Save Our Street & Share Summit

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.

SOS Response to the City’s 90% Plan

Let Your Voice Be Heard

Please sign the petition to save our street and ensure that the parklike conditions will remain for the future.

Say NO to the City of Saint Paul's proposed Summit Avenue Regional Trail Master Plan.

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How You Can Help

Beyond signing the petition and adding a testimonial, we ask that all concerned citizens do the following:

Provide Your Comments on the 90% Plan

Add your comments.

Add Your Comments

Contact Decision-makers

Contact decision-makers at the city and state level and let them know how you stand on the issue.

Contact Information

Donate to Fundraiser

Donate for the creation of yard signs and other initiatives.

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Show Your Support With a Yard Sign

Request Your Free Lawn Sign


Share your comments on social media using the hashtag #savesummitavenue

What Is Being Proposed?

While details have not yet been finalized, the City has released general details surrounding a number of proposed design guidelines for constructing the trail. These include:

  • Removing a significant amount of mature trees, forever altering the character of Summit Avenue. This will happen if the roadway is expanded 3+ feet, which is being proposed.
  • Creating significant safety and logistical issues, such as those at where resident's driveways (150+) and the trail would intersect. And who would have the right of way at each of these intersections?
  • Eliminating considerable amounts of parking (50%+ or more, in areas), which would affect people with accessibility issues, parents dropping off kids at school, people going to church, people visiting Summit Avenue, and residents on neighboring streets, among other issues

There are solutions that exist that do not involve impacting either trees nor parking.

See Design Guidelines

The City’s 90% Draft Master Plan Has Been Released for the Summit Avenue Regional Trail

A draft of the City's 90% draft of the master plan is now available for public comment during the month of February. The draft document can be found online HERE for review. The document reflects about 90% progress. Please share your comments with City staff through this survey.

Our concerns remain and are heightened. Current design concepts call for significant tree loss, significant safety issues related to driveway, walkways, and side street intersections, and more significant loss of parking than we had anticipated.  Please review and add your comments. Public comments will be accepted through February.

Summit Avenue brings tremendous value to Saint Paul and the region as a tourist and visitor destination, and as an urban oasis for Saint Paul residents…. all because the community has made Summit Avenue one of the best-preserved historic streets in the country. If you value protecting Summit Avenue as a viable corridor for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists for generations to come, please join us. Call your council member and let them know how you stand on the issue.

View Master Plan Draft

A Solution Searching For a Problem?

Who is this master plan intended to serve? Overall, what is the "point"? Is anyone in the bicycle community actually pushing for a regional trail on Summit? Why aren't other corridors, such as Marshall Avenue, being considered?

St Paul’s Fall 2021 survey demonstrates that more than twice as many respondents wanted a connecting route on Marshall compared to Summit. Marshall Avenue connects directly to Minneapolis via the Marshall-Lake Street bridge.

See Suggested Alternatives

Significant Considerations

900+ Trees Are at Severe Risk

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?

Historial Preservation

Summit Avenue is special and such a Regional Trail will put at risk what must be preserved.

Parking and Accessibility

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).

The Importance of Trees and Green Space

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.”

(From the City of Saint Paul's Urban Tree Canopy Assessment)

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 Less Safe

Below are just a few of the safety and logistical issues that will arise if a separate Regional Trail is implemented:

How will driveways be dealt with?

There are 150+ driveways between Lexington and the Cathedral that have residents pulling out onto Summit that would intersect with a two-way bike paved/asphalt trail on the south side. This is not practical, especially considering the elevation changes between the trail and the driveways. An off-road trail will increase risks to cyclists by forcing them to cross hundreds of uncontrolled intersections with driveways and sidewalks; drivers are not used to traffic off the street and experience demonstrates this creates higher risk.

E-Bikes and Electric Scooters
E-bikes and electric scooters travel at a high rate of speed (up to 28 mph), and they would be traveling alongside regular bicyclists and other pedestrians on the sidewalk. This is not necessarily a safer solution to what is currently in place.

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.

More to Consider

There are many challenges around implementing a separate trail on any boulevard on Summit Avenue.

Winter Plowing and Maintenace

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.

Street Parking

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.

Economic Impact

In 2019, Ramsey County drew $2.3 Billion in tourism spending. Summit Avenue attractions make up an important part of this.

A Historic District Lost Cannot be Reclaimed

A regional trail that changes the features of what the community has invested so much to maintain threatens the Summit Avenue corridor. The historic streetscape brings tremendous value to the city and region as a tourist and visitor destination.

Why else would the city and state tourism offices promote its features? And why are residents drawn to this green oasis like a beckoning mirage away from the hustle and bustle of commercial business districts?

Many cities throughout the United States once had grand streets and boulevards throughout their cities, such as Prairie Avenue in Chicago, Euclid Avenue in Cleveland, Park Avenue in Minneapolis, and Fifth Avenue in New York City, to name a few.

