New pedestrian management plan aims for safe crossings of Summit Avenue

New pedestrian management plan aims for safe crossings of Summit Avenue

St. Thomas has developed a pedestrian plan for Summit Avenue between Cleveland and Cretin avenues, and asks everyone to use the new paved crossings and to not jaywalk.

Under the city-approved plan, St. Thomas this summer:

  • Eliminated three concrete crosswalks in the Summit parkway median east of Finn Street.
  • Installed a new concrete crosswalk in the median east of Finn.
  • Installed an asphalt path in the median west of Finn, from near the Lot H driveway to the southeast corner of Summit and Cretin.
  • Moved the intercampus and Associated Colleges of the Twin Cities bus stop just to the west of the sidewalk that runs from the Arches to Summit. This will provide better sightlines for motorists on eastbound Summit and pedestrians crossing Summit.

The city mandated a pedestrian management plan in 2004 as part of a Conditional Use Permit that regulates development of the two blocks bounded by Summit, Cleveland, Grand and Cretin avenues. City officials and neighbors have had concerns increased pedestrian traffic across Summit and jaywalking west of Finn since 1997, when the Frey Science and Engineering Center opened.

Highlights of the $240,000 plan:

  • On the block east of Finn, the existing two diagonal sidewalks and the mid-block sidewalk were removed from the median. St. Thomas installed a wider concrete sidewalk near Finn, and it serves as an extension of the existing sidewalk that runs from the Arches to the westbound lane of Summit.
  • Also on the east block, but on university property on the south side of Summit, St. Thomas created a northwest-southeast sidewalk between the new Summit median sidewalk and the northwest entrance of McNeely Hall. Landscaping, two Mankato-Kasota Stone walls and benches will deter jaywalking across the Summit median.
  • On the west block, St. Thomas installed an asphalt path in the Summit median from the Lot H driveway to Cretin. The path replaces two dirt footpaths and should result in the end of most, if not all, jaywalking. The path is viewed as a temporary solution, and St. Thomas will remove the path in five years unless the West Summit Neighborhood Advisory Committee (WSNAC) agrees to an extension. St. Thomas will come up with a permanent solution for pedestrians crossing Summit along the west block as part of development plans for a new campus center on Lot H.

St. Thomas and neighborhood organizations began discussions of a pedestrian management plan in 2001 and renewed them in early 2005. WSNAC spent 10 months reviewing plans and contributed $15,000 towards the east block segment.

The Merriam Park and Macalester-Groveland and Merriam Park Community Councils also endorsed the proposal. The St. Paul Heritage Preservation Commission and St. Paul Parks and Recreation Commission gave unanimous approvals this spring, and the City Council subsequently approved the parks commission decision.