Streets & Transportation

Certainly one of the most visible services provided by the city is maintenance of the streets we drive, walk, and bike on every day. In much of Mahtomedi, we're working on catching up from past lapses in maintenance decades ago, so there are significant issues, but we're making progress. The largest effort there has been in the Historic District of the northern part of the city, where not only was pavement allowed to deteriorate, but underground utilities were not updated and became both old and significantly undersized. The City is halfway through that project now, so it will continue to be a major item for the next few years (my own house is in the Phase IV area, that last one currently scheduled for 2020). Across the entire city, the key now is to do maintenance on a consistent data-driven ongoing basis. The city is currently planning to do another "pavement condition index" review in 2018, and one thing I would ask to see if elected is a breakdown of the condition trendline for the Historic District and the rest of the city separated in addition to the total, to get a better sense of whether we're making progress in the rest of the city and how much backlog work remains there. Currently I think we're probably on the right track to get up to good street conditions in a few more years at current levels of investments, but the PCI results and related analysis from the engineers are needed to confirm that.

Of course, not everyone using our roads is doing so in their own car. Currently Mahtomedi is quite under-served by public transit, which is particularly problematic for our growing population of seniors as well as lower-income families who may not have a car (or multiple cars, when multiple family members are working). There is also a growing interest in transit use by young adults, for both economic and environmental reasons. The city should work with our representatives on the Metropolitan Council and Transportation Advisory Board to encourage increased bus service through Mahtomedi, with at least more frequent connections from a few neighborhoods to the transit hub at Maplewood Mall and hopefully some sort of circulator around the lake to get to the various churches, grocery stores, and a few shops from our "downtown" area and senior housing complexes.

Finally, not all road users are in a motorized vehicle at all. Pedestrian and cyclist safety is consistently cited as a top concern in our community surveys. We need to treat our streets as comprehensive transportation corridors, not solely the realm of cars. Many of our local neighborhood streets are fine due to their low traffic volume, but the thoroughfares of State Highway 244, State Highway 120, County Road 12 (Stillwater Rd), and Hilton Trail all need improvements. Some of those are already in progress, like getting additional crosswalks installed and building off-street trails along similar routes, while others will take more work and planning. The biggest issue in the next few years will likely be transfer of control of 244 and 120, both of which MnDOT would like to turn over to local or county authority instead of state. That "turnback" process is an opportunity to get things like shoulders, sidewalks, and crosswalks, and the city should make sure to be heavily involved in driving the process even if the transfer will be to county control. There may also be some roadway design changes that can happen to help address traffic speed concerns, which have been frequently raised for years, and require ongoing enforcement efforts through our partnership with the county sheriff's department.