The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Mac-Groveland residents voice support for Snelling median proposal

By Hannah Haley

Residents of the Mac-Groveland neighborhood east of campus are coming out in support for the proposed installation of a median along Snelling Avenue. The median, which would divide the four-lane state highway, would extend from Grand to St. Clair Avenue. Neighbors cite increased pedestrian safety and aesthetic enhancement of the area as the main benefits the median would provide.The Mac-Groveland Community Council, a grassroots, citizen-run group that addresses neighborhood issues, is backing the installation of the proposed median.

“We’re primarily interested in pedestrian safety,” Terry Casey, chair of the council’s Transportation Committee, said.

“It is hard to cross the four lanes of traffic and contend with fast and aggressive drivers. The median would force people to slow down and make the street more crossable.”

Neighborhood resident and Macalester student Courtney Rivers ’08 confirmed Casey’s sentiment.

“I am very happy about the [proposed] median,” Rivers said. “Crossing Snelling is an absolute pain, even if you cross at one of the crosswalks.”

Erin Leisz, who shares a house with Rivers one block north of Snelling on Fairmount, is also in favor of the proposal.

“A median on Snelling would be a great idea,” Leisz said. “It would add to the aesthetic value of that stretch [of the street] where a beautiful new campus building is going to be. For anyone living off campus on my side of town, a median would also make crossing Snelling safer and easier, like the median on Grand.”

Casey said that while the council has received numerous e-mails from residents who endorse the proposal, it is hard to accurately gauge a majority opinion.

“We have heard from many neighbors who love the idea of the project. We have also held community meetings where residents have voiced strong concerns. The council supports the idea as does the city of Saint Paul, but it is the neighbors who have to live with the median. We don’t want to put it in if it is something that residents will hate,” Casey said.

The installation of the median would block left-turn access to Sargent, Fairmount, and Lincoln Avenues, which have entrances on the east side of Snelling. Casey said residents objecting to the median’s installation argue that this would lead to increased traffic on neighborhood streets with access unobstructed by the median.

The council is currently testing the simulated effects the median would have on traffic flow through the installation of a set of vertical tube delineators along Snelling. Statistics from the test will continue to be gathered through October and the Transportation Committee plans to have results prepared for public reaction during its Nov. 26 meeting.

Despite the objections, some residents have already begun to note the effects the median would have and insist the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

“With the [delineators] being up, drivers have been generally more attentive to the crosswalks,” Rivers said.

Leisz agreed.

“I can only see benefits of this project. A median would make crossing Snelling easier and safer and it would bring the Mac-Groveland neighborhood seemingly closer to campus,” she said.

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