Rethinking Summit Ave with the Saint Paul Bicycle Coalition

The problem of Summit

Summit Avenue is St. Paul’s OG bikeway, and continues to be the route that sees the highest bicycle traffic in the city. However, it is also a route that sees a lot of traffic violence due to the poor design of the street. At the Saint Paul Bicycle Coalition, we believe the city can and must do better. A portion of Summit is coming up for reconstruction soon, so we took a survey of the community to find out what improvements can make people feel safe biking on Summit year-round. I encourage you to read our full report, but here are the broad takeaways:

When asked about how safe they felt biking on Summit, there was a stark contrast between warm months and cold months. And this, of course, correlated with a large shift in how often people choose to bike on Summit in cold months vs warm months.

Charts of how often people bike and how safe they feel biking on Summit in warms months and cold months. In warm months, 68% of respondents bike on Summit a few times a month or more often, and respondents feel somewhat safe. In cold months, 28% of respondents bike on Summit a few times a month or more often, and most feel not safe at all.

We asked respondents about how important it is for them to be separated from cars, and how safe they would feel riding on several different types of bike infrastructure on Summit.

Chart of responses. How important is it for you to have physical separation from cars? Plurality of answers were "very important" with the majority ranging from "somewhat important" to "very important."
How safe would you feel on a trail? Majority answered "very safe."
How safe would you feel on a parking-protected bike lane? Plurality answered "mostly safe."
How safe would you feel in a buffered bike lane? Majority of answers range from "mostly unsafe" to "mostly safe."

The clear winner for making people feel safe biking on Summit is to put a trail in the median. So what would that look like?

The sections of Summit

Sections with center median

From Mississippi River Boulevard to Wheeler Street and from just east of Snelling to Lexington, Summit has a broad landscaped median in the middle of the right of way, with one-way traffic on either side of the median.

This section connects the regional trail on Mississippi River Boulevard to a variety of major destinations including the University of St. Thomas as well as numerous existing and planned north/south bikeways. The existing wide ornamental median generally features two rows of mature trees near the roadways with a wide grassy area running down the middle, occasionally interrupted by trees or other plantings. The median is interrupted by street crossings as frequently as every 375′. Although the median does not have facilities for biking or walking, a well-defined “desire path” has been worn into the grass. On the roadways, buffered bike lanes provide bicycle access for confident or high-speed cyclists.

We propose constructing a 12-15′ shared use path in the center of the median that provides a safe facility for slower and/or less confident people biking as well as people walking. In-street bike lanes would be retained for users who feel most comfortable in the street. The City should explore closing selected intersections through the median as well to reduce conflict points for people biking and walking, and to increase the amount of green space and room for tree planting. Where necessary, the path can shift from the center of the median to preserve existing trees.

Intersection of Summit and Wilder St. Left: current alignment. Right: proposed alignment.

Section with two smaller medians

From Wheeler to just east of Snelling, Summit has two-way traffic in the center, with narrower landscaped medians on either side, and outside those medians are one-way carriageways.

This section connects to major destinations including Macalester College and the Grand/Snelling business district. The two existing narrow ornamental medians generally feature two rows of mature trees near the roadways with a narrow grassy area running down the middle, occasionally interrupted by trees or other plantings. The medians are interrupted by street crossings as frequently as every 200′. Although the medians do not have facilities for biking or walking, both feature well-defined “desire paths” worn into the grass. On the central roadway, buffered bike lanes provide bicycle access for confident or high-speed cyclists.

We propose constructing a 10-12′ shared use path in the center of the south median that provides a safe facility for slower and/or less confident people biking as well as people walking. In-street bike lanes would be retained for users who feel most comfortable in the street. The City should explore closing selected intersections through the median as well to reduce conflict points for people biking and walking, and to increase the amount of green space and room for tree planting. Where necessary, the path can shift from the center of the median to preserve existing trees.

Intersection of Summit and Cambridge St. Left: current alignment. Right: proposed alignment.

