Summit Avenue is Saint Paul’s treasured, historic street. SOS stands for Save Our Street because Summit belongs to all of Saint Paul, it is OUR flagship street. And people far beyond our capital city have signed our SOS petition and expressed their support.
We believe it’s important to ensure that Summit Avenue remains a viable corridor for everyone, pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists for generations to come.
Share your comments on social media using the hashtag #savesummitavenue
The city’s 90% bike trail plan shows the trail will cut into the grass boulevard and medians by 3 feet on both sides for over 62% of the length of the avenue. The increased risk to boulevard trees will be catastrophic, as well as loss of green space. The construction would kill the trees within 5 years.
How will the Regional Trail cross 151 driveways on the south side of Summit without significant disruptions? The City has stated that they will bring the driveways to the same grade as the trail, but is that realistic?
The avenue's marvelous vistas, park-like qualities, and a decades-long history of planning measures, civic participation, and private stewardship have kept Summit's unique character intact. The Regional Trail would destroy many of those special characteristics.
Accessibility for our most vulnerable populations will be drastically affected if street marking is drastically minimized (at best) or reduced altogether west of Lexington (at worst).
Summit Avenue is an urban parkland in the heart of the City. While the proposed regional trail plan suggests minimizing impact to trees, the plan designers are not adhering to guidance from arborists with urban experience.
“Trees are our largest source of green infrastructure and enhance the landscape by providing shade to homes, roads and parking lots, and provide color, beauty and character to the community.
Trees also provide benefits behind the scenes, such as the interception and storage of rainwater and carbon, the reduction of noise pollution and have proven to reduce crime and stress.”
In addition, research has shown that trees and greenery have a positive effect on life spans.
Outside of their visual appeal, research shows that trees:
- Improve physical and mental health
- Create stronger community ties
- Reduce crime rates
- Improve student performance
- Reduce energy use and bills
- Mitigate the Urban Heat Island effect
- Store and sequester carbon
- Are an important habitat
- Are an important source of infrastructure especially for storm water management
Research Has Shown That Two Way Bicycle Lanes Are Not Safer
Despite all the data showing how dangerous two-way paths are when placed along city streets with “high conflicts” from cross streets and driveways, the City put a 2-way option in the 30% Plan and the 60% Plan along several miles of Summit. In the 90% Plan, they removed the dangerous 2-way trail option from Summit, but it’s still included on Kellogg and Eagle Parkway — an even higher conflict street with much greater traffic volumes. It has to cross Shepard Road, Exchange Street, West Seventh and Kellogg at “Seven Corners” by the Xcel Center, and then cross Kellogg again to get to John Ireland Boulevard.
"...It's worth noting that there are some downsides to this type of infrastructure [2-way trails], however. Well, there's essentially one big downside. People in most countries of the world are in the habit of looking for oncoming traffic on their left when they are turning left, but two-way bike lanes result in bicyclists coming up from the far left on the back side. Copenhagenize's Mikael Colville-Andersen discussed this yesterday in an article that seems to be in response to the NITC findings but doesn't specifically mention the report. Here are some of his thoughts:
In Denmark, the on-street, bi-directional facility was removed from Best Practice for bicycle infrastructure over two decades ago. That in itself might be an alarm bell to anyone paying attention. These two way cycle tracks were found to be more dangerous than one-way cycle tracks on each side of the roadway. There is a certain paradigm in cities... I'm not saying it's GOOD, but it's there. Traffic users all know which way to look when moving about the city. Having bicycles coming from two directions at once was an inferior design.
This was in an established bicycle culture, too. The thought of putting such cycle tracks into cities that are only now putting the bicycles back - cities populated by citizens who aren't use to bicycle traffic - makes my toes curl.
He also references a December 2013 OECD report that advises against two-way bike lanes on the street. (Going through parks, the safety issues disappear of course.)
And he quotes Theo Zeegers of the Dutch national cycling organisation, Fietsersbond, in order to share his opinion on the matter: 'Bi-directional cycle tracks have a much higher risk to the cyclists than two, one-directional ones. The difference on crossings is about a factor 2. So, especially in areas with lots of crossings (ie. builtup areas), one-directional lanes are preferred. Not all municipalities get this message, however.'
So, you've got two conflicting points here: one is that two-way bike lanes are correlated with stronger bicycling growth than any other type of protected bike lane in this NITC report (more research needs to be done to confirm causation, not simply correlation), and second is that on-street two-way bike lanes are considerably less safe than on-street one-way bike lanes according to numerous bicycle planning experts and authorities.
The questions I'm left with are: Is it more worthwhile to attract people to bicycling than to build the absolute safest bike lanes? (Remember that bicycling also increases a great deal as ridership increases.) Is there any possibility two-way bike lanes could perform better in the US than in Europe? (I don't see why that would be the case.)
Mikael has a very clear opinion on this matter: 'If someone advocates infrastructure like this and actually believes it is good, they probably shouldn't be advocating bicycle infrastructure.'"
City Data Shows that Wheelock Parkway is just as Safe as the Current Bike Lane Configuration on Summit Avenue for Bikers and Pedestrians
See map comparing Summit Avenue (on-street lanes) and Wheelock Parkway (off-street trail) from the 2019 – 2022 crash data published on the City’s website.
Where will the snow from Summit, from the trail and from adjacent sidewalks go? And will the trail really be maintained? There is an existing trail along 35E, the Little Bohemia Trail, that is not adequately maintained.
We cannot afford to minimize parking for Grand Avenue shops & restaurants, Summit Avenue churches and schools, Summit's many apartment residents, and more. Parking studies that are being referenced were conducted in the midst of the pandemic.
In 2019, Ramsey County drew $2.3 Billion in tourism spending. Summit Avenue attractions make up an important part of this.
No one disputes that the current roads desperately need to be improved, and that includes the bike lanes.
The current road conditions on Summit Avenue, including the bike lanes, are very poor. All residents would like to see improved roadways and it is hard to believe that everyone doesn't support better marked bike lanes. The lanes should be re-painted, and buffers should be added where possible, without reducing parking or greenspace.
St. Paul City Council candidates speak out against contested Summit Avenue bikeway
Could opposition to the Summit Avenue bike trail plan shape St. Paul’s elections this year?
St. Paul rejects request for environmental review of Summit Avenue bike trail
"Summit Ave is the bike commuters and bike riders best option. The current set up is what is the best set up for riders of all ages and commuters. I ride Summit daily and have for 40 years as a resident of St Paul and as a business owner in St Paul.
Summit is a glorious street to ride for the serenity, the beautiful homes and the lovely tree lined median. Summit despite its bad surface, big bike lanes are safe and efficient, and we don't have problems with cross traffic and intersections. I see joggers/runners and dog walkers walking the median enjoying the green places, trees and the soil! We have a great place for all! A mixed paved path will ruin a pleasured running and walking surface and have a bad impact on our treasured street.
Please leave Summit alone."