Full Speed Ahead for Como Ave. Reconstruction
Saturday, July 18, 2020 8:35 AM

Here's a cross-section of how Como Ave. will change between Hamline and Arona.

Reconstruction of Como Ave. in District 10 began July 20. Work is expected to last through October.

Overall, the project will rebuild Como Ave. from Hamline west to the Raymond/Cleveland intersection. East of Arona, Como is completely torn up. West of Arona, crews intend to keep one lane of traffic open in each direction.

Motor vehicle traffic from Como officially is being detoured along Snelling, Midway Parkway, and Hamline. The 3A bus is rerouted along the official detour. Residents who live on Como in the construction zone are supposed to be able to get to their driveways from Pascal or Albert. Staging areas are set up on Pascal and Hamline, just north of Como, for residents to put out their trash carts on Mondays and recycling carts on Fridays (see Page 2 of this flier for details).

The official bicycle route is along Albany between Hamline and Arona, and along Como between Arona and Raymond. For cyclists who are not comfortable riding in single-lane traffic alongside construction barricades and motor vehicles, another option is Midway Parkway, Dan Patch through the Fairgrounds, and either the University of Minnesota Transitway or the combination of Commonwealth/Cleveland.

There are two ways to keep up to date on the progress: Visit the City of Saint Paul's project page, or sign up for updates the city will send every week or so via email.

Getting it done in 4 months
Originally, reconstruction was going to be split between 2020 and 2021. Now, with cancellation of the Minnesota State Fair, Forest Lake Contracting expects to have essential work done by the end of October, says Don Pflaum, project manager from Saint Paul’s Department of Public Works. Trees will be planted and other landscaping finished in spring 2021, he says. Federal funds are paying for most of the work.

The reconstruction includes building the new Como Avenue Trail along the entire 2.5-mile stretch. That off-street trail for bicycles and pedestrians will run on the north side of Como. It is a key segment of the Saint Paul Grand Round.

Reconstruction also includes reconfiguring much of Como Ave. itself. Here’s a summary of the project:

Hamline to Snelling

The short version: On-street bike lanes will be eliminated. That will make the roadway narrower. But, functionally, things will remain much as they are now: one vehicle lane in each direction, parking on both sides of the street. The details:

  • Starting on the north side of Como, the sidewalk stays where it is. But with a narrower roadway, the grass boulevard extends farther south in order to keep most of the existing trees; add the 10-foot wide, two-way bike trail; and create a new, 5-foot-wide grass boulevard for street lights and snow storage.
  • Overall, the sidewalk and boulevard widen from their current width of 22 feet to what the design calls a “pedestrian realm” of 34 feet. For greater visibility and safety, there will be raised (or “tabled”) pavement where the trail and sidewalk cross east-west at Pascal and Arona.
  • The street itself narrows from its current width of 50 feet to 38 feet. That’s still wide enough to accommodate an 8-foot parking lane on each side of Como, and an 11-foot driving lane in each direction. The narrower street should have the added benefit of making it easier for pedestrians to cross Como from the north or south.
  • The south side of Como will remain essentially unchanged, with the existing sidewalk and boulevard where they are.
  • The design will look slightly different between Arona and Snelling; that accommodates the existing parking and median near the Como-Snelling business district.

West of Snelling

  • The off-street trail remains on the north side of Como, and runs along the southern boundary of the State Fairgrounds. The trail widens to 12 feet to handle both cyclists and pedestrians.
  • Between Snelling and the university’s Transit Way, the roadway will be 48 feet wide – accommodating one lane of vehicle traffic in each direction, an on-street bicycle lane in each direction, and a center turn lane. That’s generally 10 feet narrower than the existing configuration.
  • During the two weeks of the State Fair, this stretch will be restriped to eliminate the bike lanes and instead handle two vehicle lanes in each direction, similar to what occurred in past years.

Between the Transit Way and Cleveland

  • The 12-foot-wide, off-street trail remains on the north side of Como along the University of Minnesota’s Saint Paul campus. The street will remain pretty much as it is now: one lane of vehicle traffic in each direction, parking on each side of Como, and an on-street bike lane in each direction.

Last updated Aug. 7, 2020

District 10 Como Community Council | 1224 Lexington Pkwy N, Saint Paul, MN 55103 | 651.644.3889 | district10 [at] district10comopark.org

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