Section with no median

Summit Avenue narrows dramatically east of Lexington Parkway, from 200′ to 100′. The road through this section is a typical Saint Paul 46′ roadway, with two-way traffic, parking lanes, and on-street bike lanes. All features are at substandard widths according to Saint Paul’s Street Design Guide, and this section has the highest concentration of serious crashes. This section is a critical route for residents commuting by bike to downtown, and connects to planned protected bikeways on Kellogg Boulevard and St. Peter Street as well as numerous existing and planned north/south bikeways.

We propose narrowing the existing roadway to remove the substandard, unsafe on-street bike lanes and repurpose the space to provide a 10′ off-street bike trail on either the north or south side of Summit Avenue (south side rendered below). Because this trail will not be shared with people walking (there are wide sidewalks which will be significantly buffered from the trail), it can serve people biking at a variety of speeds and comfort levels.

Intersection of Summit and Milton St. Left: current alignment. Right: proposed alignment (trail on south side of the street).

How this will affect various street uses

Cycling is, of course, the initial lens that we approached this through. This design will make Summit much more safe and inviting for cyclists of all ability levels and ages. The framing that I try to keep in mind when evaluating biking infrastructure is: would I feel comfortable taking an 8-year-old on a bike ride on it? Off-street trails are one of the few types of infrastructure that meet that standard.

People walking or rolling will also stand to gain a lot with this design. Currently the medians on Summit are simply large boulevards, with no accessible facilities to allow everyone to enjoy this amenity. Adding a paved multi-use path with curb cuts will allow everyone to enjoy the space.

Currently runners are the heaviest users of the medians. I, myself, was on the cross country team at Central High School, and most of our practices were runs up and down Summit. Runners often prefer traveling on unpaved surfaces because it is easier on the feet, which is what makes the Summit medians such a popular choice. Fortunately, there is plenty of space on the medians for runners to continue traveling on the grass alongside the new trail if they do so desire.

Another possible use of the medians would be for picnics or small yard games. I have not personally witnessed the space being used that way, and I am not sure why. This proposal does not preclude those uses. On sections with a center median, it is plenty wide enough to accomodate picnics on the grass beside the trail. And on sections with two smaller medians, the trail will only exist on one of the medians, allowing the other to serve as lounging space. It may be desirable for the park board to explore placing picnic tables or park benches periodically to encourage people to spend time in that space.

Drivers are minimally impacted by this design. None of the vehicle travel lanes are impacted, and no parking is being removed. Some low-volume cross streets will no longer be able to continue straight or make left turns onto Summit, but as we have seen with recent projects (more on that below) this has minimal impacts on traffic flow.

And finally, let’s not forget the trees. There are many mature trees along this corridor, and there should be enough space to place a trail without needing to remove any of the trees.

The broader context

It is essential to keep in mind that Summit Avenue was the original bike route in the city. First built in 1896, the dedicated bicycle path predates Summit being used for motor vehicle traffic. It was once the envy of the region. If we want to honor and preserve the historic status of this street, building a dedicated bike trail is a fine way of doing so.

St. Paul has been putting in some seriously world-class bike facilities in recent years; in particular, this proposal is similar to the Grand Round segments on Wheelock and Johnson Parkways. We have the staff expertise and the political will to do awesome projects like this. They are an enormous safety improvement, separating cyclists and pedestrians from cars. And as Johnson Parkway demonstrated, it is possible to further enhance that safety by closing low-traffic street crossings (thus reducing the number of conflict points) without significantly impacting traffic flow.

Bikeways like this form the backbone of St Paul’s bicycle network, and we have a shortage of them west of downtown. As e-bike James suggests, a great place to begin would be to build off-street trails on Summit and Lexington, thus dividing the area into quadrants. Then, in each of those quadrants, we can identify corridors that will divide it into sixteenths, and keep going down the fractal until everywhere in the city is no more than a couple of blocks from protected bike facilities.

A hypothetical order of building out a network of protected bike lanes west of downtown. This is in no way comprehensive.

About Ian R Buck

Co-chair of the Saint Paul Bicycle Coalition, podcaster, and teacher. Ian gets around via bike and public transportation. "You don't need a parachute to skydive; you just need a parachute to skydive twice!"

