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.

See The City's 90% Trail 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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Share your comments on social media using the hashtag #savesummitavenue

Upcoming Meetings

We encourage all members of our community to attend public meetings. Please preregister for all online Zoom meetings.

SOS Informational Forum

Mar 21, 2023 6:30 PM
O'Shaughnessy Education Center at the University of St. Thomas - 2115 Summit Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55105
March 21, 2023
SOS (Save Our Street) citizen group will be your hosts. We seek to educate and advocate for preserving the historic streetscape of Summit Avenue as a treasured St. Paul destination and a safe, tree-lined, multi-modal corridor for generations to come.
More Details

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

300+ Trees Are At Risk

There are 190 north side boulevard trees and 202 south side boulevard trees. Root systems may occupy an area four to seven times the surface area occupied by the crown of the tree, so any minimization of the boulevard may put many of the trees at risk.


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

Safety on Summit

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

"...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 graph 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
"Pave paradise …and ruin it for this generation and those to come. Let’s not be the ones who “don’t know what [we’ve] got til it’s gone.” We DO know what we have— and the time to save it is NOW. Trees are invaluable to our ecosystem, property values and quality of life. At a time when Saint Paul is losing thousands of trees to disease, only this Mayor and his Administration would recommend destroying hundreds of healthy ones. Summit Avenue is a treasured asset for our city and beloved by all ages. Its lilacs are a harbinger of spring and its canopy a delight for the diverse populations who stroll among them. Summit Ave belongs to all of us. Let’s not have it commandeered by a single, self-involved sporting group."
M.C. Flanagan
"As a frequent bicyclist along this street the main issue I see in regards to safety is that the street really needs to be repaved and the lines marked again for the bicycle lanes. This would benefit the neighborhood and historic district and make the road work for EVERYBODY not just a few who want protected bicycle lanes everywhere."
Brook Lemm-Tabor
"I am 100% against the removal of any/ all trees along summit ave. A simpler solution to the 250 traffic incidents since 2015 to present, would be fixing all the massive potholes along summit avenues road to prevent cars from going in and out of bike lanes to avoid these massive potholes. Start by fixing the road which you neglect for years and years, then reevaluate after that. I don't see why we need such a drastic change to summit ave just to solve a mere 250 traffic incidents in 8 years time... seems like overkill. A waste of trees, tax payers dollars, and valuable resources we need more than a trail..."
Daniel Brewers
"Just say NO, to this ridulous and unneccessary proposal to destroy our beloved Summit Ave. and its lovely tree canopy. The destruction of this portion of our urban forest alone, is reason enough."
Don wanschura
"I am a cyclist who lives a half mile from Summit and ride on it constantly. I ride about 4,000 miles a year and have been for 37 years. I ride mostly on the road using bike lanes and use trails occasionally. I have found that trails such as on Como Ave. and Wheelock Pkwy. are extremely dangerous. First of all you have to be very aware of cars moving through their own driveways and other oncoming cyclists passing within inches of your handlebars. The most dangerous part of these paths is approaching an intersection as cars have to pull across the bike lane to see approaching auto traffic and neglect to see cyclists coming toward the intersection. I have had to swerve around cars many times and prefer to ride on the road on Como or Wheelock risking a car honking at me verses the risk of being hit by a car on the sidestreets. Please leave the lanes on Summit as they are."
Tom Roth
"I am a Saint Paul resident who use the street by car, bicycle and my feet. The street is in shameful condition and the bike plan is absurd. Not enough people use bicycles to merit the proposed plan- let alone all of the environmental concerns this plan causes. Just look at the ridiculous bike path over the Franklin Avenue bridge and the rarely used Ayd Mill bike lanes over the bridge. It is a visual eyesore and major traffic constrictor. This is where Summit Avenue is headed with this plan. There is a reasonable manner to reconstruct Summit and have a bike path - like right down the existing median and no need to use asphalt - it should be gravel path. The plan as proposed is a DISASTER on so many points."
Jonathan Shuster
"I grew up near Summit Ave. It is not only known for the historic homes but also for the Trees down the center of the Avenue. Take those away, you destroy the beauty and the history of this one of a kind Avenue."
Susan Rainey
"I have lived and worked near the Summit area for 10+ years and am an avid cyclist and I think this a terrible idea. Why can't we resurface the roads to make them bikeable/drivable? The biggest issue spoken of in media now is climate change. So the city thinks cutting down nearly 10% of the trees that have been there longer than any of us have been alive is a good idea? and how would this make things safer? cars and bikers have to swerve out of the way of bad road conditions for years. You'll still have to cross the same dangerous intersections where the accidents happen. I'd imagine most of those accidents happen because of driver or biker errors not because they don't have a fancy bike lane.. Also with eliminating that many parking spaces will only make that area more dangerous with people doing laps and U-turns to try and find a spot to park. SAVE THE TREES AND REDO THE ROADS!"
Jerad Halgrimson
"I am an avid cyclist that has biked Summit Ave. all my life. I have led many group rides for beginner level cyclists thru elite level cycling teams. We have never had a problem with traffic or space on the road etc. The road itself needs to be repaved. Get rid of the potholes and cracks and that is all. Do not destroy Summit Ave. and its trees. Just repave it and leave it beautiful for motorists, cyclists and the neighbors that live there. Please add me to the Petition. Sue Lee Masters National Criterium Champion & Best All-Around Rider in age group. Past Cycling Coach for St. Paul Bicycle Racing Club Beginner Road Racing Program Past Twin City Bicycling Club ride leader."
Sus Lee
