Categorized | IN OUR COMMUNITY

Hamline Ave. bike lanes project, part two, will peddle into 2017

Posted on 10 October 2016 by Calvin

IOC01_15BikeSignBike lanes will be striped on Hamline Ave. between Minnehaha Ave. and Pierce Butler Rte., but not until 2017. That would complete a project started last month. A St. Paul Department of Public Works mill and overlay project included bike lanes on both sides of the street and the removal of parking on the street’s west side.

The City Council in August laid over a decision on the northern part of the project, pending discussions with neighbors and city staff. The big sticking point was parking. Neighbors already affected by Hamline Hi-Rise spillover parking and parking from area schools said they would have even more difficulty parking their vehicles.

The southern stretch of Hamline is wide enough to allow parking on one side of the street. But north of Minnehaha, the street is only 36 feet wide, and there are already parking bans in place. A few houses lack driveways or alley access to their homes. Businesses at the northeast corner of Minnehaha and Hamline are also affected by parking changes. But Hamline Midway Coalition, cycling advocates, and some neighbors, supported the bike lanes and asked for the extension.

Council President Russ Stark said before the North Hamline vote Sept. 14 that city staff had talked to neighbors and looked at options over the last months. Some neighbors asked that bikes be diverted to Griggs or Albert streets. Griggs already is a marked bike route. Share the road arrows or sharrows could have been considered.

Stark said he believes the best option is to extend the bike lanes north to Pierce Butler, while taking measures to provide some parking. Part of the proposal calls for a two-foot widening along parts of the east side of Hamline Ave. between Englewood and Hubbard avenues. Between Hubbard and Seminary avenues, this would add about six-and-a-half spaces. Between Seminary and Englewood it would add four spaces.

Another proposal is to relocate the existing westbound bus stop to the northwest corner of Hamline and Minnehaha to create more parking capacity, of three to four spaces along Minnehaha for businesses.

Stark said his office would continue to work with neighbors on parking issues, as will the district council transportation committee. One of the biggest issues to be addressed is how to accommodate staff parking for the high-rise, which has many elderly and disabled residents. Many are served by personal care attendants who arrive at different times during the day.

A handful of residential neighbors and business owners attended the Sept. 14 discussion, which wasn’t a public hearing. Some said afterward that they would have liked a chance to speak before the council vote.

Hamline Ave. has been eyed as a bike route for several years. A previous plan was rejected because of parking and traffic concerns. The citywide bicycle plan calls for Hamline Ave. to be a bicycle lane from the north city limits at Larpenteur Ave. to Montreal Ave. and Edgcumbe Rd. Having the Hamline-Midway section striped could be the first step toward a larger project, according to bike advocates.

The City Council adopted the bike plan in 2015.

The Hamline-Midway section of the Hamline Ave. route was the subject of community meetings, a spring open house, surveys and other outreach. Public Works traffic counts indicated that there is ample parking for residents and business, but that didn’t alleviate all of the concerns about lost parking.

The plan recently implemented created two five-foot bike lanes, an eight-foot parking lane on one side of the street, an 11-foot travel lane in each direction and parking bans at all four corners of Charles Ave. To accommodate the installation of bike lanes, parking was removed on the east side of Hamline between Sherburne and Minnehaha avenues, except for the northern half of the block between Van Buren and Minnehaha avenues.

Parking removal is also proposed for the west side of Hamline Ave. between Van Buren and Minnehaha avenues. New time-limited parking capacity, with a one-hour limit, is proposed on the south side of Thomas Ave. east of Hamline. That was done to accommodate businesses.

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