A new year is upon us, and in it the city of St. Michael plans to update a section of MacIver Ave. from Frankfort Parkway to 43rd St., just before Highway 241. The improvements encompass the intersection of MacIver Ave. and Frankfort Parkway, which has been the subject of many resident complaints and discussion among city leaders for several years. The heavily traveled rural road has a two-way stop intersection that allows quick-moving traffic on MacIver Ave. to travel unimpeded, and it also sees high levels of pedestrian activity from residents utilizing Frankfort Parkway’s trails. Now, with two new apartment complexes under construction in the Town Center area, the roadway will soon see additional strain.
City council considered three options for this intersection, including widening the intersection and add turn lanes, constructing a mini roundabout, or constructing a full roundabout. Bolton and Menk, an engineering consulting firm out of Ramsey, completed a feasibility report for the project, and it recommended a mini roundabout out of the three options. While they found that a full roundabout would provide the greatest traffic flow improvements, extensive right-of-way acquisitions and disruptions to adjacent land parcels hinder its feasibility. A mini roundabout maintains the same size footprint as the current intersection, even while completely redesigning traffic flow. For comparison, the newer roundabout at CSAH 18 and Naber Ave. is also considered a mini roundabout.
Engineers said the mini roundabout option reduces conflict points for vehicles, creates shorter crossing points for pedestrians, and promotes lower speeds and calmer traffic in the intersection. The smaller size requires surmountable curbing for larger trucks to overtop the curb where needed to maneuver through the intersection. The report’s engineers also suggested a center median stretching north on MacIver Ave. to slow traffic and warn those traveling down the hill of the upcoming roundabout.
Other MacIver Improvements
Beyond the intersection, the updated MacIver Ave. will be widened between Frankfort Parkway and 43rd St. to allow for a center turn lane. Crews will add curb and gutter to the roadway, along with a paved trail on the west side of MacIver Ave. and Larabee Ave. from Frankfort Parkway to Town Center Drive, filling a current gap in the city’s trail system.
Engineers estimate the project’s costs at just over $1.75 million. City council accepted the project feasibility report at their Dec. 14 meeting, and the city will hold a public hearing on the proposed improvements January 25, 2022. If plans continue as scheduled, bids will open in March 2022, and construction should run from April-November of next year.