Despite the objections of local businesses over the loss of 66 on-street parking spaces, bike lanes will be striped this year on Hamline Avenue between Randolph Avenue and Highland Parkway as part of a city mill and overlay project. The Saint Paul City Council approved the bike lanes on March 10.

“I think this is going to be a great bike connection,” said Ward 3 City Council member Chris Tolbert. According to him, not only will it complete a segment of the citywide bicycle network, it will slow down motor vehicle traffic on Hamline.

The bike lanes have the support of the  Highland District Council (HDC) Transportation Committee. However, they were opposed by several of the businesses at Randolph and Hamline avenues.

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“Less parking is less parking,” said Ted Casper, co-owner of the Nook bar and restaurant, 492 S. Hamline Ave. While bike lanes are nice to have, he said, thriving businesses are essential. He asked that Edgcumbe Road be considered as an alternative bike route between Highland Parkway and Randolph.

A few local residents also asked that an alternative bike route be considered, given the heavy demand for parking on Hamline. “Sometimes the city is so focused on thinking forward and making changes, it fails to think about the things that are working and need to remain the same,” said Tracy Schmitz of Highland Park.

A few local residents also asked that an alternative bike route be considered, given the heavy demand for parking on Hamline. “Sometimes the city is so focused on thinking forward and making changes, it fails to think about the things that are working and need to remain the same,” said Tracy Schmitz of Highland Park. “I want to be able to go to the Nook, the Coffee Cup, Schmidty’s or Elite Repeat and park nearby, especially in the winter.”

Hamline, which carries about 4,300 motor vehicles per day on that stretch, will be restriped with two six-foot bike lanes and two 11-foot traffic lanes. The project area has 150 on-street parking spaces in all, with 70 on the east side of Hamline. All but four of the spaces on the east side will be eliminated, including 28 spaces in a residential permit parking district.

Hamline is 42 feet wide for most of its length, but it is 46 feet wide for about 100 feet near Randolph and Hamline. The street’s wider width allows space for four vehicles to park by businesses on the east side of Hamline between Randolph and the alley to the south. Those four spaces are limited to one-hour parking from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. daily to promote frequent turnover. The 10 spaces directly across Hamline are limited to two-hour parking from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays.

As part of the Hamline mill and overlay project, new sidewalk ramps that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act will be installed at all corners and any cracked sidewalk panels will be replaced.

— Jane McClure

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