New Crosswalk Scheduled for Fall
Tuesday, July 25, 2017 11:00 AM

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The Parks Department will build a new marked crosswalk on Lexington Parkway this autumn. The goal is to create a clear way to get back and forth on foot or bicycle between the Lakeside Pavilion / Como Dockside and the Como Park golf clubhouse / ski center / Cozy’s Pub.

Alice Messer, manager of design and construction for the Parks Department, says the crosswalk will meet a long-standing need, especially for people who park on one side of Lexington but attend events on the other side. During a presentation July 18 to the District 10 Como Community Council, Messer noted how, as she came down Lexington for the meeting, she saw a dozen people scurrying across Lexington from the golf course parking lot, attempting to get to a concert at Como Dockside.

The need for a better connection is officially identified in the 2011 Como Transportation Plan, she points out. In a District 10 survey of more than 700 residents this year, 89 percent supported the idea of making it safer and easier to get from one side of Lexington to the other without relying on an automobile.

Messer detailed construction plans at the District 10 meeting. Her presentation followed several weeks of discussions between District 10 and the Parks Department over more than two dozen questions and concerns raised by neighborhood residents. The proposal would:

  • Build a 10-foot wide, curbed median on Lexington, intended in part to slow down traffic. The raised median would replace an existing painted median, which stretches from the driveway entering the clubhouse parking lot to the driveway for the Lakeside Pavilion’s north parking lot.
  • Build a 6-foot wide, marked crosswalk on Lexington, with a pedestrian refuge on the median (see the diagram above). Standard warning signs will be mounted at the crosswalk and 300 feet ahead of the crosswalk, to give drivers notice of the crossing.
  • Traffic lanes will be 12 feet wide. Turn access in and out of the two parking lots will not be affected. The speed limit through the area will be 25 mph.
  • The median will be planted with swamp white oak trees and little bluestem grasses. The plants will not obstruct drivers’ sightlines, Messer says.
  • On the lake side of Lexington, the crosswalk will connect with a pedestrian ramp and new spur that connects the road with the existing bicycle path on that side of Lexington. The spur will require removing one existing tree.
  • On the golf course side of Lexington, the crosswalk will connect with a new sidewalk and pedestrian ramps that will lead to the parking lot.
  • Meet all grade and access standards required by federal disability laws.

The Parks Department is finalizing construction quotes, Messer says; once construction begins, it is expected to take two weeks. Lexington will not be closed, but lanes will be blocked at times. The Parks Department has been working with Saint Paul Public Works and Ramsey County engineers on final details and to ensure that the project meets all design standards and existing best practices, within budget constraints.

Other alternatives are complex, costly

The project has $80,000 available for design, engineering and construction, Messer says. That money is reallocated from $4.3 million the Parks Department received in state funding for Como Park transportation projects. Those projects include the realignment of roads and parking in the McMurray Field / Como Pool area, the new entrance to the Zoo and Conservatory’s Visitor Center, and the reconstruction Estabrook Drive and nearby roadways.

The $80,000 is not enough to build everything that could be done at the Lexington crossing, Messer says. She calls the September construction "phase one." In particular, District 10 is encouraging engineers to add a pedestrian-activated warning light at the crosswalk, and a longer sidewalk on the golf course side, which could get pedestrians all the way to the clubhouse more safely.

The crosswalk is the most cost-efficient solution to the crossing challenge, Messer and her staff say. Other potential solutions to the crossing are exponentially more expensive and present far more complex engineering challenges.

For example, extending the path that currently exists on the golf course side of Lexington, north of Como Lake Drive, is more difficult than it seems, Parks Department staff say. Because of the golf course topography, extending that path would require building an extensive set of retaining walls, interfere with existing storm water management, and require removing many more trees.

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

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