Will fund next phase of 27-mile scenic parkway encircling the city
The City of Saint Paul learned this week that it will receive $10.5 million in federal funding to continue working on the Grand Round, a 27-mile scenic parkway encircling the city that will safely connect people to parks, nature, neighborhoods and businesses.
“I would like to thank the Metropolitan Council and its Transportation Advisory Board, as well as the Federal Transit Administration for helping move the Grand Round forward,” said Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman. “Here in Saint Paul we have been working toward a future where more families can get on their bikes and find a safe path to school, to community centers, to the Mississippi River. This investment will do just that – creating a safer, more vibrant and accessible Saint Paul.”
The Grand Round is one of 58 Minnesota transportation projects selected by the Metropolitan Council’s Transportation Advisory Board to receive funding in FY 2020 from the federal Transportation Improvement Program. The program provides matching funds for capital and non-capital surface transportation projects, bicycle and pedestrian facilities and other transportation enhancements. The federal grant will fund sidewalks, bike trails, and pedestrian improvements along Como Avenue, the northwest portion of the route; and Johnson Parkway, the eastern portion of the route.
“The Grand Round is a project that increases livability, economic strength, and access for our region as a whole,” said Jon Commers, Metropolitan Council Member for Saint Paul. “Its completion is vital to Saint Paul, and I’m thrilled that this funding allows for another phase of work along the route.”
The completion of Saint Paul’s Grand Round is a key priority of the Saint Paul Bicycle Plan, created under Mayor Coleman’s administration as a blueprint for doubling the city’s bikeways, enhancing economic vitality, and ensuring a strong balance for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. The project gained momentum in 2015 when Mayor Coleman and the City Council dedicated more than $27 million of the “8 80 Vitality Fund” to road reconstruction projects, which includes creating pathways for pedestrians and bicyclists. It was the largest one-time investment in bike infrastructure in Saint Paul’s history.
The City of Saint Paul completed construction this year on Wheelock Parkway between Rice Street and Edgerton Street. The southern portion of the Grand Round along the Mississippi River has already been completed. The Como Avenue and Johnson Parkway sections will fill in gaps in both the bike and sidewalk networks.
“This investment will help continue a project that is vastly improving the quality and usability of Saint Paul streets for walkers, bikers, runners and drivers,” said Saint Paul City Council President Russ Stark. “Having a more vibrant and connected transportation system brings more people to Saint Paul, and in turn creates more support for our businesses.”