The City of St. Paul's Summit Avenue Regional Trail Project

This page was created December 16th, 2021. Any future updates will be first announced through our newsletters and our Facebook page before being posted here.


In October 2021, the City of St. Paul announced the Reimagining Summit Avenue project, a project in which the city would redesign the entirety of Summit Avenue to "improve the recreational experience" of those that use the avenue. (Jane McClure, Highland Villager)

After that announcement the city launched a community engagement website, found here, to collect feedback and offer an accessible place for concerned and curious citizens to learn more about the project. Summit Avenue Residential Preservation Association (SARPA) board members have reached out to the city, and now serve on the project's design advisory committee, a committee that the city plans to convene sometime in the future.

To keep Summit Avenue communities informed on the facts and issues surrounding this project as we understand them now, SARPA board members have created a "Status Summary" on what we know about the Reimagining Summit Avenue project. The text of that document is written below. Click here to download your own copy of SARPA's Status Summary.


 

City of St Paul Reimagining Summit Avenue Project
Summit Avenue Residential Preservation Association (SARPA)
Status Summary as of 12/16/21

Introduction
The City of St Paul has announced a project that will result in significant changes to Summit Avenue. Most prominently the city proposes to add a regional bicycle trail along the entire length of Summit. The city’s current focus is from Victoria Street to Lexington Avenue. However, looking at this situation from a practical perspective, the city’s actions on that portion of Summit will have a direct and determinative impact on Summit from the Cathedral to Lexington. Moreover, those actions will also have a powerful impact on Summit from Lexington to the river. Thus, SARPA believes that it, as an organization, together with anyone concerned about any portion of Summit along its entire length from the Cathedral to the river must be aware of and involved in monitoring and taking necessary action regarding this project. To that end SARPA has secured a position as a member of an advisory committee that the city plans to convene sometime in the future. SARPA has also participated in a city-convened informational meeting and presented written questions to the city and reviewed its responses. SARPA will continue to actively participate in the city’s process.

Our goal with this Status Summary is to help our members and other interested individuals understand some of the facts/issues surrounding this project as we understand them now. We hope to have a virtual meeting of members and interested individuals when we have more information.

The proposed bicycle trail:
The city has said that it has made no final decision regarding a regional bicycle trail or its design but SARPA believes that the city is most seriously considering, and is inclined to construct, an off-street bicycle path in the form of a 10-12-foot-wide asphalt trail along Summit from the Cathedral to Lexington. This section of Summit has no grassy median and thus the only possible location for such a separate asphalt trail is on the tree lined boulevard.

Bicycle, pedestrian and vehicle usage of Summit Avenue:
Any decision concerning this bicycle trail must be informed by comprehensive accurate data on bicycle, pedestrian and vehicle usage on Summit.[1]  SARPA has requested usage data from the city and will continue to attempt to gather it.  A portion of SARPA’s request for information is laid out in Attachment A to this Status Summary, included on the bottom of this page.

Facts regarding Summit from the Cathedral to Lexington:

  • It is approximately two (2) miles long.
  • There are Sixteen (16) blocks on the North side
  • There are Nineteen (19) blocks on the South side.
  • There are hundreds of boulevard trees on the North side.
  • There are hundreds of boulevard trees on the South side.
    • SARPA is in the process of doing a block-by-block count of the exact number of trees and will provide that data to its members and the city when the count is complete.
  • The majority of these trees are mature and all are desirable.
  • Sidewalk widths along the avenue vary, but regardless of their width the bicycle trail is proposed to be located a few feet from the sidewalk for its entire length.

Next Steps:

  • SARPA will continue to work on this matter. If you have time to help, please consider the following:
    • Review the material on the City of St. Paul’s community engagement website concerning this project. This is the link to that engagement website: https://engagestpaul.org/summit
    • Complete the survey there. The survey is open until it’s end date, January 1st
    • Help SARPA with its tree count. We can supply a form on which the reports the number of trees and other information can be recorded. Contact SARPA by emailing us at board@sarpa.org to volunteer, and we will assign you a block on the avenue to survey.
    • Share with us any questions you think we should ask the city as part of this process.
    • Join SARPA if you are not already a member.

[1] See the St Paul Bicycle Plan: “At a minimum, the planning phase should include the following:  Collection of relevant data such as street widths, motorized and non-motorized traffic volumes, right-of-way width, existing conditions, crash history.” Read more about the St. Paul Bicycle plan by clicking here. 


Attachment A to SARPA 12/16/21 Status Summary:

SARPA has requested answers to the following questions along with other information from the city:

  • “Assuming that the project will be considering significant changes to Summit Avenue relating to bicycle usage we will need to consider many facts concerning bicycle usage. Does the city have information concerning the following?:
    • How many bicycle trips on Summit Avenue were there (by month) for the last two years?  What is the source of that information?  If that information is not available what information on Summit Avenue bicycle usage does the city have that it will be considering in the project?  What is the source of that information?
    • If the city will be considering bicycle and pedestrian and vehicle safety in this project what information will the city be relying on?  What is the source of that information?
    • How many vehicular trips on Summit Avenue were there (by month) for the last two years?  What is the source of that information?  If that information is not available what information on Summit Avenue vehicular usage does the city have that it will be considering in the project?  What is the source of that information?
    • How many pedestrian trips on Summit Avenue were there (by month) for the last two years?  What is the source of that information? If that information is not available what information on Summit Avenue pedestrian usage does the city have that it will be considering in the project?  What is the source of that information?”