Raymond Avenue from Energy Park Drive north to Como Avenue will be under construction in 2016. But the schedule for the project and the details are still in the planning stage.
Barb Mundahl, project engineer for the City of St. Paul, met with the District 12 Transportation Committee and St. Anthony Park residents on Oct. 12 to gather feedback for the project. Most of the nearly 20 residents who came to the meeting live on or near that section of Raymond.
The 2016 construction is the third phase of a project aimed at making Raymond Avenue more pedestrian friendly and slowing traffic on the avenue. The city is looking at two options in the redesign of the 42- foot-wide street, both of which would have one lane of traffic going in each direction and bike lanes on both sides of the street, Mundahl said. One option is to have no parking on either side of Raymond, which would allow a 34-foot wide street with two 11- foot-wide travel lanes and two 6-foot-wide bike lanes on each side. This option would also allow wider boulevards.
The other option is to allow parking on the street, leaving the street at the same width it is now, but banning parking and narrowing the street at the school crossing, the location of which has not been decided. Currently Raymond is posted as no parking from just south of Gordon Avenue to Como. There is currently a school crossing at Gordon. Mundahl is recommending that the grassy medians at Gordon be removed and the street be reduced to 34 feet wide there if the crossing stays there.
Mundahl described two options for the road configuration under the railroad bridge: Leave the walkway elevated (as it is now) or bring it down to street level to eliminate the need for railings. The options for bikes under the bridge are bike lanes on the roadway or a bike path elevated with the sidewalk. She is also recommending that 24-hour lighting be installed under the railroad bridge between Energy Park Drive and Blake Avenue.
Attendees weighed in on concerns about the speed of vehicles using Raymond, hazards of taking left turns onto Blake, biking under the railroad bridge and the schedule for the project.
Mundahl was urged to get the project started early so that it would be finished before the Minnesota State Fair begins at the end of August. Raymond Avenue is a trunk highway owned by Ramsey County and partially funded by the state, Mundahl explained, and that means that any project involving the street requires approval by the county, the state and the City of St. Paul.
“It’s a very complicated relationship,” she said. She assured the people at the meeting that she would “do everything I can to make it so,” but she couldn’t guarantee the scheduling. Raymond Avenue Phase 2 construction between Hampden Avenue and Energy Park Drive is expected to be completed by the end of November.
Initiated by District 12 residents and officials, planning for this project began in 2004 with the central aim of calming traffic along the corridor. Raymond was constructed in 1923 and is the only north-tosouth route in the neighborhood. Phase 1 of the project was completed in 2013.