A $5.4 million package of transportation improvements planned for Como Regional Park got off to a modest start in February, when the St. Paul City Council approved several street name changes intended to reduce confusion for park visitors.
Horton Avenue between Lexington Parkway and Hamline Avenue will become Como Avenue, while Como through the McMurray Field area will change to Wynne Avenue.
In addition, Gateway Drive on the southwest side of Lake Como is to be renamed Nagasaki Road, in honor of St. Paul’s sister city in Japan, a relationship that celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. There had been a Nagasaki Road across the river from downtown, but it was eliminated about 20 years ago when the flood levee around Harriet Island Regional Park was reconfigured.
The name changes were recommended by the city Parks and Recreation Department and endorsed by the City of St. Paul’s Heritage Preservation Commission. New street signs are expected to be in place by spring.
As for the rest of the projects funded through bonding by the 2014 Minnesota Legislature, a request for proposals to provide traffic engineering studies currently is being advertised. With construction scheduled to begin in 2016, the projects are intended to lessen congestion associated with the 4.4 million visitors the park attracts annually, 92 percent of whom arrive by personal vehicle.
Future issues of the Park Bugle will provide more information on these changes, which will affect Como Park access points on Lexington Parkway and several intersections within the park.