A proposed Rondo Neighborhood Streets Improvement Study won support on July 7 from the Saint Paul City Council. The council is now seeking a $2 million federal RAISE (Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity) grant for the three-year study.

The city’s Department of Public Works would lead the study with input from other city departments, Ramsey County, and regional and state agencies. Public Works director Sean Kershaw outlined the grant request for the City Council.

City transportation planner Reuben Collins met with the Union Park District Council (UPDC) on July 7 to review the grant request. Union Park is one of four district councils in or near the study area. The others are Summit-University, Frogtown and Hamline-Midway. The study area is bounded by Rice Street, John Ireland Boulevard, and University, Selby and Hamline avenues.

The area includes the former Sears site, Saint Paul College, Martin Luther King/Hallie Q. Brown Center, Oxford Community Center, Central and Gordon Parks high schools, and Concordia University. It also encompasses the area of I-94 where the proposed ReConnect Rondo land bridge could be built.

If federal funding is obtained, the study’s results could bring big changes to local neighborhoods. About 62 percent of residents in the study area are people of color and around 40 percent of the households are considered to be cost-burdened.

If federal funding is obtained, the study’s results could bring big changes to local neighborhoods. About 62 percent of residents in the study area are people of color and around 40 percent of the households are considered to be cost-burdened.

The area benefits from the light-rail Green Line, local and express bus routes, the planned B Line bus service along Marshall and Selby avenues, and the G Line bus rapid transit on Rice Street.

 

house ad

 

The Rondo Neighborhood Streets Improvement Study has several goals, Collins said. One is to give priority to pedestrians, bicycles and transit riders. Others are to address gaps in the transit network and improve safety.

Another focus is to defend the area from gentrification and displacement. “It (gentrification) is a real concern,” Collins said. “We don’t want the residents we’re trying to help to get priced out.”

Collins said the study would tie into the ongoing work of Rethinking I-94 and redeveloping the Sears property. Sears closed its Rice Street store in 2019. A proposed mixed-use development is now being eyed for the site.

“This study would allow us to cover a lot of topics in the area, and would tie in with a lot of other planning efforts that are underway,” Collins said.

The study will not duplicate the one planned for ReConnect Rondo. Rather it would seek to focus on the surrounding area’s transportation needs.

— Jane McClure

COMMENTS TERMS OF SERVICE

The Villager welcomes comments from readers. Please include your full name and the neighborhood in which you live. Be respectful of others and stay on topic. We reserve the right to remove any comment we deem to be profane, rude, insulting or hateful. Comments will be reviewed before being published.

Leave a Reply