Articles near this location

41 thoughts on “Rethinking Summit Ave with the Saint Paul Bicycle Coalition

  1. Ian R Buck Post author

    Let’s be honest, making that gif for the end of this article was the highlight of my week! That’s a future St Paul I want to work towards.

  2. Steve Subera

    Ian,

    I read the report when I first saw it mentioned on Twitter and I had some comments and questions then and I want to follow-up on my thoughts.

    I love walking down the middle of the boulevards and I enjoy the green space. I think more work and resources should be allocated on the boulevards to make them greener; more trees, bushes, etc. For me, paving a 12-15′ wide swath of asphalt through the green area of the boulevards is an awful plan.

    Bike safety is extremely important. I mostly bike the stretch from Snelling to the river road. I don’t enjoy biking between Lexington and Dale.

    Aside from my own personal preference, I have questions about the survey. What are the labels between the two end points of “Not safe at all” and “Very safe”? I would assume the middle is neutral or no opinion? Also, as I mentioned above, biking east of Lexington is less safe for me than biking west of Snelling, but it doesn’t look like the survey divided out the sections.

    In one place the document mentions the survey was of the membership and the public, but on page 6, it just says only the membership. Which is it?

    Finally equity is important, but I see no mention of it anywhere in the document. The most the survey identifies is male/female. Do you have any data that the money spent on these trails will be equitable?

    1. Ian R Buck Post author

      I would love to see work done to make the boulevards greener as well!
      Keep in mind that paving a path through the boulevard will allow more people to enjoy the space, because in its current form it is not accessible to all.

    2. Ian R Buck Post author

      The questions where people were ranking perceived safety were just a scale of 1-5, 1 being “Not safe at all” and 5 being “Very safe.”
      The survey did not separate out the different sections of Summit.
      The survey was open for anyone to fill out.

      1. Steve Subera

        I do love off-road bicycle paths and I’m glad you’re advocating for better conditions for bicyclists. I also think the survey should have separated out the different sections of Summit. Not labeling 2-4 leaves those ambiguous. Three is neutral/no opinion for me, so my interpretation is that the majority of surveyed folks didn’t think Summit was unsafe in the summer, but you may have a different valid opinion.

        My overall thought after reading the report is that the focus needs to be on Lexington to Marshall by far. Can Lexington to the river be improved? Most likely and the buffer zone was a start and the speed limit for cars has decreased. But the solution presented of paving the boulevards looks to me like the most expensive, most complex solution to a problem that you need to define in more detail.

        1. Ian R Buck Post author

          Yes, the section from Lexington to Marshall is the most critical. As we say in the report, that is the section that sees the most serious crashes.
          The solution we propose for Lexington to the river connects well to the alignment east of Lexington, and is relatively easy to implement because it does not require a full reconstruction and redesign of the street. Putting asphalt on a boulevard is fairly simple, and the city has a lot of experience designing those kinds of facilities now.

    3. Ian R Buck Post author

      Agreed, equity is very important. We don’t have data on the demographics of those who currently bike Summit other than the gender and age that respondents reported on this survey.
      What kind of data are you looking for that would ensure the money is being spent equitably?

      1. Steve Subera

        I’m looking for any data. Is there city data on biking populations/income? You made an earlier statement that, “Safe bicycle facilities are crucial infrastructure for low-income residents.” But to what extent? Buses and light rail are also crucial infrastructure and likely more so for low-income residents than bicycles. When there is a limited pot of money where do you spend it?

        Wouldn’t any large project considered by the city have to have some data on who it benefits and who it might impact negatively?

        1. Ian R Buck Post author

          Bus and light rail are generally paid for by the Metropolitan Council with funds from the state, while this is a city project. So they aren’t really drawing from the same pot of money.
          I’m not sure what kind of data the city analyzes about equity and who their various projects benefit.

  3. James

    It would be great to have an annual “Vintage Bicycle Day” along the new Summit Ave. bike path someday!

