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SUMMIT AVENUE REGIONAL BIKE TRAIL

RHA UPDATES REGARDING
THE SUMMIT AVENUE REGIONAL BIKE TRAIL

With the Summit Avenue Regional Trail Master Plan under way, RHA has moved to solicit feedback from neighborhood residents and engage both concerned groups and the City to help provide a voice for our community. Below you fill find updates of informational meetings and updates between the city and the RHA. (Most recent updates listed first)

June 2, 2023

The St. Paul City Council voted last week to approve the Summit Avenue Regional Trail (SART) plan. The plan now heads to Mayor Melvin Carter for final approval.

RHA has been vocal, both in person and in writing with the City regarding the trail. We believe the 6-1 vote to approve neither reflects the true position of our neighborhood nor the split 4-3 vote by the Parks and Recreation Commission. This will be discussed at RHA's next meeting with CM Balenger.

April 13, 2023

At the Parks and Recreation Commission Meeting, RHA President Jacob Walls spoke at the meeting to offer RHA’s perspective and submitted the written statement below to the Commission, based on member feedback and member survey responses to the SART proposal.

Letter to Parks & Recreation Commission,

The Ramsey Hill Assocation (RHA) represents over 370 households across the Ramsey Hill neighborhood. Over the past year, RHA has been actively engaged with our members regarding the Summit Avenue Regional Trail proposal. The overwhelming majority of our members have consistently and firmly opposed these proposals. There are broad based and grounded reasons for this opposition. The historic nature of Ramsey Hill is a state treasure, let alone a national one. Our wide streets, our boulevards, our treescape, and the historic architecture of this neighborhood have for generations required vigilant protection from tactical modernization and nearsighted renovations. These grass root efforts have been the lifeblood of the neighborhood and have saved countless houses from demolition and have brought back priceless public artwork and Gardenscapes into the heart of this capital city. Our engaged members and residents have carried this tradition forward in an effort to preserve this neighborhood for future generations to enjoy and live in.


The proposed Summit Avenue Regional Trail has created a mood of tension and distrust between our neighborhood and the City of Saint Paul. As mentioned, the overwhelming majority of RHA’s membership have demonstrated firm opposition to the trail and this position continues to grow. We believe RHA has a responsibility to amplify the voices of its members and the community. We are committed to that purpose, and we believe our members have been steadfastly clear in their opposition to the City’s Trail proposal.


Last summer, RHA sponsored an event with SARPA and SOS to raise awareness of the City’s early proposal. That turnout of over 150 was not just a strong reflection of our membership but also a fraction of the thousands of neighbors signing to petition the City of Saint Paul against the current proposal. In the weeks and months that followed, we have engaged with the City of Saint Paul across multiple members and channels and have held an official recorded meeting with Parks and Recreation. RHA has regularly solicited feedback from our members and neighbors, and these meetings were opportunities to directly convey those questions, concerns and expectations. This feedback to RHA and Parks & Recreation consistently and increasingly reflects the sentiments above. More recently, RHA has met with our City Council Member, Russel Balenger to convey these concerns and ensure the City Council was aware of the general mood and position of the neighborhood.


Considering all the above, RHA believes Parks & Recreation and the City of Saint Paul should remediate its proposals and ensure majority local resident buy-in is gained before proceeding in any material changes to the infrastructure of our State Capital’s Historic Ramsey Hill.


Sincerely,
Jacob Walls,
President, Ramsey Hill Association

March 16, 2023
Summit Avenue Regional Trail Resources:
 
Summit Avenue Regional Trail community engagement website:
CLICK HERE FOR WEBSITE
The City Parks and Recreation Department will engage community members to inform and develop a Regional Trail Plan for Summit Avenue that reviews the corridor from the Mississippi River to Downtown Saint Paul. This plan will evaluate opportunities, constraints, and feasibility of a regional trail facility within the corridor and will serve as a guide to future transportation, pedestrian, and parkway improvements.

Safer Summit
CLICK HERE FOR WEBSITE
Summit Avenue can be both beautiful and safe. The City of St. Paul is going to rebuild Summit Avenue over the next few years. This is a once in a generation chance to update the street. Voice your support for safer walking, biking, and driving options on Summit. Help make this vital corridor accessible to ALL.


S.O.S. Save our Street
CLICK HERE FOR WEBSITE
Summit Avenue is Saint Paul’s treasured, historic street. SOS stands for Save Our Street because Summit belongs to all of Saint Paul, it is OUR flagship street. And people far beyond our capital city have signed our SOS petition and expressed their support.
February 1, 2023
The draft 90% Regional Trail Plan is now available for public comment online
  • 90% Draft: Document can be viewed HERE (please note the file size is large, downloading file will be necessary to review)
  • 90% Draft: Public comments Link Here
  • A brief video is also available outlining the proposed trail facility. Video Link
Public comments received on the 90% draft in February will be compiled and published on the project website.
 
There will be additional public comment opportunities available through meeting structures (Parks and Rec Commission, Met Council Parks and Open Space Committee, Met Council Board) when the final plan is reviewed for formal approval in 2023.  These are noted in the project timeline below.
Summit Ave_Project Timeline-1.png
October 19, 2022
The City of St. Paul hosted an Open House in October.
Details here: Open House Details
September 19, 2022

RHA hosted a meeting with Saint Paul Parks and Recreation on September 19th regarding the Summit Avenue Regional Trail proposal. During this meeting, we posed questions raised from the neighborhood and asked the City to provide answers, insight and opportunities for further engagement. Please watch the video below for more information.

