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St. Paul to get its first roundabout as Lexington Parkway is extended to Shepard Road

28December 2021

St. Paul will get its first modern roundabout next year as part of a new connection linking busy Lexington Parkway, which now ends at West Seventh Street, with Shepard Road.

Ramsey County is overseeing the $3.3 million road construction project in the West Seventh neighborhood, the latest effort to tidy up the Capital City’s unruly street grid and make life easier for those finding their way around St. Paul.

Among other changes, Ramsey County will build a roundabout at the new intersection of Lexington and Montreal Avenue. County officials anticipate that about 6,200 vehicles will use the new stretch daily.

“It’s a great connection for vehicles and also pedestrians and bicyclists.” said county project manager and civil engineer Nick Fischer. “It’s really difficult to get to Crosby Farm Park and Shepard Road from Highland Park if you are on a bike or walking or running. This will be a critical connection.”

County officials anticipate starting construction on the project next summer and completing the roadwork by the fall of 2022.

Ramsey Council two years ago realigned Lexington Parkway, otherwise known as County Road 51, to eliminate an awkward five-way intersection at West Seventh. Lexington now crosses West Seventh, where it turns into Elway Street and then Adrian Street before motorists hit a cul-de-sac.

The plan is to extend the northern part of Elway across a grassy right-of-way and connect it to the southern end of Elway, which extends to Shepard Road.

“That strip there was already a right-of-way. It was already designated a street probably well over 100 years ago,” Fischer said. “It was platted originally in the 1800s as a street and the street just never got built. I am not quite sure why but it was always a city street right-of-way.”

The entire stretch will be renamed Lexington Parkway and Ramsey County will likely assume maintenance and control of the entire street. Both sections of Elway Street currently are maintained by St. Paul.

Nick Peterson, St. Paul’s division manager for public works street design and construction, said the new connection will be “fantastic” for residents.

“St. Paul Public Works is very supportive of the plan,” Peterson said. “We are really excited to see the multimodal connection all the way down to Shepard Road and [Crosby Farm Regional Park] that is down there. “

Roundabouts, which force motorists to slow down and yield to traffic in the circle without always requiring a full stop, are popular in the the suburbs. But this will be the first of its kind in St. Paul.

“Roundabouts take up a little more space so they are really hard to put in already developed areas,” Fischer said.

He said Ramsey County conducted a neighborhood poll and found that most residents favored a roundabout.

“The neighborhood wanted a change. They said the intersection at Montreal and Elway is not functioning well for cars, bikes or pedestrians,” Fischer said.

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