Design of Butler Avenue showing new trail and reduced parking.

Open House for Butler Avenue Trail Project

Thanks to The North 40 Tavern for their support. A north woods tavern somewhere in the middle of a big city. They regularly rotate tap beers, so stop in to see what’s currently flowing.

The City of West St. Paul and Dakota County are hosting an informational meeting on April 25 about the upcoming Butler Avenue Trail Project as well as potential changes to the Butler and Sperl/Stassen intersection.

The meeting: The open house is on Tuesday, April 25 from 5:30 to 7:30 at the Dakota Lodge in Thompson Park.

Butler Avenue Trail Project

What’s happening: Dakota County is adding a trail along Butler Avenue between Robert Street and Highway 52.

  • From Robert to Sperl: The trail will run on the south side of the road and replace the existing sidewalk. Parking will be removed on the south side (from Kruse to Sperl) to allow room for the trail.
  • From Sperl to 52: The trail will cross to the north side to connect to the sidewalk along the north side of the 52 bridge. Parking on the north side will be removed.

Why: This section has been identified as Dakota County’s seventh highest priority trail gap.

  • It will improve safety and accessibility for pedestrians and bikers, making it easier to access Thompson Park and the River-to-River Greenway Trial.
  • Narrowing Butler is also a traffic calming measure that should help reduce speeds.
  • In a community survey, 60% said the top need was safety, followed by walkability at 12% and bikeability at 9%. 63% said an off-street trail was important.

Impacts: This design was selected to minimize impact on properties, though it will require removing mature trees.

Cost: A 2022 presentation has an estimated cost of $1.65 million, with Dakota County paying for 85%.

When: Construction is planned for 2025.

Updates: The public gave input at a July 2021 open house along with an online survey. City Council heard updates on the project in September 2021 and September 2022.

Butler & Sperl/Stassen Intersection

The April 25 open house will also include information about issues at the Butler and Sperl/Stassen intersection (the entrance to Thompson Park) and gather community input.

Butler & Sperl/Stassen intersection at the entrance to Thompson Park.

What’s happening: Dakota County is studying the intersection to determine any potential changes. They plan to collect additional traffic data in June and then make a recommendation.

Why: Traffic data presented to City Council in October 2022 showed that 4% of drivers do not stop at the intersection (which amounts to 400 vehicles per day) and 24% do a rolling stop. That kind of unpredictability makes the intersection dangerous for pedestrians. At the time they proposed removing the four-way stop, though at this point the county wants to do get more data before making a recommendation.

History: The four-way stop was originally installed after a pedestrian was struck and killed at the intersection.

When: Any potential changes would happen in 2025 with the Butler Avenue Trail Project.

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One comment

  1. As a resident along Butler near 52 I am very concerned about removing the 4-way stop at Butler & Sperl/Stassen. As is well known a pedestrian was killed at this intersection, which was the reason the all-way stop was put in. It is irrelevant that 4% fail to stop and another percentage do a rolling stop. The most important thing is it significantly reduces traffic speeds between 52 and Oakdale. If the all-way stop is redmoved the traffic speeds will go up regardless and it is a certainty there will be additional pedestrian, accidents, perhaps many more with that being the access to Thompson Park as a result of the new trail switching from south side of Butler to the north side of Butler. The only other alternative would be installation of traffic bumps at that intersection to slow speeds. I fear a blinking pedestrian light will do nothing other than impart a false sense of safety to pedestrians. I would actually be in favor of putting a traffic light at that intersection since the all-way stop is only partially effective.

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