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.

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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.

2,400+ online petitions submitted and 449 paper petitions submitted.
Map of Current Signatories
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How You Can Help

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

Contact Decision-makers

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

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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 pre-register for all online Zoom meetings.

More Meetings Coming Soon.

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

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.

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
"I commuted to work by bike from Como Park to the University (Mpls) for 13 years (until 2020 when I started working from home) and felt perfectly safe using the bike lane. I followed the rules of the road. When they built the new off road bike lanes I was very disappointed. What are the rules now? Are we supposed to stop at every intersection and yield to cars? Do drivers know to stop for us? When traveling westbound I'm on the wrong side of the road, drivers aren't looking for me coming from the wrong direction! Why make drivers MORE resentful of bikers? To remove beautiful, healthy trees to make room for more off street bike lanes is ridiculous, most real bikers don't want it."
Kristi Isberg
"Please, to those with the City making or influencing the decision on the bike trail, read these many testimonials. They are obviously heartfelt and sincere. Cut down already are all the trees on both sides of Summit just east of Farrington, not far from the Hill mansion. This belies what will happen in further proceeding with this trail. Dear City-please do not take further posture against this area of the City. Please be its guardian. Each of us should appreciate maintaining the beauty of the Avenue’s trees and breadth of its green boulevards, and how we need more, not less, of such. Instead, refurbish and beautify this Avenue and campaign to all our citizens how they should go and take a walk or bicycle on this jewel-that it is there to enjoy!"
Colette Davis
"Please don’t kill our trees!!"
Sydney Therien
"As a Minnesota Master Naturalist I am opposed to the destruction of mature shade trees and appalled at the callous disregard for the impact of removing yet more of the urban tree canopy. Obviously three years of drought which has severely impacted our heat island Twin Cities has not sufficiently opened the eyes of our city leaders who should have climate change at the top of their list when considering any alterations to our natural environment in the city."
Karen Jeffords-Brown
"For the future of our community we need to protect and save our urban forests. No bike trial or street maintenance should be a priority in our city development."
Monica Dillenburg
"This is just a bizarre project. Choosing THIS historic, tree-lined area for a massive bike lane project (compared to other potential options) feels like the height of irresponsibility. I feel a little hopeless about it because there is such strong support from the Mayor and City Council that seems to be totally at odds with the people who will be most affected by these changes.. and just the public in general. To our governing officials I would just say there are other ways to leave your legacy without ruining the character of a beautiful historic area and taking out hundreds of trees in the process. Thank you."
Riley Kane
"keep summit how it is. there are already bike lanes on the street"
Meredith Johnson
"Don’t F’n screw up our street."
William Lomax
"This beautiful street was a "must see" landmark during my recent trip to Minnesota. It was such a peaceful, immensely beautiful place to visit. I'm soooooo glad I made the time to enjoy a stroll down this picturesque avenue. I hope it's current beauty (with the existing tree canopy) will be preserved."
Katie Melber
"Looking into the SOS campaign I found an article claiming disinformation & was incredibly disappointed to see the “promises” they were claiming. Expanding the street by 3ft on each side will entirely degrade the historical & beautification integrity of Summit Avenue, changing the street forever."
Marisa Newton
"I’ve lived in St. Paul for 70 years. This is the dumbest and most short sighted administration I’ve ever witnessed."
Norman Mastbaum
"I'll volunteer and want email updates. The software didn't allow me to tick the boxes. You may remember Cleveland Avenue's deforestation. Three trees older than the State of Minnesota were killed, along with over a hundred other trees. Some young trees were planted without any ongoing care planned or paid for. Instead, nearby RESIDENTS are asked to water. You can bet Summit will face the same. Can't check the box, but feel free to use this as a testimonial & wail of dispair!"
mikel clifford
"How can reconstruction of a street be done in the 80s, 90s and 2019; not destroy the curb lines or the historic street? But then 2023 we have to completely destroy the street and make it bigger and wider so the city of St. Paul can work on it; kill almost 1000 trees. Then make it smaller; put a bike path on. And St. paul is the only city that needs to do that in the whole wide world? I’m not an engineer and I’m feeling really stupid about this and, I know I ask really dumb questions. This is what it sounds like to me."
Cynthia Rapacz
"It would be shameful to to implement the proposed changes. Don’t fix something that isn’t broken."
Robin Johnson
"The Idea of spending a 100 million for 5 miles of street - is absurd to begin with on top of that the tree survey the city did is a joke. I talked to young guy who was surveying the trees he had no idea of what he was looking at. Adding insult to injury Saint Paul - Summit Ave is a palatial street and is full of shade trees that help us get through the hot summers and it will never be the same after the city butchers the trees and infrastructure. All in the name of a safer bike path. Quite frankly I drive the river road and I see few bikers useing it in summer and even less in winter -“ what is this? ‘Build it and they will come’ and many bikers never use the bike path they ride on the narrow River Road ! So in addition to this mammoth amount of money the city gets to spend they add insult to injury and have add another 12 million To creat the bike path. It’s a monumental waste of money that will ruin Summit for ever. Finally is there nothing that is more pressing in the city such hungry homeless people or perhaps cutting the nickel and dime charges the city assesses year in and year out , or how better equipped youth centers and playgrounds with pools for children to use when it’s hot - When a city is spending this kind of money it should be by referendum - it’s our money regardless of where the get it. We the citizens should decide - not the city council - That city council has to go ! Period - fed up Stephen"
Stephen Sugarman
"It makes no sense to tear down trees to support greener travel- there are other ways to accomplish this on other streets. The money for this could be going to food inequality or education instead of the 1% who bike."
Julia Sugarman
"I don't even live in St Paul and haven't been down Summit for years. I am staying in the neighborhood temporarily. I recently drove down Summit and remembered how beautiful it is. Much more enjoyable than Minnehaha Parkway. There were people walking, biking, enjoying the lovely atmosphere. Why in the world would you change it?"
Brandye Skadsheim
"I so angry that city is going ahead with there destructive plan to cut trees for a bike land we don t need - This kind stupidity needs to be challenged in court and at the very least there should be on a referendum. I’m sick and tired of the city government making decisions out of hand like this to destroy such a beautiful forested street ! Stephen sugarman"
Stephen Sugarman
"No to disturbing Summit Ave such a beautiful and unique feature of our city. Leave those trees alone!!"
Susan Johnson

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