Construction soon will be under way on a project to improve safety at the intersection of Cretin and Summit avenues by installing larger sidewalks on the Summit medians and larger areas on which pedestrians can stand on the four corners.
Opus Design Build, which also is building the adjacent Anderson Student Center and Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex on the St. Thomas campus, will carry out the Summit-Cretin intersection project. It is scheduled to be completed by Labor Day.
A plan approved by the St. Paul Heritage Preservation Commission in April calls for the following:
- The Summit median sidewalks will be expanded to 20 feet wide on the east side of Cretin and 12 feet wide on the west. The wider sidewalks will better accommodate pedestrians walking between the main and south campuses and will reduce the amount of time they are within the crosswalks.
- The concrete areas on the four corners of Summit and Cretin will be expanded to accommodate more pedestrians waiting to cross the streets. The largest expansions will be on the southeast and northeast corners; with the latter, the “free right” for westbound motorists turning onto northbound Cretin will be eliminated and the yield sign will be removed. Smaller concrete expansions will occur on the southwest and northwest corners.
- New traffic signal poles will be installed at the intersection and signal timing changes will be made to improve vehicular traffic flow on Cretin and Summit. In addition, audio messages will provide alerts to pedestrians on when they can cross the streets.
- The existing bicycle lanes on westbound and eastbound Summit will be maintained.
Detours are not expected for motorists during the project, but pedestrians will need to take alternative routes on occasion.
In addition, the city will change traffic signals at the intersection of Cretin and Grand avenues to improve traffic flow. Left-turn arrows will be installed for northbound and southbound traffic, allowing motorists to more easily turn into the south campus or onto eastbound Grand from Cretin.
The changes in the intersections followed a yearlong study as part of an Environmental Assessment Worksheet review of the student center and athletic and recreation center. St. Thomas and the West Summit Neighborhood Advisory Committee worked closely with Opus and SRF Consulting, which conducted the EAW review for the city, to develop a plan that would enhance pedestrian safety without compromising vehicular traffic.