  4. Jay StP Native

    I grew up in the Merriam Park area of St. Paul, not far from Summit Ave. The Summit Islands–as they are known (boulevards according to the writer of the piece here) are used for many purposes; as kids, we played on them all the time. I walk on them for exercise. Many jog on them. I have and I have seen other people have small gatherings–small picnics in groups of 2-8–for all my decades as St. Paul native. To say they’re not used by “everyone” is a strawman and meaningless statement. No, they aren’t used by “everyone:” They’re not used by bikers, but they’re also not used by autos.

    To pave part of the great green space of the beautiful Islands would be an abomination aesthetically, destroy the character of Summit Ave–recognized as one of the greatest avenues in the US–in part because of the Islands, and be harmful to the environment. We need the green space and should preserve it, particularly when it is used by people. This proposal to pave part of the Islands is ludicrous and absolutely biker-centric, except that most bikers I know are very interested in preserving, conserving, and protecting the environment. Given that the Islands are only present for several miles of Summit, a paved path on those Island doesn’t address the bigger issue of biking on all of Summit.

    If land is to be used for bike paths, it should come from the real boulevards at the side of the roads sitting between the street and sidewalks. Those are not used for any meaningful or regular purpose. I grew up in St. Paul on a corner lot, and those boulevards between sidewalks and streets are a waste of land other than for the green space they provide. But if some green space is to be used for bike lanes, that’s the green space to use, not the Summit Islands. These boulevards run the entire length of Summit, unlike the Islands.

    More importantly, the public in Minnesota needs to recognize how counterproductive the biking-advocacy community is for our cities, and the biker-advocacy community needs a reality check: This is Minnesota where our climate and weather does not allow for the kind of biking use that can be enjoyed in cities not as far north as St. Paul and Minneapolis. You can’t turn St. Paul into a biker’s paradise no matter what you do given the climate. This can’t be the Netherlands.
    It’s time for the rest of us to stand up to the insanity of the biking-advocacy community who think biking will ever be a significant part–volume-wise– of the local transportation infrastructure. We’ve already lost numerous lanes of auto traffic and parking lanes to barely-used bike paths. It’s a poor use of infrastructure given how little-used, and how little these resources can be used, in our climate of a long, severe weather winter season to devote so much of it to bike paths.

    The future for promoting a better transportation system, that better protects the environment, is mass transportation–light rail and streetcars. Bikes carry one person at a time, and they are of limited for shopping in any but a very minor way and for running long-distance errands.

    The idea that we will create two different types of bike paths for bikers on Summit is likewise ludicrous. No, you shouldn’t get two different paths (Island and street) for bikes on that part of Summit. You should get one–and USE it. Miss. River Rd has multiple paths for bikers to use, and they abuse and interfere with two of the paths.
    There is a dedicated bike lane for southbound bikers, but it barely gets used. Instead, I see bikers–going southbound–also using the auto lane and riding on the path on the land on the west side of the road along the river. We gave you bikers the path you wanted and you’re barely using it. Instead, most bikers I see are on the land path and they ABUSE that path. Far too many ride too fast–above the speed limit; they aren’t careful riders. They don’t pay attention to their surroundings, expecting others on the past to get out of their way. Far too many don’t indicate by sound when they’re approaching walkers and runners, as they are supposed to do. Far too many–most–are not careful riders on that path. I have had innumerable bikers brush past me on that path while speeding, nearly being knocked down every time I walk there. Why don’t bikers use the southbound bike lane they wanted and were given?
    Given the lack of use of paths requested by bikers, the public needs to discount the significance of requests from formal bike advocacy organizations—you don’t have a good track record of representing what common, everyday riders want and will use.

    So, we need to stop giving bikers paths they request when: 1. They barely use the paths they’ve been given; the level of bike traffic in St. Paul does not justify the lanes already created. 2. Bikers don’t use special paths created for them at their request–southbound on MIss River Rd–and abuse other path options there. You should get one path, like cars, and you need to use it responsibly. 3. Most bikers I encounter do not follow the laws of the road all over the city or the laws of the path (e.g., Miss River Rd.).
    Most bikers I see on the road ignore stop signs, road signs, red lights, violating traffic laws and endangering themselves and others. I’ve seen car accidents result from drivers needing to veer away from hitting illegally riding bikers–particularly bikers ignoring stop signs and red lights. Breaking the law is the norm for bikers in this city, and it needs to end. If bikers want the city and public to give them lanes, special consideration and respect, they need to start respecting other people by riding safely and obeying the laws.

