The New Hope City Council, at its March 12 meeting, awarded the contract for the 2018 pavement management project, which includes road work along Boone and 36th avenues, to Valley Paving, Inc.

The project includes 2.34 miles of street improvements including water main, sanitary and storm sewer and signal improvements. It also includes the addition of bike lanes on Boone Avenue and off street trails adjacent to Robbinsdale Spanish Immersion School. Additionally, three bumpouts, or curb extensions, at pedestrian crossings are included as alternates as part of the street reconstruction agreement. City Engineer Chris Long estimated the total project cost at $1,023,197.

The project is to be funded mostly through municipal state aid funds and city street, water, sewer and storm infrastructure funds. Crystal is funding approximately $130,000 as 36th Avenue is a shared street. The city has also applied for a bikeway grant through Hennepin County and is working with the Robbinsdale School District to potentially secure funding for a 10-foot trail segment and signal improvements at Boone and 28th avenues near Robbinsdale Spanish Immersion School.

Aside from the pavement and storm sewer improvements, Boone Avenue will be striped to accommodate one parking lane to the west, two bike lanes on either side of the roadway and two traffic lanes. Along 36th, the pavement near Super America will be replaced and some restriping will be done to improve the dual left-turn lanes. Camera detection systems will also be installed at the intersection of Boone and 36th as part of the signal improvements.

The city opened bids for the project at the end of February and received nine bids. Valley Pavings came in with the lowest bid at $900,280.

The street improvement project includes three alternates, all of which are bump-out sidewalks. Bump-outs are proposed at pedestrian crossings at Northwood Park, Sonnesyn Elementary and Robbinsdale Spanish Immersion schools.

The project is scheduled to begin this spring and will be substantially completed at the end of August. Long said, the city has requested that the Northwood Park area be completed first as to minimally disrupt the upcoming Duk Duk Days event.

City staff members recommended the council award the bid to Valley Paving to include the alternates in the amount of $1,014,210. Long noted that sidewalk and signal improvements will also be made in this area in 2019, but are not included as part of the project.

Councilmember Jonathan London questioned if the bump-outs were worth the estimated $100,000.

“What is it that will be gained by including the bump-outs as part of the project?” London asked. “Along with that, when you put in these bump-outs, how have the plows done with making the curbs? The elevations and sharp turns can’t be easy for them. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to constantly be repairing the curbs when they get damaged by the plows.”

Long said he has been working closely with Public Works Director Bernie Weber and his team to ensure the plows are aware of these new additions in the roadway.

“The curbs do bump out into the roadway so the plows do need to be aware of the changes in this area,” Long said. “Right now we’ll have a sign showing the pedestrian crossings on the taper of that bump out so if they hit the curb, they’ll hit the sign as well. It will take a little more work. They’ll have to slow down and probably have to go back and clean up some additional snow that’s left behind because of the bump-outs.”

Long assured the council that the bump-outs are a safety feature for students.

“You can’t put a price on that,” Long said. “We’re talking about cars that can potentially pass in the parking lane. If someone is sitting in the driving lane waiting for pedestrians to cross and cars behind them can’t see the students and get anxious to move around them, sees the parking lane wide open and goes around the vehicle they could hit someone. We looked at five different areas as part of the Safe Routes to School program and they’ve identified this area as one that needs improvements.”

London asked if bus drivers or police officers have reported incidents like that happening. Long said they haven’t, but noted that he and Weber nearly witnessed a similar incident near Cooper High School where a car had stopped for a pedestrian and vehicles behind the stopped car went around the car, nearly hitting a student.

“This is just not a safe area,” Long said. “These are expensive, but state aide money is available to put these in. These are alternates, too, so you can decide if you want to include them or not.”

Councilmember Andy Hoffe added that, at previous meetings, a number of residents approached city staff members and requested that bump-outs be included in the project because they felt it was necessary for the parks and the schools.

The item was moved for approval by Councilmember John Elder to include the three alternates and seconded by Hoffe. The resolution to award the contract to Valley Paving in the amount of $1,014,210 passed by a 4-0 vote. Councilmember Eric Lammle was absent.

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