Ramsey County to reconfigure Rice Street in St. Paul

2021-12-08 18:24:25 –

Ramsey County has announced plans to narrow Rice Street from four lanes to two lanes in most of St. Paul, with the goal of increasing pedestrian and vehicle safety.

The $ 16 million road project also includes a dedicated central turn lane, a 6-foot wide sidewalk on one side, and a 12-foot wide shared pass for pedestrians and cyclists on the other side. City and county leaders say it will transform the corridor from a shortcut for commuters to a modern “main street.”

The reduction of these lanes, called the “road diet,” usually slows down the vehicle.

“It generally slows people to the speed limit,” said Nick Fisher, a project manager and civil engineer in Ramsey County. “It works perfectly for 23 hours a day. If it’s a little more crowded, it can take an hour a day.”

There are trade-offs to improving safety, and some business owners say it causes problems. According to Fisher, the new design could eliminate street parking, but parallel parking will be 50-70 cars.

The road will be rebuilt in a two-mile section that begins on Pennsylvania Avenue, just north of the State Capitol, and continues to Wheelock Parkway. Under-road utilities and infrastructure, including stormwater systems, will be replaced and upgraded.

Within that area of ​​Rice Street, you can see 14,000 to 15,000 vehicles per day. City and county leaders agree that traffic is more dangerous than similar roads.

“Rice Street turned out to be one of the highest crash rates not only in St. Paul but throughout Minnesota. Engineers said this was a direct result of the current design, fast and directly in front of the school. He says he encourages weaving, churches, homes, businesses. ” “With these changes, Rice Street will be safer for people walking, cycling, using mobile devices, transportation and driving.”

Also, Rice Street will be more attractive, says Matas Castillo. The new design requires a 6-foot boulevard between the driveway and the pedestrian road. This separates the vehicle from pedestrians and reserves space for small trees, planters and green spaces.

The county has worked with the community for over two years, including hiring artists as liaisons and investigating neighbors, and received about 200 comments through an online portal. Fisher said most of the feedback was in favor of the redesign. The biggest criticism was concern about lane and parking reductions.

This is a concern for Rice Street business owners who say they need street parking for their customers and deliveries.

“We want to keep it as it is,” said Brian Yochi, whose family has owned Rice Street Doit Best Hardware for 41 years. “I think it will cause confusion.”

Vito Sauro, chairman of the North End neighborhood, said he understands the business owner’s concerns but still supports the county’s comprehensive plan.

“I know companies aren’t aware of that yet, but it’s amazing to companies,” he said. “This redesign will bring so many new life and accessibility to the neighborhood.”

By reducing the number of lanes, people, whether residents or visitors to the area, will be able to safely cross the street, Saul said.

“I know there are a lot of people living on Rice Street. There are houses there. There are apartments. There are people living, working, shopping and going to restaurants and businesses often in this area. “I will.” “They want to feel safe while they do it.”

Ramsey County authorities hope to complete the design and approval in 2022.The county is currently accepting Public comments We have already received positive feedback on the design and from our key partner, the staff of the city of St. Paul. The county owns the road, but needs the help of St. Paul to move forward.

“City staff are now in favor of this plan,” said Randy Newton, a transportation engineer at St. Paul. “It needs to be changed. It’s a slightly chaotic corridor.”

Amy Blendmorne, Chairman of the City Council of St. Paul, also expressed support for the redesign.

“The rethought Rice Street will change the North End deal,” she said. “Rice Street feels like a modern, easy-to-walk main street right away, not a shortcut to high-speed commuting.”

Ramsey County to reconfigure Rice Street in St. Paul Source link Ramsey County to reconfigure Rice Street in St. Paul

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