"I am not for the bike path being proposed along summit Avenue. There is already a perfectly fine bike path there already. Bikers in Minneapolis along Minnehaha parkway choose to bike on roads with cars, over the designated bike path that is on that road, and that will be the case here along summit ave, if you spend all this money, remove trees, and add a bike lane that's already there on summit ave. Do this project along Marshall ave if you must waste our money on a bike path... summit ave home owners will be watering their grass more in the summer if you remove their trees, and that is not a smart way to use our precious water that we will desperately need in the future."
Daniel Brewers
"Leave Summit ave as is. No bike lane."
steven schreiber
"The last thing that St. Paul needs is more pavement and fewer trees. Summit is one of the few remaining streetscapes that has not been decimated by the city's horrific and irresponsible approach to "managing" the emerald ash borer invasion. Cutting down or putting at risk hundreds of mature, otherwise healthy non-ash trees for this project should be unthinkable."
Meg Duhr
"I am unable to make the rescheduled Park and Rec Commission meeting about the project, so I thought I would put my comments in this section of the website: 3-8-23 Dear Ms. McDonald, I am reaching out to respectfully provide my perspective in opposition to the proposed Summit Regional Trail project. I recognize that a significant amount of time and energy has been devoted to this proposal, but I believe it is in the City of St. Paul’s best interest to stop this project for three primary reasons: 1. I believe St. Paul is in a period of crisis and city leaders and engaged citizens should be doing all we can to demonstrate that we recognize we are in crisis and align our priorities to address it. 2. We have made a number of concessions in recent years to encourage biking. I am a biker and enjoy riding in the summer, but we are in a northern climate, and we will only have a very small group of people who bike year-round. We cannot make decisions like this that benefit such a small group of people when there are so many other pressing priorities. 3. Summit Avenue is a historic and beautiful asset that should be preserved and protected. Its canopy should be maintained not cut down and paved, especially given all the terrible tree loss we have experienced lately in terms of our beautiful ash trees. Highland Park has been especially decimated. There is time to stop this project and encourage city leadership to address immediate and important issues related to an unsustainable spending and taxing approach, school safety and resource constraints, public safety failures and a period of terrible potholes - including on Summit Avenue - and crumbling infrastructure across the city. Thank you for considering my perspective. My hope is we can begin to return St. Paul to being a community of pragmatic, thoughtful and engaged people who love and preserve the unique aspects of our city. Thank you. P. Johnson Highland Park"
P. Johnson
"Please please consider saving our street! As a tax payer living on Summit Avenue, this plan greatly affects my house and family but the impact will be felt across the city, state and region. The reason we bought this house is because of its historic significance on this famous street. Adding bike lanes doesn’t take into account all the parking along Summit that is needed for houses, churches and visitors. Daily, we see cars parking to get their dogs out and use the boulevard to walk them. We also see regular attendance to the AA house on the corner of Hamline on all hours of the day. Where are all these cars going to go if you take away parking? Keep the cars, sidewalks and trees please. I also can’t imagine the chaos for drop off and pick up around my children’s school – Saint Thomas More at the corner of Lexington & Summit. There are parents who park on Summit to walk little ones into preschool. They will have either no parking or to cross a bike lane with a toddler and sometimes a baby in tow. The bikes shouldn’t be a priority given only 1% of residents are bike commuters. We live in a snow-filled climate and cars should be given priority for parking considering it's cold for 9 months of the year. And where will the piles of snow go and who will plow the trail? The benefits don’t seem to outweigh the negatives. I support SOS."
Megan Junius
"Please tell them that they can't keep the roads passable now (and that's even for bikers) so how are they going to fund getting them fixed first?"
Kathy Voss
"Preserve Summit Avenue for our future generations to enjoy. Minnesota doesn't preserve anything. If there is a 4'x4' piece of open land, the government approves a developer or the DOT to build something there. The state needs to, "Stop destroying and start restoring." Preserve our historic places."
Ginger Sanders
"A project of this magnitude with so many unanswered questions from the residents that pay your salaries is ridiculous! You work for us the citizens of St.Paul not yourselves and your own agenda. An agenda that is sketchy at best. Preserve the historic nature of Summit Avenue. Taking down the trees and building a bike path that will get minimal use with our weather is not a good use of resources and our environment. Your studies don't support the project the residents are not in favor its time to listen St.Paul Government. Spend the funds on what really important CRIME in the city."
Rebecca Austin
"I grew up in the Ramsey Hill neighborhood and now, 20 years after moving away, I am back. This neighborhood is so special and a big part of what makes it so is the mature tree canopy and the architecture. There is a timeless quality to Summit Avenue that we must preserve for all to enjoy, both walkers, cyclists, and motorists. The walking traffic on the wide sidewalks of Summit Avenue has increased as more people are becoming conscious of the health benefits of gentle exercise and time spent outdoors. In all weather, you see families and individuals enjoying the tree-lined sidewalks, often with dogs or strollers in tow. What’s special is this area is a destination for people who live both within and outside the neighborhood to enjoy, and since the pandemic there is a renewed appreciation for this space as a public good for all. Adding bike lanes would destroy the character of this neighborhood and would change the nature of the neighborly interactions that take place here. The mature tree canopy is part of what makes this an attractive, calming, and beautiful place to spend time and we would lose that with the city’s plan. Please save Summit Avenue as it is today, for all to enjoy."
Mackenzie Cramblit

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With your help, we can preserve Summit Avenue.

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