    As far as Summit being created for bikers, that’s not entirely true, and that was before autos were invented for general use.

    1. Ian R Buck Post author

      Happy to meet a fellow St Paul native! I hope you’ll agree with me that we should keep working to make this city we call home a wonderful place for all to live.

      As you say, the boulevards are not used by cyclists or by drivers, but they are also not accessible to those in wheelchairs. This proposal remedies that.

      Bike paths wouldn’t destroy the character of the corridor. As I mentioned in the article, Summit had bike paths as far back as 1896, so this is entirely in line with the historic character of the corridor.

      In what way would this be harmful to the environment? We’re removing a bit of Kentucky Bluegrass (which isn’t even a native plant species) in order to reduce motor vehicle miles traveled, which is the biggest source of carbon dioxide emissions in Minnesota. We aren’t even removing any trees. Seems pretty environmentally friendly to me!

      The boulevards you name on the sides of the roads are not wide enough through the corridor to be converted into bikeways. Trees would have to be removed, or the street would have to be reconstructed and realigned, or both. That would be more harmful to the environment than this proposal.

      Our climate is quite conducive to cycling. The biggest thing preventing people from cycling through the winter is that historically, bike infrastructure has not been well maintained by the city. However, the city’s priorities are beginning to change for the better. If you visit Como Ave, Wheelock Pkwy, Ayd Mill Rd, or Johnson Pkwy during the winter, you will find facilities that are well maintained and well used through all seasons. This can be the Netherlands, and that is my aim.

      Mass transit is certainly a key piece of the puzzle for creating a low-carbon transportation system. Public transit and cycling complement each other beautifully, so improving one benefits the other. If your destination is a little too far from the bus to comfortably walk, take your bike on the bus and cut down your trip time significantly.
      Bikes are extremely useful for shopping. I have a standard safety bike, and with it I can carry more than you could reasonably take with you on the bus. And by attaching a trailer, I can carry far more! And there are many varieties of cargo bikes with massive capacities. Bikes tend to work better for shopping than public transit (at least given our current transit system) because it is easier to run trips to multiple destinations on your own schedule.

      The two different bike facilities will serve different styles of cycling. It is not appropriate to force an eight-year-old who weaves around at 5 mph on the same facility as a vehicular cyclist who cruises along at 20 mph.
      Mississippi River Boulevard is a great example of how to do a bikeway wrong. The trail is far too narrow for pedestrians and cyclists to share comfortably, but the street (which has a tiny bike lane in only one direction) is so pothole-ridden that most cyclists only feel safe riding on the trail. There’s a lot of work to be done on that corridor, and trust me, we are working on that.

      Most drivers I see break traffic laws. Breaking the law is the norm for drivers in this city. The difference is that they are also introducing mutli-ton, deadly pieces of machinery into the situation, and it is their responsibility to make sure that that machinery does not injure or kill anyone. Bikers are much less likely to injure or kill others.

      1. Ron

        This has got to be comedy. Take the most historic street in the state with beautiful medians and drive asphalt thru the middle. Sorry you haven’t noticed Ian, but these medians are used regularly currently for picnics, sstrolling and get togethers. Perhaps you haven’t walked down Summit in the past year but it is a highway full of walkers. Runners run done the middle, walkers use the entire median.

        Try again. Summit bike lanes from Lexington to the river are the widest lanes in the city. I frequently bike with my 6 your old and feel quite safe. Then we stop and play baseball in the median.

        Good luck with your quest. If you want to think about equity, Summit Ave bike lanes and median use are about last on the list of things to address.

        1. Bill LindekeBill LindekeModerator  

          If you want to see how nice it could look, check out Wheelock Parkway. I guarantee the Summit median would be more used if it had a safe trail running down it than it is today.

