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As the 2020 construction season draws to a close, it’s high time for a look at all the new bicycle infrastructure built around the city this year. By all measures, it has been a banner year! Russ Stark, who serves as Mayor Carter’s Chief Resilience Officer, estimates that about twenty miles of new protected bike paths have been constructed around the city this year.
The Grand Round
The City of Saint Paul continues its ambitious work to complete the The Grand Round, a 27-mile scenic loop of protected bike trails connecting several of the finest public parks in our city. The circuit is part of a continuous green space system designed in the 1920s by H.W.S. Cleveland. . In 2020, Saint Paul Public Works (SPPW) completed the following:
- A repaved large section of the trail near Indian Mounds Park
- A protected path along Wheelock Parkway from the eastern side of Como Lake and most of the way to Lake Phalen Regional Park onSaint Paul’s East Side
- A new protected bike paths along Johnson Parkway (going north from Burns Avenue to Lake Phalen), which is significant upgrade in safety and comfort from the painted bike lanes on Johnson Parkway
- A protected trail along Como Avenue between the western edge of Como Regional Park on the east and Raymond Avenue on the west
The Grand Round will be a wonderful amenity for Saint Paul’s park system, and is an important step forward in making Saint Paul a safer and more comfortable place for bicycling as transportation or recreation.
New painted bike lanes downtown and all around
Several Saint Paul streets were repaved and striped with new protected bike lanes this year, including sections of Territorial Road, Fairview Avenue, Arlington Avenue, Western Avenue, and Suburban Avenue. Ramsey County added bike lanes to Energy Park Drive and a section of Larpenteur Avenue. It is especially good news that the Saint Paul City Council voted to install a second critical segment of the Capital City Bikeway, a planned series of intersecting bike routes in downtown Saint Paul. The segment, mostly along 9th and 10th Streets in downtown Saint Paul, is currently near completion.
Robert Piram Trail
A new protected trail was constructed along Plato Boulevard on the West Side of Saint Paul between Harriet Island Regional Park and the Saint Paul Downtown Airport, and continues south to Kaposia Landing Park in West Saint Paul. The route provides a safe, comfortable, and convenient connection between downtown Saint Paul and West Saint Paul, and includes several scenic locations.
Ayd Mill Trail
Earlier this year, the Saint Paul City Council made a big decision on an item that’s been brewing for decades — it finally voted to reconstruct Ayd Mill Road, a pothole-ridden city street that runs about 2 miles in a sunken corridor between Selby and Jefferson Avenues. Ayd Mill Road has long been used by car commuters as a high-speed shortcut between I-35E and I-94. The new configuration adopted by the City Council reduced the number of northbound car lanes from two to one, and added a wide protected path for bicyclists and pedestrians on the eastern side of the street. The design also includes signaled crossings and dedicated ramps for bicyclists and pedestrians to access the road from Grand, Saint Clair, and Jefferson Avenues, and a trail entrance near Selby Avenue. Eventually, we hope that another path will be constructed between the Ayd Mill Trail and the Midtown Greenway in Minneapolis, following the railroad right-of-way on the Short Line bridge across the Mississippi River. Until then, Ayd Mill Trail is a major victory in expanding routes for bicyclists and pedestrians and right-sizing our car infrastructure in Saint Paul.
Let’s get out and enjoy these new facilities, and be sure to stay engaged in 2021 as the city considers and plans more new bike infrastructure improvements.