MNDOT & Met Council

Zelle 01Minnesota Department of Transportation Commissioner Charlie Zelle and Metropolitan Council Chair Sue Haigh invite the public to attend town hall meetings on transportation, including transit and bicycling.

 

Sue Haigh 01Thursday, Dec. 12 – Century College, 3300 Century Ave. N., Room #2315, White Bear Lake

For more information:

 http://www.dot.state.mn.us/metro/news/13/11/26metcouncil.html

A Rare Opportunity for Vadnais Heights

Vadnais Heights has a rare and valuable opportunity to obtain right-of-way along a key road in desperate need of a segregated bicycle and pedestrian path.

KoehlerMap

Koehler Road and Vadnais Elementary School.

For many in the western part of Vadnais Heights, about a third of Vadnais residents, one road, Koehler Road, provides the most reasonable and direct access for walking or bicycling to Vadnais Elementary School and to retail stores in Vadnais’ Center District. Koehler though, has numerous curves, narrow shoulders with numerous potholes and mailboxes extending in to the shoulder, and moderately heavy traffic that is often traveling 35 – 40 mph.

DSC 1161

Increasingly over the past three decades, parents have become wary of allowing their children to walk or ride their bicycles to school because of their concern about the safety of doing so along Koehler. Adults and children have also chosen not to ride their bicycles to the school or to local retail stores due to these same, very understandable, safety concerns.

A segregated bicycle and pedestrian path along the north side of Koehler would allow safe and direct access to Vadnais Elementary School and provide a very critical link in a safe bicycle and pedestrian network in Vadnais Heights.

A major issue with building any bicycle and pedestrian path is obtaining right-of-way from adjacent property owners. Increasingly, property owners have realized the increased value that these paths bring to their property which makes the acquisition process easier, but there can still be hurdles.

The owner of a large parcel of land along the north side of Koehler is currently trying to obtain variances to sub-divide this land for building five to six single family houses.

Now, while these lots, sizes, and setbacks are being determined, is the time for Vadnais Heights and Ramsey County to obtain any right-of-way necessary for a future path along Koehler. After the variances have been granted and legal work concluded, this will be much more difficult.

If you have an interest in seeing Vadnais Heights develop safer bicycle and pedestrian facilities, contact Vadnais city council members and Ramsey County commissioners with your interest in seeing them obtain any necessary right-of-way while this opportunity is available.

Providing this safe route to Vadnais School, which will allow children to safely walk or ride bicycles, will provide numerous benefits including improved health and academics, two areas in which our children are far behind other developed nations. This could also improve property values in Vadnais Heights as increasing numbers of buyers look for communities that are safe for walking and riding.

For more on why this is important, read Why Bicycle and Why Bicycling Is Good on the right side of this page.

For more on Vadnais Heights pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure read Vadnais Heights: Seven Wishes.

“A lot of people ride bikes here!”

We’ve had a lot of utility construction along the Hodgson path in Shoreview the past few weeks . Most of the companies have been quite good about not blocking the path. One company that couldn’t avoid having a truck in the path also did a good job of creating a little detour in to the street with cones for path users that was very much appreciated.

Blocked bike pathYesterday, as I was riding down the path to lunch, I saw some guys from a new company moving their trucks out of the path.

As I rode by I thanked them and one of the guys commented “damn, a lot of people ride bikes here.”

blocked bike path

He said he’d never seen anything like it. “Someone rides by here every couple of minutes.” he said with some bewilderment. He went on to describe the hundreds of school kids, people who looked like they must be 100 but were riding a bike, and everyone in between.

I guess Shoreview’s paths are working!

Filling Up The Bakfiets

LM600x 1363

When we need fuel for our boat, I’ll often ride my bakfiets down to the local station (about 1.5 miles each way). Not surprisingly, I get some interesting comments from people and rarely escape without at least one person asking what kind of gas mileage I get. I can carry three 5-gallon cans. Fun stuff.