          1. Peter

            East River Parkway was resurfaced between Randolph and Marshall last summer. Its a beautiful smooth road now. However, southbound bikers continue to use the combined pedestrian/bike path. A pot holed road is no longer an excuse for bad behavior (speeding).

      2. Trademark

        Between this and the midtown Greenway the pseduo-envionmentalism of keeping grass that no one uses versus encouraging alternative methods of transportation to actually address emissions is really starting to piss me off!

  5. TJ

    It’s pretty entertaining (in that “laugh to not be frustrated” way) to see people clutch their pearls about ASPHALT in the Lovely Green Median as if the proposed bike path isn’t replacing what is currently a dirt and dead grass zone from years if not decades of runners. You can go to Google Maps and look yourself!

  6. Adam FroehligAdam Froehlig

    On the wide ROW section west of Lexington, I’d rather have PBLs than a center median path (which wouldn’t exist anyway between Wheeler and Snelling). Optimally, we’d have both, especially if the city would have to reconstruct the street anyway. But if I have to choose, I’d choose PBLs over a median path.

    A question for Ian (because I’ve read the report and I don’t recall it mentioning this): did the Bike Coalition even consider PBLs along Snelling?

    1. Ian R Buck Post author

      I assume you mean along Summit, not Snelling? Yes, our survey asked how safe people would feel traveling on protected bike lanes, and that graph is included in the article.

    2. Monte Castleman

      The trouble with “protected” bike lanes is they make a lot of bicyclists feel unsafe because of how close the put bicyclists to automotive traffic, as evidenced by the charts in the article (compare the number of people that feel safe on trails vs PBLs and the number that said separation from cars is “very important” . I’m obviously fine with separate trails, I’m even fine with the Richfield cycletracks because there’s still real protection with a substantial buffer of grass and even trees. But I tried the Washington Ave lanes and was terrified out of my wits and will never use it again.

      1. Adam FroehligAdam Froehlig

        Ian: yes, I meant Summit.

        Monte: not if you put the parking between the travel lane and the PBL. The aforementioned graph indicates a decent amount of support for such.

        1. Monte Castleman

          Decent support, but not as much support as a separated trail.

          Any protection form a parking “protected” lane disappears as soon as there’s no cars parked there, near intersections where parking isn’t allowed, and as soon as a passenger opens a door up in front of you.

  7. David

    Prior to any major changes, I would like to see the city properly mark, police and maintain, year round, a well surfaced Summit Ave. The combination of very poor road conditions and inadequate curb-to-curb plowing makes Summit (as well as Marshal Ave) a terror for winter biking and bone-jarring during warmer months. Do these simple things first, monitor, question, re evaluate and proceed.

    1. Peter

      I agree completely. Fix the pavement. Plow the road properly (and the rest of the city streets) and monitor the situation. The City has more pressing needs than another bike path.

    2. Ian R Buck Post author

      The difficulties the city has with maintaining on-street bike facilities in the winter is one of the major reasons an off-street trail is our recommended solution.

  8. Peter

    What needs to be addressed is the advent of electric bicycles. Sales are booming. However their speed capability is excessive. 20+mph is too fast for a combined pedestrian/bike pathway. Not to mention a lot of the electric bike buyers are not experienced bicyclists. Minneapolis separated their pedestrian and bike paths years ago following the death of a pedestrian killed by a biker on a shared pathway (Lake of The Isles). Another reason to leave the bikes in the street and pedestrians on the island.

    1. Ian R Buck Post author

      BikeMN is working on getting state legislation passed that will define different types of ebikes and how they fit into traffic laws.

      1. revhokan

        From what I hear, BikeMN wants E-bikes (including the class-3 motorbikes that go 28 mph) classed as bicycles. The trails are going to be so safe with those things wizzing by.

  9. Chris

    I live on Summit. I can count the number of bikers on one hand most winter days. Almost all are white males. The vast majority of use is by walkers/runners. Spending millions of dollars on bike paths is certainly a 2019 issue. Think of the difference several million dollars will make at North Dale rec center or Phalen Rec center. Time for your bike lobby to catch up to today’s issues. Summit is safe for riding, show me data otherwise and please don’t include those who run red lights into traffic.

