Grand Round planning kicks into gear

The St. Paul Grand Rounds are being planned this summer. The Grand Round is a 30-mile bike and pedestrian system that circles the city along scenic parkways and off-street paths. Parts of the Grand Round will go through the East Side, including along Wheelock and Johnson Parkways. (submitted graphic)
The St. Paul Grand Rounds are being planned this summer. The Grand Round is a 30-mile bike and pedestrian system that circles the city along scenic parkways and off-street paths. Parts of the Grand Round will go through the East Side, including along Wheelock and Johnson Parkways. (submitted graphic)

Kicking off planning for St. Paul’s Grand Round, consultants, city planning staff and residents will take part in a weeklong design workshop starting Monday, June 22.

The Grand Round is a project that aims “to develop 30 miles of parkway connecting neighborhoods across the entire city with scenic parkways and off-street bicycle and pedestrian paths,” according to the project website.

While the southern half of the Grand Round project is already in place, the northern half, including large swaths of the East Side, is yet to be completed. The northern half goes from Burns Avenue in Dayton’s Bluff to Pelham Boulevard in Union Park via Johnson Parkway, Wheekock Parkway and Pelham Boulevard.

The weeklong workshop, which is open to the public, will look to identify specific alignments for the citywide bike route.

In addition to big-picture work, the workshop will develop plans for Wheelock and Johnson parkways, both of which will be getting some added bike amenities during road reconstruction projects in 2016.

A community advisory team, comprised of residents throughout the city, has been working alongside consultants and city staff to come up with the plan.

East Sider Terri Thao, who sits on the St. Paul Planning Commission as well as the Grand Round’s advisory committee, said she sees a lot of potential for the East Side in the Grand Round.

“There are a lot of people who ride bikes on the East Side,” she said, but noted that it was important to make sure their perspective is taken into consideration as plans for the bike route move forward.

“We need to engage as many East Siders as possible,” she said.

Residents can weigh in on their thoughts on what they’d like to see in the Grand Round during the weeklong design workshop.

The workshop is open to the public, and includes:

• A project presentation on Monday, June 22 from 6 to 8 p.m.

• Drop-in sessions where the public can get project updates and provide input, on Tuesday, June 23 from 6 to 8 p.m. and Wednesday, June 24 from 4 to 7 p.m.

• A presentation of the workshop findings on Thursday, June 25 from 6 to 8 p.m.

The workshop takes place at Bandana Square, Best Western Conference Facility, 1010 Bandana Blvd. W. in St. Paul.

Emerging from the workshop will be some potential route alignments, which will be presented at open houses throughout the summer.

An East Side open house is scheduled for Wednesday, July 15 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Arlington Hills Community Center, 1200 Payne Ave.

For more information about the Grand Round or to provide feedback online, visit http://www.saintpaulgrandround.org/.

—Patrick Larkin
 

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