South St. Paul approves road reconstruction projects


submitted graphic • Roads in the Seidl’s Lake neighborhood and 15th Avenue in South St. Paul are slated be rebuilt this year. The South St. Paul City Council approved the work Jan. 16.

The South St. Paul City Council approved two street reconstruction projects for 2018 during its Jan. 16 meeting.

The projects include reconstruction work on 15th Avenue North from Wentworth to Thompson avenues, and work in the Seidl’s Lake Neighborhood, which includes reconstruction of Maywood Drive, Deerwood Court, Fourth Street South and Deerwood Drive. The projects were approved unanimously by the council, without planned parking improvements to be made at Seidl’s Lake Park.

 

The projects

Chris Hartzell, city engineer, said both roadways have pavement beyond its useful life — the curbs and gutters on both are 40 to 50 years old.

The water main under Maywood Drive dates to 1961, and on 15th Avenue, the watermain was installed prior to the 1940s, adding to the project needs, Hartzell said.

A full reconstruction project was proposed for both roadways, including new pavement, curbs, gutters and watermains

Hartzell said city staff was also proposing to look at parking and water quality improvements at Seidl’s Lake Park.

There were two open houses about the projects. For the Seidl’s Lake Neighborhood, Hartzell said the main concerns raised included interior lot drainage off Maywood/Deerwood Drive and irrigation issues. Residents also requested a “No Outlet” sign. People were also concerned about the number of parking stalls that would be added at Seidl’s Lake Park.

For 15th Avenue, Hartzell said the biggest concern staff heard was about speeding between Wentworth and Thompson avenues. There was also a request for a stop sign at Wentworth Avenue and Congress Street, and to consider replacing the entire sidewalk on 15th Avenue.

Hartzell said in response to the concerns, staff looked at reducing parking spaces at Seidl’s Lake Park and working with residents to address irrigation issues. A “No Outlet” sign has already been installed in the neighborhood.

Regarding 15th Avenue, all sidewalks will be replaced and staff will work on speed enforcement issues, he said. The county recommends restricting parking at the intersection of Wentworth Avenue and a stop sign is not warranted, from an engineering standpoint, at Wentworth and Congress, Hartzell said.

The total cost for all the work is an estimated $1.6 million.

Hartzell said the goal is to tie other projects to the reconstruction projects to help ease the cost. These projects include Seidl’s Lake water quality improvements and pedestrian improvements at Fifth and Seventh avenues at Dale Street.

 

Parking concerns

Council member Bill Flatley asked if a parking lot at Seidl’s Lake Park was necessary because the city could just keep on-street parking.

Hartzell said it could stay as is, though he added that parking bays are normally preferred because they provided Americans with Disability Act accessibility to park. 

David Nelson, who lives in the Seidl’s Lake neighborhood, said during the public hearing his only concern is with parking at the park. He said the city should wait to put parking in until there is an idea of what the future park design and development will be.

“Right now, even if you put a playground in there, there isn’t much traffic on Fourth Avenue,” Nelson said. 

Ronald Joswiak said he wanted to take a common sense approach to parking. He said 14th Avenue could have angled parking along the right side of the road.

Other residents also voiced concerns over parking.

 

A vote with no parking

Council member Tom Seaberg asked if the water quality improvements at Seidl’s Lake were included in the estimated $1.6 million project costs.

Hartzell said that work is not included. The total cost if all related projects and reconstruction were bid together would be around $2 million.

Council member Lori Hansen said it makes sense to wait on parking at the park, while moving to address water quality and drainage issues. 

Flatley asked what will force the city to add handicap and other accessible parking to the area.

Hartzell said if improvements are being done, ADA accessible elements like parking should be added. He added the council could delay, but the risk may be a lawsuit for not including it as part of the project.

Hartzell said something like a playground going in could be when parking needs to be addressed.

The resolution giving the go-ahead to the projects was approved, without the proposed parking element at Seidl’s Lake Park.

Work is expected to start in late spring and end in October, with an assessment hearing planned for late September or October.

 

– Hannah Burlingame can be reached at 651-748-7824 or hburlingame@lillienews.com.

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