ST PAUL, Minn. — After public hearings, ongoing discussions and presentations and months of planning, on Wednesday night the St. Paul City Council gave their seal of approval to proposed plans for the Summit Avenue Regional Trail Plan.
The plan for the 5.4-mile corridor from Mississippi River Boulevard to Shepard Road would separate bike riders and drivers, moving the bike trail off of Summit Avenue and relocating it to the same level as the current walkway.
Many homeowners in the area have spoken out against the plan, citing concerns about their trees and the loss of parking spaces.
But bike enthusiasts counter that the current system, which places bikes next to traffic on the road is too narrow when you factor in space for parked vehicles.
“This vision for Summit Avenue supports the evolving needs of users to create a safer and more resilient, people-oriented corridor,” said St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter in a statement. “The passage by the council is an important milestone for desired improvements to connectivity and access to open space for a broad range of users.”
Parks and Recreation Director Andy Rodriguez told KARE 11 at a public meeting in April that the area would lose about 220 trees regardless of where the bike path would go because of the badly needed road construction.
“If we were just plainly reconstructing the road not making any separated bike trail, the impacts would be similar,” said Rodriguez.
In a resolution, the council noted that while the city does have a "capital allocation policy," those funds will not be used for the trail plan at this time, but it does open a door for future funding opportunities, according to a press release from the city.
The trail plan now goes to the Metropolitan Council in July for final review and potential approval. Met Council helps fund regional trails across the metro area and approval could help the project receive funding support in the future.
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