A rare idyllic car-free moment on Summit avenue

Ten Pictures for a Safer Summit

A wide variety of writers have written thousands of words in support of St. Paul’s plan for protected bike lanes on Summit Avenue.

Here’s my own closing argument, in 10 pictures.

At top: Summit Avenue on a quiet fall morning on October 9, 2020. If every day were so peaceful and car free, perhaps cyclists wouldn’t need a separated trail. The following 10 pictures tell a very different story.

August 13, 2019: two SUVs crashed at Summit and Victoria with enough force to completely flip one of the SUVs. No amount of paint would have protected a cyclist if they had been in the bike lane when crash happened. As American cars continue to grow larger and heavier, pedestrians and cyclists need much more robust protection from drivers.
August 13, 2019: Two SUVs crashed at Summit and Victoria with enough force to flip one of the SUVs. No amount of paint would have protected a cyclist if they had been in the bike lane during the crash. As U.S. cars continue to grow larger and heavier and drivers more distracted, pedestrians and cyclists need more robust protection from traffic violence.
September 30, 2022: Another crash between two SUVs  near Summit and Dale. The painted bike lane didn't stop the maroon SUV, but the curb did.
September 30, 2022: Another crash between two SUVs, near Summit and Dale. In this relatively minor fender bender, the painted bike lane didn’t stop either SUV. But the curb did.
August 26, 2022: less than a mile north of Summit at Western Avenue and St. Anthony. I was rear-ended by a driver while stopped at a stop sign within a painted bike lane no different from Summit's.
August 26, 2022: Less than a mile north of Summit at Western Avenue and St. Anthony. I was rear-ended by a driver while stopped at a stop sign within a painted bike lane, exactly like the bike lanes on Summit.
June 22, 2022: Riding home after visiting me at work, I asked my ten year old daughter to lead the way. She chose to ride on the sidewalk and said riding the street didn't feel safe.
June 22, 2022: Riding home after visiting me at work, I asked my 10-year-old daughter to lead the way. She chose to ride on the sidewalk and said riding in the street with cars didn’t feel safe. Cycling on Summit should be safe for all ages and abilities. Near Victoria Street.
April 6, 2023: A Fedex truck, and SUV, and a pickup truck block the bike lane near Lexington
April 6, 2023: A Fedex truck, an SUV and a pickup truck block the bike lane near Lexington. Delivery trucks, dumpsters and lawn service vehicles frequently block the bike lane.
July 13, 2022: A UPS truck blocks the bike lane near Avon Street
July 13, 2022: A UPS truck blocks the bike lane near Avon Street.
, February 21, 2023: An Amazon truck blocks the bike lane near Milton Street
February 21, 2023: An Amazon truck blocks the bike lane near Milton Street.
November 14, 2019: A light dusting of early winter snow renders the bike lane unrideable, filled with rutted frozen slush.
November 14, 2019: A light dusting of early winter snow renders the bike lane unrideable, filled with rutted frozen slush. Most years, the bike lane is completely unrideable throughout the entire winter. Near Milton Street.
March 7, 2023: After four months of winter, the parking lane is completely filled with snow and cars are parked entirely in the bike lane.
March 7, 2023: Typical winter conditions. The parking lane is filled with snow, and cars are parked entirely in the bike lane. Near Chatsworth Street.
August 28, 2021: A few dozen peacefully protesting Water Protectors are violently arrested outside the Governor's Mansion. They were protesting to stop the Line 3 pipeline, which now pumps Canadian tar sands to Superior, Wisconsin, through vulnerable wetlands and Anishinaabe treaty territory. Unless we build infrastructure for sustainable transportation, climate change and wilderness destruction for oil production will only accelerate.
August 28, 2021: More than 60 peacefully protesting Water Protectors were violently arrested outside the Governor’s mansion. They were protesting to stop the Line 3 pipeline, which now pumps Canadian tar sands to Superior, Wisconsin, through vulnerable wetlands and Anishinaabe treaty territory. Unless we build infrastructure for sustainable transportation, climate change and wilderness destruction for oil production will only accelerate.

All photos by the author

Editor’s note: Voice your support for the 90% Summit Avenue Regional Trail Plan at the Parks and Recreation Commission meeting tomorrow (Thursday, April 13), 6:30 to 8 p.m., at Palace Community Center, 781 Palace Ave. Email your comments by noon today (Wednesday, April 12) to: ParksCommission@ci.stpaul.mn.us. Put PRC Public Comments in the subject line. Wear blue or purple to the meeting (to counteract the SOS members being asked to wear green) and bring along a bike helmet, per Sustain Saint Paul.

Dan Marshall

About Dan Marshall

Pronouns: he/him

Dan Marshall lives in Hamline-Midway, is the father of four kids, owns a retail shop in Saint Paul with his wife and daughter, bikes all around town, and holds a history degree from the U of M. He aspires to create mildly interesting local content for Streets.mn readers. @DanMarStP

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