Case study | Transportation Engineering
18-1067 Rondo Land Bridge Feasibility Study
Minnesota Department of Transportation/ReConnect Rondo Board
Minnesota Department of Transportation/ReConnect Rondo Boar
$250,000 (Study Fee)
Kaskaskia Engineering Group, LLC (KEG) led a feasibility study for the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), the City of St. Paul, and the ReConnectRondo (RCR) Organization’s Board, in support of advancing the concept of a land bridge in St. Paul, Minnesota, Rondo neighborhood. The Rondo neighborhood was St. Paul’s largest African-American neighborhood in the 1930s; however, the construction of I-94 in the 1960s severed this once tight-knit neighborhood in half. The Rondo Land Bridge Feasibility Study is intended to further advance the concept of a land bridge through the next step of the project development process and provide the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), MnDOT, and the City of St. Paul with the information necessary to make feasible and reasonable decisions. KEG managed the following subconsultants, in an effort to complete the study: RKG Associations, Inc. and EDR Group, Inc.
KEG’s scope of work is divided into two phases. Phase 1 included the Technical Memorandum (TM), intended to be utilized as chapters in the final feasibility study: Existing Conditions TM; Project Goals, Issues, and Opportunities TM; Concept Screening TM; and, Preliminary Market and Economic Analysis TM. Phase 2 included the analysis and evaluation of the alternatives and submittal of the Rondo Land Bridge Feasibility Study. Additionally and ongoing through the duration of the project, KEG assisted the RCR Board with public engagement efforts including the facilitation of advisory group meetings, public meetings, press releases, and preparation of the RCR Organization’s leadership for press conferences.
In support of the completion of Phase 1, KEG’s tasks to complete the various TMs were detailed and research-driven. The Existing Conditions TM (completed November 2018) defined a study area and subsequently depicted the community character (i.e. land use), demographic profile (i.e. population, age, race, etc.), and environmental review of the aforementioned study area (i.e. cultural resources, air quality, noise, etc.). The Project Goals, Issues, and Opportunities TM (completed January 2019) described the project’s goals developed for the Rondo Land Bridge Feasibility Study, through a review of the project’s themes and subsequent SWOT Analysis, and public engagement efforts. The overarching five (5) goals included: Neighborhood Reconnection, Affordable Housing, Equitable Development, Public Health/Green Space, and Community Leadership. The Concept Screening TM (completed February 2019) described the screening process to screen seven (7) concepts and eliminate those with obvious fatal flaws or major deficiencies. First, each of the concepts was screened on a recommend/eliminate basis, if the concept met at least three (3) of the project goals, with three (3) concepts being eliminated and four (4) recommended for further evaluation. Second, the four recommended concepts were further evaluated based on the following criteria categories: Engineering/Traffic, Network/Modal Connectivity, Environment/Health, and Economic Opportunities. The Preliminary Market and Economic Analysis TM (completed December 2018) was intended to analyze the Rondo neighborhood’s real estate market to determine possible catalytic projects or activities that could be associated with the Rondo Land Bridge. In summary, the analysis determined the following: housing market in the project study area is relatively strong, with rising prices and low inventory; the project area is likely to support a mix of housing types and prices; affordable housing for the neighborhood’s senior population, might be coupled with programs that assist younger families to remain in the area; and commercial uses could be combined with programs focused toward start-up businesses and retail/service incubator concepts.
The task in support of completing Phase 2 included an engineering and cost analysis of the four recommended concepts. This analysis, in compilation with the various elements completed for Phase 1, were gathered and compiled in order to determine the feasibility of the concepts and determine whether a preferred improvement concept can be identified, resulting in the Rondo Land Bridge Feasibility Study.
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Maggie & LeoMatt Masterson
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Greta & TilleyMatt Masterson
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