Ramsey County held its third virtual open house on November 10 to share its plans for the second phase of extending Lexington Parkway to Shepard Road. The preferred road layout includes creating Saint Paul’s first mini-roundabout at Montreal Avenue and Elway Street. Elway would eventually become Lexington and be transferred from city to county jurisdiction.

County project manager Nick Fischer praised the level of public input the project has generated, including online surveys that have drawn hundreds of comments over the past year. Several dozen people have attended the virtual meetings and most liked what they saw. Questions remain about how much property will be taken at the corners for the mini-roundabout, which has an estimated cost of $3.3 million.

The second phase of extending Lexington Parkway to Shepard Road will include creation of a mini-roundabout at what is now Montreal Avenue and Elway Street, shown in the map above and the closeup below.

Three options were considered for the new Montreal-Lexington intersection. A survey showed 16 percent of respondents favoring a two-way stop on Montreal, 33 percent for a full-sized roundabout and 51 percent for a mini-roundabout. All of the plans call for crosswalks at the corners, with the roundabout having medians bisected by the crosswalks.

People seemed to favor the mini-roundabout because it would take less property and maintain traffic control while providing safety for bicyclists and pedestrians. Commercial as well as residential properties would be affected by the project, including the Montreal High-Rise.

   

The county is working with property owners at the corners to have property appraised, determine land value and compensate them for the loss of property.

Kevin Pittelko of the engineering firm TKDA said the mini-roundabout would be smaller and lower than a regular roundabout. It would have a low-lipped curb and a center area that larger vehicles could drive over if needed.

The project is the second phase of Lexington’s transformation in the Highland and West End neighborhoods. The first phase involved detaching Lexington from the intersection of West Seventh and Montreal by curving the road through the former Riverside School property, which is now home to the Lexington Landing senior housing complex. 

 

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Kevin Pittelko of the engineering firm TKDA said the mini-roundabout would be smaller and lower than a regular roundabout. It would have a low-lipped curb and a center area that larger vehicles could drive over if needed.

Lexington’s old connection with Montreal became a cul-de-sac. A stop light was moved from Albion Avenue to the new West Seventh-Lexington intersection. A section of Adrian Street was built behind the Highland Nursery. Lexington now extends a short distance toward the current Elway-Montreal intersection, ending at Adrian.

Construction on the first phase began in 2020 and wrapped up this year. The remaining stretch of Lexington is to be rebuilt in 2022 to provide a connection to Shepard Road. Design work has been underway since October 2020 and is to wrap up in February 2022. Construction on the second phase is scheduled to start next spring and be completed by fall.

The project is also intended to improve aging utilities and make the street safer for people who walk, bike and drive.

Different options are still being looked at for the roadway itself on redesigned Elway. The Canadian Pacific Railroad bridge that crosses over the street is not being modified, and the bridge supports affect where bike and pedestrian trails can be located.

The railroad is no longer active so the bridge is being eyed as a future bike and pedestrian route or an alternate route for the proposed Riverview Corridor transit project.

Plans for the second phase of the Lexington reroute have made the rounds this fall at the Highland and West Seventh district councils. Representatives of both groups have praised the project and the process used to gather input. Both district councils also support better bike and pedestrian connections to Crosby Regional Park.

“We’re really interested in better ways to connect our community to the river,” said Casey Carmody, co-chair of the Fort Road Federation’s Transportation and Land Use Committee.

For more information on the project, visit ramseycounty.us/LexingtonExtension.

— Jane McClure

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