All of these streets have at least lost a portion of their residential and historic character, except for Saint Paul’s Summit Avenue. The tree canopy, wide boulevards, slate curbs, and more greatly contribute to this historic character.

Tourist Attraction

Both Explore Minnesota and Visit Saint Paul tourism offices tout Summit Avenue’s distinct features.

In 2019, Ramsey County drew $2.3 Billion in tourism spending and the combined Minneapolis-Saint Paul region, $11.4 Billion. (Explore MN), which supports the City of Saint Paul preserving the distinct streetscape of the two National Historic Districts.

Historic Designations

The following districts exist on Summit Avenue.

Mississippi River to Oxford Street

This street is under the West Summit Avenue Historic District, and is in a National Historic District and Local Heritage Preservation District.

East from Ayd Mill Road

This stretch is in a State Historic District and in the Historic Hill District.

Oxford St. S – East

This stretch is in the Historic Hill District, a National Historic District, and a Local Heritage Preservation District.

Is The Current Bike Lane Set-Up Really That Bad?

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.

Join the Discussion

What people are saying in the neighborhood. Share your comments below.

"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."

Dan Casebeer
Owner of Grand Performance Bike Shop
"Please don’t cut down any more trees. Summit Avenue was beautiful the way it is."
Diane Reisdorfer
"For YEARS, the city council has been deciding issues LONG before they get public comment. It has to stop!! The City spent over $1 million on a bike lane on Jefferson Ave, which is less than a mile from Summit Ave. I have seen about 8 bikers TOTAL using this lane on Jefferson. The City also spent who-knows-how-much money to put a bike lane on Hamline south of Randolph Ave. I have yet to see a biker there. I'm all for biking but feel like bikers can certainly find routes to connect them to where they'd like to go. The City NEEDS to listen to its citizens BEFORE deciding."
Tracy Schmitz
"Riding along beautiful, historic Summit avenue is a highlight of our city., but somis walking and driving. Let's figure out a better way to preserve this iconic avenue, while at the same time accommodating bikes safely. There's got to be a better way than the current plan, which puts too many Summit Avenue highlights in jeopardy. Let's not let the funding timeline force us into something that isn't ideal. It's been 100 years in the making. Take the time we need to get it right for the next 100."
Sheila Moroney
"I am appalled to think that there are thoughts of taking down one of the most wonderful historic streets in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Please save it How can you even think of destroying history? It’s a travesty!"
Patricia J Linn
"It's possible that the Bike Trail Plan's evolution predated the possibility of routing along the vacated railroad lines. Now that the possibility exists to lease use of the easement along those lines, it's essential that we stop and reconsider, particularly since public support for the Summit Avenue route is limited and continually dwindling. Without that support, any action taken is autocratic. The original plan may have been adequate at the time it evolved, but now we have a better option. Let's not make the mistake of committing to second or third or fourth best when we can do better."
Anastasia Galati
"I grew up in St Paul and returned as a visitor, staying on Summit Ave at The Davidson Hotel in April 2023. I believe the character of Summit and its appeal to tourists will be harmed by the building of a center-of-the-boulevard bicycle track. I kept an eye out for bicyclists during my four-day stay, and I only saw one or two bikers every few minutes. They were well served by the existing marked bike lanes. I worry that an elevated bicycle track could result in some accidents (tumbles of bikers and their bikes from an elevated point into traffic). If you put guard rails around the track, it will make Summit very ugly to look at--and St. Paul needs to attract visitors from across the country and the world. Summit has a special magic that the residents have spent decades preserving. I would hate to return to St. Paul and see that gone. One last note I want to make is that I live in a Victorian neighborhood with a grand boulevard similar to Summit. The City of Baltimore put in bike lanes with posts on either side of the boulevard. There was an outcry from homeowners and others whose cars were hit by bikers due to the change in the lane style. Just two years after putting in the new bike zones, the city removed them and returned to simple painted bike lane markings. This was a costly mistake for the city to fix. to undo, and I imagine that destroying an elevated central bicycle platform would be unthinkably expensive. Think ahead--be careful--don't mess with the beautiful treasure that is Summit Avenue."
Sujata Massey
"I have bikes summit Ave for years and have had no problems. The “vulnerability of bicyclists” seems subjective and not worth the time and energy of this project."
Jacob Fitzpatrick
"Dear Mayor Carter and Council member Noecker, As both a constituent and as a member of the St. Paul Chapter of the American Association of Women (AAUW) I am writing to strongly oppose the current city proposal to abandon the existing bike lanes on Summit Avenue and replace them with two, one-way off road trails. I believe the proposed changes to Summit would have a permanent and detrimental effect on our chapter building and other buildings along the historic avenue streetscape and the destruction of about 400 mature trees along the route. Please reconsider!!! Sincerely, Carol Engebretson Byrne 883 Linwood Avenue St. Paul, MN. 55105"
