On Wednesday, the St. Paul City Council voted 7-0 to adopt a lengthy resolution laying out their concerns about any design that would draw more vehicles or faster speeds to the I-94 corridor through the city. Calls to MnDOT were not immediately returned Thursday, and it’s unclear the degree to which additional travel lanes are part of current concept plans.
The economic and other benefits that would accrue to their constituents through improvements to the freeway’s greater efficacy either don’t matter or haven’t occurred to the city’s top elected officials.
…The council called for improvements that benefit rather than bypass local residents, including prioritizing public transit. MnDOT has also considered putting a “lid” of sorts over a stretch of the interstate to reconnect neighborhoods separated by freeway construction nearly 60 years ago.
“We believe that widening the lanes doesn’t benefit the local residents,” Thao said. “In fact, it creates more space for traffic, and it diminishes air quality. … It takes a holistic approach. It’s not just about moving cars through St. Paul.”
There’s still a long way to go in developing the “Rethinking I-94” roadmap. In recent years MNDOT and the Met Council have often displayed more interest in adding bike lanes than freeway lanes to the transportation system. Yet the Met Council report leaves no doubt that addressing Twin Cities congestion should be a top priority, including in St. Paul.