The bridge over Summit Avenue will be rebuilt during the 2019 construction season. This is an exciting opportunity for the City of Saint Paul to start making Summit Avenue, the premier bike route in the city, safe and comfortable for all riders. Details about the project can be found on the project website as I won’t be going into final design options in the post. There was a community meeting at the west side of the bridge on Monday, August 28, 2017, that didn’t have any detour information.
Most important, in my opinion, is ensuring that Saint Paul provides a safe and well-marked detour during the construction project. I’ve laid out the most sensible route above using Hamline, Grand, and Dunlap.
My suggestion would be to do a 4-3 conversion and provide in-street painted bike lanes. This allows cyclists to have a turn lane with a traffic light to access both Grand Avenue and Summit Avenue.
Even more crucial to making this detour work is addressing the extremely hostile Grand Avenue.
Adding bike lanes would require removing a parking lane. I’ve suggested the north side of the streets as there are fewer businesses, and the existing businesses have parking lots (e.g. Kowalski’s). This would also offer the added benefit of reducing the 14′ traffic lanes, that feel like 22′ if no cars are parked.
While the final product is important, losing one of the few continuous east-west bicycling routes in the city for over a year could prove very problematic if a proper detour is not taken into account.