Re-Imagining Snelling Avenue: Open house seeks community input

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Snelling Avenue from Selby Avenue to the State Fairgrounds is a busy regional transit route that cuts through Saint Paul’s Central Corridor lightrail construction. However, its current design doesn’t reflect the needs of its users’ many modes of transportation. On June 12, a project team including the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), Ramsey County, and the City of Saint Paul hosted an open house at Hamline University to gather community input that will inform efforts to make that portion of Snelling more accessible to everyone—cars, trucks, mass transit, cyclists, pedestrians, and people with disabilities. During the evening, a diverse group of 20-30 attendees ranging from young children to retirees, roamed the hall to talk with study representatives and give their opinions on the project.

This open house is part of the first in what will be a four-stage study on how to best balance the diverse uses of Snelling Avenue.  This study will inform the project team as it considers how to re-design the corridor. This stage focuses on documenting current conditions on the road.  After the study, which will be completed by the end of 2012, the next steps include drawing up concepts for the re-design, creating a technical analysis of these concepts, and developing a series of short and long term recommendations for the future of the road.

The study team includes both a technical advisory committee, comprised primarily of professional staff from governmental organizations, and a task force, which includes local district councils, business associations, and non-profit groups.

The coordinators of the study have worked for the past three months to identify current transit patterns and trends on Snelling. Because there was no existing data on non-motorized use of the road, study coordinators recruited local volunteers to conduct bike and pedestrian counts in order to better determine how the corridor is currently used by everyone. They want local engagement and perspectives so that the eventual re-design represents the needs and experiences of area residents for whom the roadway is an everyday feature of the landscape. Throughout the meeting, there were multiple ways for attendees to voice their opinions—a resident survey, comment cards, and an aerial map of the corridor where people could place post-it notes to document areas of unique concern.

If you are interested in voicing your opinions on the Snelling Avenue Multi-Modal Transportation Plan, please email Bill Goff, the Project Manager for MnDOT, at william.goff@state.mn.us. You can also visit the project website at www.dot.state.mn.us/metro/projects/snellingstudy .