Save Our Street (SOS) is a citizens group that formed to protect St. Paul’s treasured street from the City’s Summit Regional Trail proposal that would dramatically change the avenue’s tree canopy, historic character and safety for all users.
1. PROTECT THE MATURE TREE CANOPY stretching along the 4.5 miles of Summit Avenue.
The city’s 90% bike trail plan shows the trail will cut into the grass boulevard 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.
- Independent arborists report 61% of tree canopy, approximately 950 trees*, would be at severe risk (unlikely to recover). The construction would kill the trees within 5 years.
- The city did not update their tree impact analysis to account for the added construction in the 90% plan.
The city says:
- It will keep tree loss to a minimum - reducing it by 14% or slightly more than 200 trees*. This includes 82 ash trees already scheduled for removal.
Independent arborists say:
- The city’s methods are flawed and do not follow standard evaluations.
- The city only used one measure – distance of trees from the curb.
- The city did not account for the negative tree impact related to construction activity rebuilding sidewalks, driveways, and carriage walks, putting construction activity on all four sides of every boulevard tree.
- The city’s plans to relocate curbs will produce damaging construction activity.
- Trail transitions alone, proposed for every corner, will kill approx. 96 trees.
2. SAFETY for pedestrians and bicyclists
Retaining existing on-street bike lanes is the safer approach. We want bike lanes marked for higher visibility and driving lanes narrowed to add more buffer and slower traffic.
Most bike-car incidents occur at intersections/conflict points.
The number of conflict points on the city’s plan remain the same:
- 46 intersections
- 150 driveways
- more than 300 carriage walks
Plus, the city’s plan increases risks at driveway/trail intersections:
- Cars will block, or straddle, the off-street trail before entering drive lanes.
- Cars entering driveways will be less aware of bike traffic on the off-street trail than the existing on-street lanes.
Motorist traffic will be sped up.
- The city plans to increase the width of the drive lanes, which contributes to faster traffic.
- The city plans to close as many as 11 median crossings between Snelling and Mississippi River Blvd, creating uninterrupted and faster drive lanes.
3. PRESERVE PARKING – AN ACCESSIBILITY RIGHT.
Preserve parking along the full length of Summit Avenue. Not only do residents need parking in front of their homes, schools and churches need the parking, as do Grand Avenue businesses. This is a significant accessibility issue.
The current city plan calls for eliminating parking on the east end, between Lexington Parkway to the Cathedral, from one side of the street, and on some areas, both sides of the block.
All curbside activity will be impacted (for example, handicap access, recycling, home services, and deliveries).
4. RETAIN SUMMIT AVENUE’S HISTORY
Summit Avenue is one of the best-preserved historic streets in the country.
- Summit Avenue is the longest stretch of Victorian architecture in the country
- Named one of the “10 Great Streets in the U.S.” by the American Planning Association in 2008.
- In 1886, a group of property owners organized as Summit Avenue Boulevard and Park Association, gifted land (their front yards) to the city to create the 200-foot-wide streets and grassy boulevards, from Lexington Parkway west to the Mississippi River. Today, it remains one of the most visually distinguishing features of the avenue. Tearing up a world-class street to which so many have contributed to its preservation and beauty for appears short-sighted.
In a nutshell,
The current 90% city plan calls for moving curb lines which will decimate the mature tree canopy, necessitate removing granite curbs and historic light posts, removing parking, changing, and rebuilding driveways and carriage walks, and shrinking the park medians.