Questions Received from Ramsey Hill Association in DAC Summary of Feedback Form – July 2022:

 
  • Who maintains the green buffers?
  • Where does the snow go when it is shoveled from the bike path onto private driveways and Vice versa?
  • Where do trash and recycling go when there’s no alley and the only place to put the receptacles are in the street? Or bike lanes?
  • How do moving trucks, delivery vehicles etc. access properties?
  • Where does the overflow of cars go when huge events are held at the Cathedral or any of the churches, schools and special events centers that rely on folks needing to park nearby?
  • Many are asking what alternative routes were looked at?
  • Why Summit?
  • Why connect a trail that is already connected?
  • Where’s the plan for Kellogg to the Cathedral?
  • Were any constituents and taxpayers asked about the need prior to this complicated process being undertaken?
August 28, 2022

We are scheduling a meeting with the RHA Board and City for mid-September. Please submit your latest and newest questions about the Summit Avenue Regional Trail proposals by September 19. Our plan is to record and share this conversation.

July 30, 2022

From the City:
Thank you for staying engaged in the Summit Ave. Regional Trail Master Plan process.  As leaders in your organizations, we appreciate the time you have shared to facilitate conversation and be a resource for project-related information in the community. At this point in the process, the City is working on development of a draft Regional Trail Master Plan document to share with the public that reflects community engagement and design processes to-date.  An updated project schedule, including previous and ongoing steps, is outlined below for reference.

Anticipated Schedule
2021
Oct-Nov.    Engagement Website & Project Kickoff

2022 | 2023
Jan-Feb.               Advisory Committee Meetings & Corridor Evaluation
Mar-Apr.             Master Plan Development & Corridor Analysis
May-Jun.            Design Concepts & Public Info. Session
July-Sept.             Draft Master Plan & Open House
Oct.-Dec.             Final Master Plan & Approval Processes

Project Resources & Next Steps

Meeting materials from June 6th public information session show the most current design concepts, reflecting about 30% design progress.  These are posted to the project website HERE under project documents < meeting materials.

July 19, 2022

With the Summit Avenue Regional Trail Master Plan under way, RHA has moved to solicit feedback from neighborhood residents and engage both concerned groups and the City to help provide a voice for our community.

RHA is a multi-issue neighborhood association, serving over 360 households from Summit to 94 and the Cathedral to Dale. Our neighbors have an array of needs and opinions. As such, we’re working to engage all sides of the issue and provide access to information. Recently, RHA hosted a presentation by SARPA at the Cathedral, with over 120 people in attendance. This was both informational and activating for many neighbors.

RHA has also engaged with the City of Saint Paul to provide feedback on design, voicing that over 75% of our neighbor respondents stated they were firmly against the design plans as they are presented today. The City has offered an opportunity to present to the RHA board and clarify any points of the existing plan. A date is being scheduled. RHA will sending out a questionnaire, requesting neighbors submit their questions to the RHA board. The City has also committed to an Open House once the Master Plan Draft has been completed. In addition to our District Councils and our neighborhood associations such as SARPA and RHA, this will offer another direct feedback loop opportunity.

We will continue to send updates.

The RHA Board

From the city last week: Summit Ave. Regional Trail Master Plan

We’re working on development of the draft master plan document that summarizes engagement processes, corridor evaluations, and trail design ideas for the corridor.  The latest project design information is available in the June 6th meeting materials.

 

Community members can connect with their local district councils and utilize the site "Summit Regional Master Plan" to take the survey, map ideas, and share feedback.

 

Future engagement opportunities will include an open house and public comment period when a draft of the master plan is available, later this summer.  Open House event details are to be determined, but will be shared on the project website and through Parks social media outreach.

July 2, 2022

Thank you to the members who attended the meeting on Monday to hear Save Our Street. We have shared your questions with the city and continue to have conversations with them as the plan “rolls the road”. Plan on end-of-the week updates from us.

 

The RHA Board of Directors has not taken a stance either for or against the Summit Avenue proposal since is not complete, and the city is still taking input. I (Cathy Maes) do think that it is fair to say that a majority of the board is not in favor of tree loss.

 

The city will be giving RHA weekly updates and we will communicate the plans as they progress. We do know that Parks had a meeting with Public Works this week to review the plan in greater detail. Once there is a plan that doesn’t have so many moving parts and pieces, we will schedule another listening session for city staff to present face-to-face.

 

Here are your questions from Monday (shared with the city):

- HPC has not been actively part of the process.  Concern that we could lose historic district designation and funding that comes with it

- Question about the federal funding formula.  Is that the motivation driving this proposal?

- Has there been an environmental study done? (Tom responded that the City had not done one)

- Comment on destroying the symmetry of the Summit Avenue streetscape

- Highlight to Slide #5 as the Better Way June 27 RHA Meeting tsd presentation final version 2-25-2022 (1).pdf

- Comment on inclusiveness???? I did not know how/if this was relevant.  We have not chosen the path for the trail.

- Possibility of funding an independent audit of bicycle/traffic?  Funding for this?

- What are the economics of this proposal?  City does not currently do a good job of maintaining infrastructure.  What are the City's plans to maintain this new trail?  What are the implications of poor maintenance?

- Who is leading the political effort to push this proposal?   Has the City already decided?

- Comment by avid cyclist - If City's plan is implemented, commuters will ride on street without bike lanes.  Not safe.

As always, if you have any questions please reach out.

Cathy Maes, RHA President

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