With the Green Line now running along the south side of East 4th Street, from Minnesota to Broadway, the nature of this roadway as an effective means of moving traffic in downtown has been permanently altered. This change creates a significant opportunity for the City of Saint Paul and the downtown community to re-imagine how this street could be better utilized.
The SPda supports transforming East 4th Street from automobile traffic to a safer bike and pedestrian oriented pathway. Repurposing the eastern segment of 4th Street and incorporating it into the proposed Downtown Loop along with extending the southern segment of the loop from Broadway to Rice Park, would make the overall project more impactful to the CBD. The Downtown Loop is not just a great placemaking opportunity for downtown Saint Paul, it also has the potential to be a catalyst for economic development. This investment can drive growth in jobs and the tax base. Aligning it on the proper streets is critical to realizing the best return on the taxpayer’s investment.
The 4th Street initiative creates a unique multi-modal transportation corridor in the Twin Cities. The eastern end would support LRT, bicyclists and pedestrians. This combination would have a profound impact on downtown Saint Paul, and especially the Lowertown neighborhood. The western portion would combine the current traffic use with pedestrians and bicyclists.
- With the re-urbanization of cities, residents are seeking more transportation options not based on the use of a car. The rebirth of East 4th Street supports this trend by concentrating three non-automobile modes on one street. Many current residents would find this attractive as would those considering downtown Saint Paul as a potential home.
- By creating a safer, more walkable street, foot traffic will likely increase. This will lead to better opportunities to develop thriving retail options in the downtown area that are absent today. This project would also create a better flow of pedestrian and bicycle traffic for CHS Field events and the Farmers Market.
- The east end of this project would terminate at Broadway. Saint Paul Public Works is currently completing an extension of the Bruce Vento Trail to have it run along Prince Street to Broadway. The connection of East 4th Street to Prince Street allows easier access into downtown and conversely, a quicker connection to the trail.
- By extending the path from Broadway to Rice Park, the downtown would now have a pleasant and vital connection between the upper and lower parts of the CBD that doesn’t exist today.
The use of 4th Street in the Downtown Loop offers a superior opportunity to positively impact growth in downtown St. Paul.