      1. Steve Subera

        Bill, then you might also need to ask for lighting along the trail if you expect to expand the number of people using it in winter. I don’t think there’s any mention of lighting in the report.

        I’m not completely against a trail on Summit, but I am against the details of the solution presented in the bike report. Some of the details, for example, like a shared path don’t sound good for pedestrians because if it’s heavily used by bicyclists – as I’m assuming that’s the goal – people aren’t going to walk on it. Maybe I’m wrong, though and someone can show me that pedestrians like shared trails. Also, the survey is not much of a needs analysis and concluding that a path down the boulevards is the solution to the results of the survey is a big stretch.

        You mentioned in another reply about Wheelock. I think that had the advantage of being a complete rebuild. If Summit gets a complete rebuild then an off-street path should be part of the discussion. I’m hoping for constructive discussions about Summit, although now that Ayd Mill is finished maybe people need something else to fight about in unproductive ways:)

        1. Ian R Buck Post author

          This proposal isn’t a complete design process, but a starting point to bring to the city. Details like lighting, drainage, etc will be sorted out by city staff.

          The reason we put out this report now is because a section of Summit is coming up for a full reconstruction next year, so it is a perfect time to determine what our long-term goals for the corridor are.

    1. Trademark

      Even if people are only biking half the year, so? If we can encourage people to drive less for half the year that’s less emissions, less traffic, and a healthier population. Personally I don’t ride in the winter and never will I use transit more in the winter. But are we really arguing that we shouldnt invest in something cause its not used by everyone everyday?

      Safety in bike facilities is even more important in winter because of ice and snow and how easily it is to either fall as a biker or skid as a car. I get it I used to think the bike mafia was unreasonable (and see the midtown Greenway losing their mind. They still can be). Our number 1 focus needs to be on transit. But biking complements transit so well. Instead of waiting 20 minutes for your bus you can bike a mile and catch a more frequent line. Imagine how much use bikes would get if you get a Nice Ride from a bus transfer.

  10. Michael

    I have used Summit Avenue to commute to work since 1988 (before the switch to one-lane for motorists and a striped bike lane). The suggestion of a paved lane down the center of the median is vastly less safe than the current design. Every cross street to the median becomes an opportunity to be hit by vehicle that just “didn’t see the cyclist.” As each of the non-signaled crossings is only a yield, not a stop, many motorists do not significantly slow when entering the crossing, only when it becomes clear that there is oncoming motor vehicle traffic. Even on the signaled crossings, motor vehicles making a left turn frequently run the median stop light (I have narrowly avoided being T-boned as a motorist in this fashion several times). While I am open to innovative ideas, this one invites disaster.

    1. TJ

      “The City should explore closing selected intersections through the median as well to reduce conflict points for people biking and walking, and to increase the amount of green space and room for tree planting.”

      As someone who doesn’t really bike on Summit an awful lot, I don’t have a dog in this fight beyond agreeing that /something/ needs to be done to improve it, but let’s not misrepresent the article like this exact problem wasn’t accounted for.

  11. John

    The dirt down the median is testament to the large volumes of runners and walkers that use it. Replacing it with a paved bike path will reduce the quality of experience for pedestrians that run/walk Summit specifically because it is a softer surface. Making this an equity issue of who can and cannot access the median isn’t a great argument. There’s already bike lanes and sidewalks on either side of the street. The bikeway as proposed simply displaces one set of users with priority for another. The right-of-way on Summit is massive. I bike and run it frequently and do think biking could be improved, but doesn’t need to come at the cost of runners and walkers that enjoy the dirt path. Let’s look at the other 50+ feet that could be modified.

    1. Ian R Buck Post author

      I addressed that in the article, it will not be difficult for runners who prefer the grass to run next to the paved trail. There is plenty of space.

      The big equity issue is that people on wheelchairs currently cannot enjoy the space.

  12. Trademark

    If people want the green space so bad. Then take the car lanes. And plant grass on it. To claim environmental reasons as a reason to prevent better and safer bike access is preposterous.

    That’s like wearing a mask that doesn’t cover your mouth and saying your stopping covid

Comments are closed.