Bakfiets, pumpkins, bicycle, halloween

Oh, it also carries 100 lbs of pumpkins, squash, green beans, and brussels sprouts home from the Shoreview Farmer’s Market (I ate most of the raspberries while I was there).

Ramsey County Projects Overview

These are some road projects coming up in the Northeast Metro (Northern Ramsey County). If you want to see better pedestrian and bicycling facilities included in these projects then make sure you let your county commissioners and appropriate city council folks know. Planning often begins two to four years prior to construction and it’s difficult to get changes included after about 6 months prior to construction. Adding proper pedestrian and bicycle facilities now, during construction, is very minimal cost. If it’s not done now, it will be another 30 years before the chance comes around again.

I am not including general signal revisions or mill & overlay projects. These though can be found in the Ramsey County TIP Report. Even though not major projects, these do offer opportunities for improvements to pedestrian and bicycle transportation such as better designed signals and button placements or narrowing of vehicular lanes and/or inclusion of bike lanes, cycle tracks, or paths on mill & overlay projects.

2014

Lexington Ave from approx 694 to County Road F (AH/SV) – Reconstruction.

Maryland Ave @ Payne Ave (SP) – Reconstruct Geometrics/Signals.

Highway 61 through downtown White Bear Lake (WBL) – Mill & Overlay plus additional improvements

2015

Hiway 96 from 35W to Old Hiway 8 (AH/NB) – Reconstruction

Lexington Ave @ Hiway 36 (RV) – Reconstruct Interchange. It is critical that they include adequate pedestrian and bicycle facilities on both sides of Lexington as well as allow safe crossing of Lexington.

Hiway 10 @ County Rd H (MV) – Geometrics/Signals.

County Rd E @ Snelling (AH) – Bridge Reconstruction. Critical that they include adequate pedestrian and bicycle facilities on both sides of Cty E and include a bicycle path along Snelling (under Cty E). Sadly they have included no safe bicycling facilities where Cty E has been reconstructed this summer between Snelling and Lexington. This is doubly critical to provide students at Bethel Univ with a safe route to Lexington Ave retail (they currently use the railroad line & bridge).

Raymond Ave from Hampden Ave to Energy Park Dr. (SP) – Reconstruction.

2016

Rice Street from Cty B2 to Cty C2 (RV/LC) – Reconstruction.

Hodgson Road from Gramsie to Bridge St. (SV/VH) – Reconstruction.

Raymond Ave from Energy Park Dr to Como Ave. (SP) – Reconstruction

County E2 @ 35W (NB) – Bridge Replacement.

2017

White Bear Ave @ 694 (WB/MW) – Interchange Reconstruction.

Hiway 96 @ 35E (WB/VH) – Interchange Reconstruction

Cty Rd D from Cleveland to Fairview (AH) – Reconstruction

Rice Street from N. Owasso Blvd to Vadnais Blvd (VH/SV/LC) – Interchange Reconstruction.

Trail Closing Updates from Ramsey County

The Rice Creek North Trail will be temporarily closed between the off-leash dog area and Lexington Avenue starting Aug. 28. The City of Shoreview trail that runs between the Rice Creek Bridge and Ridge Creek Road will also be temporarily closed. These trail closures are necessary for crews to complete the new curb along Lexington, complete the new access drive to the Rice Creek North Trailhead, reconstruct 70 linear feet of city trail, and reconstruct a small portion of the Rice Creek Trail in front of the new restroom building. Construction should take about one week, after which the trails will reopen.

The new Bruce Vento Trail Bridge at Hwy 36 is now complete and open to the public. Rerouting of the trail has ended.

Construction on the new Keller Trail and Boardwalk Project will begin in September. We anticipate that construction will be complete by mid-October. The new trail and boardwalk will run from the Hwy 61 bridge over Keller Creek up to and under the new Hwy 36 bridge. More details and a map of the project area are posted on our website.

For more information about current and upcoming construction projects throughout the Ramsey County parks system, please visit the project updates section of our website.