St. Paul City Council has approved a much-debated lane reduction and protected bike lane along the city’s Ayd Mill Road.
The council voted 4-3 to convert the road from four lanes to three lanes, with two lanes southbound and one northbound. The $7.5 million proposal would also include a 12 foot wide trail for bikes and pedestrians.
The project would also repair issues like potholes on the highly-trafficked road, which drivers use as a short-cut between I-35E and Selby Avenue.
Council members raised concerns over cost and traffic disruption, among other concerns. Ward 2 Council Member Rebecca Noecker said she was concerned that other bike projects in the city like Grand Rounds were being overlooked.
“The question is whether this bikeway should take precedence over our other bikeways,” Noecker said. “What about all the bikeways that we’ve started that sit unfinished?”
But Ward 4 Council Member Mitra Jalali said the project is an important part of the city’s larger bike network plan.
“We don’t get a citywide bike network by saying no to projects,” Mitra said.
Council members including Dai Thao raised concerns over the project's impact on traffic and pollution. According to an April 6 presentation, up to 400 trips would need to be diverted to other streets to keep rush hour traffic times the same.
The city also sought public feedback on the project, finding that 11 percent of respondents said it was important for the city to repair the road, while 30 percent said it was important for the city to introduce multi-modal options.
Work on the project is set to begin this summer, with closures going through the fall.