us.

“We are asking for reconstruction of Territorial Road, the entire length of it,” he said. “It’s a pretty big vision.”

Highway 280 is “a big physical barrier,” splitting the growing residential population west of the freeway from South St. Anthony Park to the east, Engelmann said. “If we do Territorial the way we’re asking, pedestrian access would be greatly improved.”

“We’re a block from the Green Line,” he added. “It’ll socially connect all these people.”

The other goal is to acknowledge that Territorial is the new truck route since University Avenue was reconfigured for light rail and lost its wide turn lanes, he said. “Vehicles are already using Territorial as an alternate,” Engelmann said. “We’d like it to be properly engineered.”

While trucks are sometimes viewed as a competing interest with pedestrians and bikes, “they are important partners,” Engelmann said.

“South St. Anthony generates as much property tax as anywhere in the city, in large part because of commercial and industrial. We feel that they’re underserved right now. The Territorial Road project would benefit them greatly,” he said.

Engelmann hopes residents will weigh in with support for the Territorial Road reconstruction during April, when the city’s Capital Improvement Budget committee will be touring projects and ranking them for support in the city’s budget process next fall. Comments can be emailed to Community Council staff at info@sapcc.org or to St. Paul City Council member Russ Stark, ward4@ci.stpaul.mn.us.

    Leave a Reply

    id, et, Donec consectetur nec justo consequat. ante. commodo at dapibus leo