Trail to be constructed along Johnson Parkway


courtesy of the City of St. Paul As a part of the St. Paul Grand Round project, a two-mile trail will be constructed in 2020 along Johnson Parkway between Phalen Regional Park and Indian Mounds Regional Park, filling in missing pedestrian and bicycle connections.

images courtesy of the City of St. Paul The future Johnson Parkway trail will be constructed on the east side of the roadway.

Included in the design of the Johnson Parkway trail are possible intersection closures, which city planners argue add safety for pedestrians and bicyclists, as they’d make for fewer intersections they must cross.

As part of the St. Paul Grand Round project, a two-mile trail along Johnson Parkway will be constructed, providing bike and pedestrian connections that are missing along the corridor between Phalen Regional Park and Indian Mounds Regional Park.

The turn of the new year marked the start of the design process for the $7 million project. The new trail will be constructed in 2020, with plans being finalized this year.

According to city documents, the St. Paul Grand Round is an idea that has been around nearly as long the city itself, as it was originally planned for by Horace W.S. Cleveland, a landscape architect who helped establish various parks in Minneapolis and St. Paul in the late 1800s.

The Grand Round consists of a series of connected parkways and trails to get people around the city via many modes of transportation. 

The most recent work related to the Grand Round was the reconstruction of Wheelock Parkway between Rice and Edgerton streets in 2016 and 2017. 

While the Grand Round Design and Implementation Plan— which was finalized in 2016 — plans for a “full build,” reconstructing Johnson Parkway and creating the trail at the same time, the 2020 construction will only consist of trail construction. The trail will be constructed on the east side of the parkway.

Construction will include new lantern-style lighting to be installed along the parkway, new stormwater drains and planting new trees.

As part of the planning, the city has been testing intersection closures along Johnson Parkway, including at Bush and Reaney avenues, Fifth Street East, Fremont Avenue, Conway and Euclid streets, and Wakefield Avenue. 

According to city documents, when these intersections were closed, traffic shifted mostly to signaled intersections like East Seventh Street and Minnehaha Avenue. The shifts in traffic were relatively small, changing traffic volumes at the open intersections by varying amounts during peak rush hour times.

The goal, as explained in city documents, is to increase safety for all modes of traffic — including bikes and pedestrians. By removing vehicle access points to Johnson Parkway, city planners argue that it makes it safer for pedestrians and bicyclists, as it reduces the number of intersections to be crossed. 

A similar type of closure was constructed at the intersection of Margaret Street and Johnson Parkway last year, when Margaret Street was made into a bike boulevard.

Traffic will continue to be studied along Johnson Parkway and an open house will be held in the spring to share results and collect feedback.

The construction in 2020 will also include a trail along Como Avenue between Raymond and Hamline avenues, with the goal of improving connections between Como Park, the University of Minnesota St. Paul campus, the Minnesota State Fairgrounds and residential neighborhoods. 

The $7 million cost of construction will be paid for with about $1.5 million from the city and $5.5 million in federal funding. There will be no assessments for the project.

More information can be found at www.stpaul.gov/departments/public-works/projects/johnson-parkway-regiona.... Feedback on the project can be sent to Luke.Hanson@ci.stpaul.mn.us.

 

–Marjorie Otto can be reached at 651-748-7816 or at eastside@lillienews.com

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