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Lane reduction for vehicle traffic proposed for one of St. Paul's busiest roads

Updated: August 15, 2019 10:26 PM

One of St. Paul's busiest streets could turn half of its four lanes over to bicycles and pedestrians.
 
Ayd Mill Road runs between Interstate 35E and Selby Avenue, and many drivers use it to get to Interstate 94.
    
It's known for its potholes which the city plans to patch this fall, but Mayor Melvin Carter announced Thursday he has much bigger plans.

The city of St. Paul believes 24,000 vehicles pass through this road every day. 

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"Usually fairly well-traveled and sometimes congested," said Bryce Marback, who lives near Ayd Mill Rd. 

There have been discussions about doing this for 10 years, but as the condition of this road deteriorates, city officials believe this is the best option. 

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"I have asked Public Works to utilize Ayd Mill Road's upcoming resurfacing as an opportunity to re-program it as a more complete street," said Carter. 

The idea is to cut vehicle traffic from four to two lanes. Then crews would re-purpose the eastern side of the road to be protected bike lanes.

"These efforts will result in a road that is less expensive to maintain and more useful to residents moving around our city," Mayor Carter said. 

"I think it's great," said Andy Singer.

As an avid cyclist and part of the St. Paul Bicycle Coalition, Andy says right now this area is a tough place to ride. 

"In light of the desire to make the city more bicycle and pedestrian-friendly, we need to do things like this," Singer said. 

But reducing vehicle lanes has some who live nearby a bit skeptical about what this would do for traffic. 

"It can get quite backed up already and I don't know how effective adding bicycle or pedestrian lanes would be," Marback said. 

"I think public works studied this and based on traffic volume I don't think it's going to be that bad," Singer said. 

A headache for drivers will soon be better with $3.5 million in paving work this fall, but whether more changes happen is still up for debate. 

The budget will be voted on in December. If this project is approved, construction will start and finish sometime next year. 

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS asked the St. Paul Public Works Department how much this lane re-purposing idea would cost, and they didn't provide an answer. 

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Brett Hoffland

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