Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Hwy 51 (Snelling Avenue) Multi-Modal Study

St. Paul

Orange barrels on a highway

About this study

Snelling Avenue is a busy regional commerce roadway and a vibrant main street serving diverse user groups along the study corridor.  The area includes industrial and office land uses; events at the State Fairgrounds; retail hubs at University, Minnehaha and Selby Avenues; significant transit use at 28 bus stops; and will be a major stop for the future Light Rail Transit Green Line (Central Corridor). 

There is a long history of concern about this corridor, in particular at the University Avenue and Snelling Avenue intersection.  Neighborhoods and advocacy groups are concerned about traffic impacts as well as pedestrian and bicycle access and safety.  At the same time, businesses in the area are concerned about growing and maintaining business in the area and providing better access (particularly vehicle access) and parking for customers.  The roadway also serves a major intermodal truck transfer facility.  The corridor serves all modes including automobiles, trucks, transit, bicycles and pedestrians.  Accommodating the needs of all of these modes in a balanced manner is the principal challenge of this project.

Study Purpose and Goals

The purpose of the study was to achieve a balanced multi-modal transportation system along Snelling Avenue between Selby Avenue and Midway Parkway.  The goals of the study were to:

  • Improve the safety and mobility of bicycling and walking while maintaining the safety and mobility of all users and modes of transportation
  • Provide direct and accessible routes for walkers and bicyclists to key destinations
  • Improve transit connections and mobility
  • Connect neighborhoods across the study segment
  • Develop designs that are appropriate for the multiple land use contexts along the study segment
  • Leverage the recommendations from other projects/studies to benefit the study segment
  • Develop both short-term and long-term recommendations

There are several “given” conditions that create specific parameters under which the corridor will need to continue to function in the future.  These represent both constraints and opportunities for the multi-modal transportation planning study and include the following:

  • Snelling Avenue will continue to be a major bus route and all-day bus service will continue to be provided along the corridor.
  • Snelling Avenue will continue to function as an urban arterial.
  • All improvements developed for Snelling Avenue will be compliant with guidance implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • The existing geometry of University Avenue (currently under construction to incorporate light rail transit) will not change.
  • There are many established residential areas and business districts that define the character of the study corridor.  These are not expected to change and designs will respect the character of these areas.
  • Snelling Avenue will continue to function as a freight corridor serving the intermodal facility at Pierce Butler and the school bus yard.

Study Schedule

Work on the Snelling Avenue Multi-Modal Transportation Plan began in February 2012 and was completed in January 2013.