Carol Byrne
"To preserve a unique cultural treasure and iconic symbol of the soul of a city neighborhood, it is critical to develop city infrastructure around this nationally recognized collection of Victorian-era homes. Private citizens have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to maintain the integrity of the many homes that line Summit avenue from the Mississippi River to the St. Paul Cathedral. Why can't the City Council support it's citizens that have invested so much to preserve this unique and differentiating feature of our community. Considering that the City can't even keep up with basic road repair I would hate to think of how they would handle this project."
Sayre Darling
"My vote is NO!!! I want Summit Avenue to be Maintained with its present design. Summit Avenue is on the National Registry as one of this country’s “Great Streets”. SUMMIT AVENUE IS A NATIONAL TREASURE!!! ***Fix the Many Potholes! ***Fix the Many Cracks! ***Maintain Summit Avenue as the National Treasure that We are So Fortunate to Have in Saint Paul! Signed: Elisabeth Paper"
Elisabeth Paper
"Please Please do not change Summit Avenue except to paving the pot holes.. no trees on this magnificent Avenue are worth bike trails differing from is now available. I went to School @344 Summit for 4 years. Do not change the wide Blvd to accommodate the few… Visual is for everyone…one of the last grandeur Avenues"
Lawrence rafferty
"Summit Avenue is a Minnesota gem and needs to be protected from misguided projects such as the one under current consideration to install bike lanes. My wife and I come to Saint Paul numerous times throughout the year and often enjoy walking on Summit Ave, as well as frequenting establishments like W.A Frost, the Lexington, and numerous shops on Grand Avenue. I urge the decision-makers not to move the bike lane project forward - Summit Avenue needs, and deserves, protection."
Mark Anderson
"Please listen to the residents of St Paul and rethink the current plan for Summit Avenue. Do not destroy the character and future of this important street. Bike lanes don’t need to dominate on every street. Besides, cyclists claim the city’s proposal decreases safety for bikers not making it safer"
J. Michele Edwards
"We are an older mostly retired couple, 1 doctor and 1 architect over 30 years in this neighborhood. We are avid cyclists but do not in any way support this trail. It is vitally important that the state of Minnesota recognize this importance of the Historic District and protect it fully. Remember in the 1960's/1970's we almost demolished this beautiful neighborhood in the name of urban renewal. Nuts."
James Keane
"Stop the SAINT PAUL council from turning Summit Avenue into a bike trail. This council has lost control of themselves. I fear that Summit Avenue will become another trash story with midnight changes to ANY agreement we may think we have. They have made SAINT PAUL a toxic city by overstepping their bounds while FAILING to take care of necessary business like CRIME, STREET REPAIR, and the WELL BEING OF THEIR CONSTITUENTS."
Roger Anderson
"I grew up in Mac Groveland and spent much time on Summit including graduating from St Thomas. We owned a home a couple block off Summit and raise our family while using the avenue to run several time each week. It makes no sense to alter this historic and beautiful environment when other plans preserve its unique character should be pursued."
Michael Wittek
"I have adored Summit Ave all my life (60+ years) And have lived in other states in that time. There is nowhere like it! This is a national treasure!! The historical value is so huge!! It would be terrible if we let it be destroyed!!"
Anne Todd
"We know the "what" only the city wants and "where" the proposed trail would be, but the "why, exact timeline, and how" issues have been inadequately addressed. A community benefits approach, facilitated by a neutral party, is required to ensure this very historic section of St. Paul remains the attraction it has been for over a century."
Sharon Pfeifer
"As a lifelong resident of Summit Ave, it is appreciated for what it is. From the Cathedral to the river, it is a historical story of Minnesota and our City. The cost of living on this street is offset by being able to share it. Over the past decades we residents of Summit have been very aware of the increase in bike traffic, have welcomed it, and adjusted our travel habits to ensure their safety. It would be nice if that small percentage of bikers who ignore the traffic laws would cooperate. It would also be nice if we had a clue what the city was planning to do. In conversations with my fellow residents of Summit I can Safley say we are inclusive to sharing it with everyone. In addition to the tax burden the residents of this avenue Soley bear all the costs of maintaining the buildings and landscapes of it without complaint. Summit Avenue is a treasure to be enjoyed by all and to totally alter it for a small percentage of citizens for no apparent benefit is unfair. Out government should be working for the greater good of all, not what appears to be the greater good of a few. Has anyone seen the plans for the hookup to the Samuel H. Morgan Regional Trail? Get the popcorn, the scrutiny on that one will be a Duzer."
Charles Michel

Let Your Voice Be Heard

With your help, we can preserve Summit Avenue.

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