Residents along Wooddale Avenue in St. Louis Park oppose plan to reduce parking, trees in favor of bike friendliness

Residents on Woodale Avenue in St. Louis Park are hoping to save trees and parking spaces from a city proposal to make the city more bike friendly.

When you drive down Wooddale Avenue in St. Louis Park, it’s hard to ignore all the signs.

Neighbors living between 44th Street and 42nd ½ Street are hoping to sway the city council to re-consider a plan that would reduce trees and parking along the stretch of road.

The proposed changes to the street, all part of the “Connect the Park” initiative, call for the removal of several trees and most of the on-street parking in order to make way for a bike lane.

“We are totally for biking and walkability,” said Monika Weeks, who lives on Wooddale. “That’s what I love about this place. We don’t want to lose our trees. We don’t want to lose our parking.”

The initiative aims to link the Chain of Lakes in Minneapolis to Edina and St. Louis Park. The Wooddale stretch of the project is only one part of it.

“We want bicyclists here, we want pedestrians here,” said JC Beckstrand. “This is the wrong approach.

Beckstrand and his neighbors say with existing concerns over speed on the well travelled road, adding a bike lane without added safety measures is dangerous.

“This would become a virtual killing zone,” he said. “We’ve proposed a lot of different alternatives and they’ve been pretty resoundingly rejected.”

Council member Anne Mavity represents the area. She says making the city more “bike-friendly” is part of the city’s long-term vision.

“We want to make sure this is the right fit with the right safety mitigations,” said Mavity. “I’m very committed to make sure we continue to live out our connect the park program and expand our bike facilities so people have options.”