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‘Connect the Park’ aims to make St. Louis Park easier to get around

Construction project installs sidewalks, bike lanes throughout the city

Construction+on+S+France+Ave+causes+temporary+inconvenience+for+drivers.++The+construction+will+make+the+intersection+safe+by+constructing+a+crosswalk.
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‘Connect the Park’ aims to make St. Louis Park easier to get around

Construction on S France Ave causes temporary inconvenience for drivers.  The construction will make the intersection safe by constructing a crosswalk.

Construction on S France Ave causes temporary inconvenience for drivers. The construction will make the intersection safe by constructing a crosswalk.

Carissa Prestholdt

Construction on S France Ave causes temporary inconvenience for drivers. The construction will make the intersection safe by constructing a crosswalk.

Carissa Prestholdt

Carissa Prestholdt

Construction on S France Ave causes temporary inconvenience for drivers. The construction will make the intersection safe by constructing a crosswalk.

Ethan Meisler

According to St. Louis Park transportation engineer Ben Manibog, the city has been implementing an initiative called “Connect the Park,” which will attempt to improve the ability of residents to walk or bike around.

“Part of my job is doing ‘Connect the Park’ projects,” Manibog said. “‘Connect the Park’ is the city’s 10-year initiative on getting more sidewalks, trails and bikeways in the city.”

Manibog said this plan is going into effect to give residents the option of different transportation to get around St. Louis Park.

“Residents really wanted more options to travel around the city and go about their business without using a car,” Manibog said. “In order to do that you have to have the infrastructure there you have to have the sidewalk or the bikeway.”

Junior Emma Tight, who lives close to where the construction is taking place, said this project is likely to improve the safety of children in St. Louis Park.

“For a lot of people who have kids — they are nervous of their kids walking around because there are no sidewalks,” Tight said.

According to Manibog, sidewalks and bike paths will continue to be added through 2023, and other projects may follow.

“‘Connect the Park’ is planned through 2023,” Manibog said. “There may be plans in the future, (but) it’s up to the Council and the community.”

According to junior Ethan Favour, who also lives in the area affected by the construction, adding walking and bike paths is worth struggling with the annoyance of construction in his area.

“It might be kind of a pain to drive around there for a while, but I think in the end, it will be a pretty good addition,” Favour said.

Manibog said he has been trying to make the construction process as seamless as possible by communicating regularly with residents who will be affected.

“Construction is always a challenge. These projects are right next to where people live, so we’re really appreciative of residents being patient with us,” Manibog said. “We do try to communicate with them as much as possible.”

At the end of the day, Favour said the area will be an overall better area to live in and will be a safer place.

“It’ll be better to get around (with) not as many people in the streets, and it will be a better area to just hang out and (be) around in the end.”

The construction will be happening in areas such as France Avenue and 38th street through 42nd street. More projects will be going on elsewhere around St. Louis Park without sidewalks or bike paths through 2023.

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‘Connect the Park’ aims to make St. Louis Park easier to get around