Believe it or not, the City of Saint Paul initially submitted a proposal for funding of the Jefferson Ave. Bike Boulevard in February 2008. Yep, you read that right almost four years ago. At the time it was coupled with a similar project slated for the Highland Park neighborhood, which ultimately received the funding, and decided not to pursue the project. In January 2009, that funding was “re-assigned” to the Jefferson Ave. Bicycle Boulevard, and the great debate began.
We won’t get into the specifics of the many, many debates and public hearings held to decide to fate of the Bike Boulevard (and the pedestrian refuge) but in general it went like this at most hearings; neighborhood residents “take your bikes elsewhere”. If you want to read all about it, you can read in-depth coverage, here, here, here, here, and here.
Luckily, common sense, and cycling, won out announced with this statement (re-published from St. Paul Smart Trips);
“City of St. Paul Sustainable Transportation Planner Emily Erickson appreciates all the input from residents last month about design options for the Jefferson Avenue Bikeway. ‘We received a lot of great feedback in ways new and old, including three public meetings and an online survey,’ Emily said.
The City will share design proposals based on that public input at an upcoming community meeting. Staff will then pursue project approval through the City Transportation Committee, Planning Commission and City Council. The future meeting date and related information will be posted soon on the project website.”
Keen readers will see that technically the project has received approval through the City Transportation Committee, but hopefully with as much public input as they have already received, we might actually see construction action this year.