The second and final phase of reconstructing Lexington Parkway at West Seventh Street will be the topic of a virtual open house at 5 p.m. Tuesday, December 1. The project will directly connect Lexington to Shepard Road via a rebuilt Elway Street.

Ramsey County Department of Public Works staff met in November with the Highland and West Seventh district councils’ transportation committees to review the second phase of the project. Design work and public engagement for that phase are now underway and will continue into early 2022. The county is working with the engineering firm of TKDA on the plans.

Reconstructing the dangerous Lexington-Montreal-West Seventh intersection had been discussed for many years. Its reconfiguration became an option for the county when the former Riverside School property at 900 Albion Ave. was sold for development.

Lexington Parkway
Ramsey County’s preliminary design for rerouting Lexington Parkway across West Seventh Street, with a future connection to Shepard Road via a rebuilt Elway Street.

The first phase of Lexington Parkway’s reconstruction is expected to be wrapped up this month, according to county project manager Nick Fischer. Over the past several months, Lexington’s south end at Montreal Avenue was turned into a cul-de-sac, and a new section of Lexington was extended through the former Riverside property, which is now part of the Lexington Landing senior housing complex that is scheduled to open soon.

The new section of extended Lexington Parkway has one traffic lane in each direction, with additional turn lanes and bicycle lanes. A stop light will be installed at Lexington and West Seventh in December, after which the signal at Albion and West Seventh will be removed.

On the other side of West Seventh, a block of Adrian Street has been constructed behind Highland Nursery to provide a one-way connection to Elway.

Crews hoped to complete the work on sidewalks this construction season, but that work will have to wait until next spring. Temporary blacktop pathways will be in place over the winter.

 

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In the second phase of construction, the new Lexington roadway will be extended through county right-of-way near the Montreal Hi-Rise and along Elway Street to create a direct link to Shepard Road. Elway will be reconfigured with bike lanes and its bumpy roadway will be resurfaced.

Reconstructing the dangerous Lexington-Montreal-West Seventh intersection had been discussed for many years. Its reconfiguration became an option for the county when the former Riverside School property at 900 Albion Ave. was sold for development.

The entire project includes sidewalks and improved lighting along Lexington. The county will seek federal funding for the project, which does not have final design and cost figures yet. County and TKDA officials emphasized that public comments would be sought in finalizing the design.

A traffic study was done for the first phase of work and will also be done before the design of the second phase is finished.

Both district council committees welcomed the completion of the first phase of the project. The Lexington bike lanes will eventually continue on Elway, providing a direct connection to the Samuel Morgan Trail along Shepard Road. Federation committee members also asked if connections to the I-35E bike trail could be considered.

One challenge will be to design around the Canadian Pacific Railway bridge piers that are in the Elway right-of-way. The spur line’s fate could be an issue was well, since the line could be considered as an alternative for the proposed Riverview Corridor mass transit project.

Representatives of the adjacent CommonBond Communities and Montreal Hi-Rise at 1080 and 1085 Montreal Ave., respectively, have raised several questions, including those related to traffic control at Montreal and Lexington, stormwater issues and the timing of driveway repair work at the high-rise in conjunction with the Elway street project.

Another question raised at both meetings was whether a new traffic signal or roundabout would be added at intersection of Lexington/Elway and Montreal. Staff and consultants said that will be determined by the traffic study.

Yet another issue is the street name itself. Ramsey County Public Works would prefer to have Elway changed to Lexington to avoid confusion. However, that decision will be up to Saint Paul officials since Elway is a city street.

For more information on the project and to register for the December 1 open house, visit ramseycounty.us/LexingtonExtension.

— Jane McClure

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