The Star-Tribune reports that, to save time and money, MN-DOT will be closing a section of Highway 36 entirely through North Saint Paul for reconstruction. Construction is to begin in May. (See: Splitting North St. Paul in the Sunday, April 1 edition; I’m quite sure this isn’t a weird April Fool’s prank.)
The paper — and for that matter, the DNR page for the Gateway Trail — doesn’t mention if there’s going to be closure/rerouting of the Gateway Trail through there. It does mention that the Snowman gets to stay put at Margaret, so there’s a possibility that it won’t.
But I’m doubting it.
This reconstruction is great. The trail crossings that run parallel to Highway 36 between White Bear Avenue and Interstate 694 are a hazard. Because it’s a trail, cyclists and walkers and other users frequently are going counter to traffic, and drivers who don’t look both ways are prone to taking out a few trail users here or there. Highway 36 is going to an expressway format, so that can only help.
But I’m guessing that relative to the closure, it’s going to muck up the trail. A lot.
There are a lot of easy re-routes — but most of them are the same re-routes as mentioned for automotive traffic. County B is a staple road for north-side bikers, as is County C. For a lot of the recreational users of the trail, these routes aren’t appealing. Even for experienced vehicular cyclists, using these roads this summer won’t be appealing, because a lot of people on the re-routes will be frustrated with construction and having to go a different route that runs 20-30 mph SLOWER than their accustomed route — never the best people to be sharing a lane with given a choice!
Beyond that, the re-routes also are considerably less flat — another negative for many users, especially those in the pink-training-wheels set, who often are seen with parents near the MN120 crossing going to the DQ.
It will be interesting to see what kind of mayhem is created — and if the crossing up above 694 at Washington County 12 gets opened BEFORE or DURING the start of the mayhem…