Two bike projects roll ahead
Two area bicycle facilities improvement projects won St. Paul City Council approval June 17, along sections of Fairview Ave.and Territorial Rd. The improvements will be made later this year in conjunction with street mill and overlay projects. After the street sections are resurfaced, the signage, bike lanes and markings can be added.
The Fairview project extends between Minnehaha and University avenues. The street will be restriped to add bike lanes and narrow the vehicular traffic lanes. In a stretch north of Charles Ave. to Minnehaha, west side parking will be removed. About three dozen parking spaces, which aren’t extensively used, will be eliminated.
The Territorial Road project extends from Berry St. to Raymond Ave. Bike lanes, signage and street markings will be added, and vehicle traffic lanes narrowed. About three-fourth of the project area’s 110 on-street parking spaces will be removed.
Fairview’s project area carries about 7,750 motor vehicles per day. The Territorial Road project area carries 5,500 to 6,00 vehicles per day.
The council received non objections to the Fairview project, and only one objection from a business owner about the Territorial Road work. The objection centered on loss of parking.
Supporters of both projects cited the need for both projects. Fairview was called out as providing an important north-south connection to area neighborhoods.
Conversion therapy banned
Conversion or reparative therapy for minors is banned in St. Paul, with unanimous approval June 17 from the St. Paul City Council. The controversial practice, meant to change a person’s sexual identity or gender expression, has been compared to torture by opponents. The practice has support from conservative groups but is opposed by many medical organizations including the American Medical Association, American Psychological Association and American Academy of Pediatrics.
The hearing marked the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began that the council could hear speakers testify rather than reading written testimony. In-person hearings ended in March with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, so testimony was presented electronically.
City council members heard support for the ban from mental health professionals, a parent and someone who is a survivor of such therapy. Opponents of the therapy contend that it can cause lasting psychological impacts. No one spoke in opposition to the ban.
St. Paul city leaders have called for a statewide ban, but that effort stalled during the regular session of the 2020 Minnesota Legislature. St. Paul joins many other cities and states with bans in place. Minneapolis and Duluth last year passed similar bans.
It’s not known how many conversion-therapy practices exist in St. Paul. The LGBTQ advocacy group OutFront Minnesota has indicated there are several practices around the state.
The St. Paul action prohibits licensed medical and mental health professionals from practicing conversion therapy on anyone under age 18. The ban will be enforced by the city’s Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity Department. Violations could incur fines of up to $1,000.
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