RAMSEY COUNTY — The South Shore Boulevard project team is again looking for feedback on its preferred design for a 1.5-mile, multiuse trail along the southwest corner of White Bear Lake. The county plans to reconstruct the segment in 2022, a project that will take a year to complete.
The preferred final design is based on community feedback from options presented at a May 2020 open house. It includes a two-way roadway with trail from White Bear Avenue to McKnight Road and a one-way roadway (eastbound) with trail from McKnight Road to County Road F.
The trail will connect White Bear Avenue in the city of White Bear Lake to East County Line Road in White Bear Township, with a goal of improving pedestrian and bicyclist connectivity, comfort, safety and access. According to Project Manager Joey Lundquist, cost-effective improvements are meant to create a safe and comfortable environment for people who live, work and play on South Shore Boulevard while maintaining vehicle mobility and access.
Once complete, the South Shore Boulevard trail will be part of the Lake Links Trail network, a series of planned trail segments that create a continuous system around White Bear Lake and connect into several of the area’s existing and planned trail corridors.
"This project seems like it's gone on for years, but the end is in sight," assured Kimley Horn civil engineer Greg Brown at a May 26 virtual open house. The firm is working on the final trail plan with county staff.
Last year's open house generated "robust feedback," Brown said. "For the most part, there was strong preference for a hybrid option, or a partial two-way and one-way. Our design is a manifestation of that."
The Kimley Horn engineer said the proposed footprint on the one-way section is slightly wider than the current footprint and 10 feet wider on the two-way section (see illustrations). "The footprint generally fits within existing roadway limits on the one-way segment," Brown pointed out. A one-way, he added, has significantly less cost and is less disruptive to private property.
The road centerline will be shifted 4 feet south to balance the new 42-foot-wide footprint on the two-way segment, Brown said. Other notes: Existing trees will be preserved on the two-way segment from White Bear Avenue to McKnight and there will be crosswalks at side streets, including an improved crossing at Bellaire. The trail will connect on the east end to the planned Lake Links trail segment on Wildwood Avenue.
The county anticipates completion of final design in January with construction starting next spring. The city and township take over jurisdiction once construction is completed. The county is also resurfacing County Road F this summer in anticipation of the traffic shift.
Anyone wishing to view information and/or provide comment can access an online interactive map at www.publiccoordinate.com/#/projects/southshoreblvd/map. The county presentation is also on YouTube. Search for South Shore Boulevard virtual open house.
— Debra Neutkens