UST to submit pedestrian management plan for Summit Avenue

St. Thomas is preparing to submit to the city of St. Paul a plan to better manage pedestrian movement across Summit Avenue between Cleveland and Cretin avenues.

The plan calls for eliminating three existing concrete crosswalks in the Summit median east of Finn Street, installing a new concrete crosswalk in the median east of Finn and installing an asphalt path in the median west of Finn.

If approved by the city, the plan would be in place by September for the beginning of the 2006-07 academic year and the opening of the new McNeely Hall. The city mandated the plan as part of the 2004 Conditional Use Permit, which allows St. Thomas to redevelop the two blocks bounded by Summit, Cleveland, Grand and Cretin.

The West Summit Neighborhood Advisory Committee has endorsed the plan and has agreed to contribute $15,000 toward the east block portion. The committee includes representatives from St. Thomas and four neighborhood organizations – the Macalester-Groveland Community Council, the Merriam Park Community Council, the Summit Avenue Residential Preservation Association and Neighbors United.

St. Thomas also is seeking endorsement from the boards of the two community councils. The Merriam Park board endorsed the plan Jan. 11. The Macalester-Groveland board will consider the issue at its Transportation Committee meeting at 7 p.m. today, Jan. 30, at the Edgcumbe Community Center, 320 S. Griggs St., and at its full board meeting Feb. 9 (same time and location). St. Thomas then will submit the plan to the St. Paul Heritage Preservation Commission and the St. Paul Parks and Recreation Commission for their approvals this spring.

Highlights of the plan:

  • On the block east of Finn, the existing two diagonal sidewalks and the mid-block sidewalk would be removed from the Summit median. St. Thomas would install a 24-foot-wide concrete sidewalk near Finn, with the sidewalk serving as an extension of the existing sidewalk that runs from the Arches to the westbound lane of Summit.
  • Also on the east block, on the south side of Summit, St. Thomas would create a northwest-southeast sidewalk connecting the northwest entrance of the new McNeely Hall and the new north-south Summit median crosswalk. Landscaping, two Mankato-Kasota stone walls and benches would deter jaywalking across the Summit median.
  • On the block west of Finn, St. Thomas would install an asphalt path in the Summit median, running roughly from just east of the Lot H driveway to the west/southwest before ending at Cretin. This asphalt path would replace the two existing dirt footpaths on the west block and should result in the end of most, if not all, jaywalking across Summit.

St. Thomas and WSNAC consider the asphalt path to be a temporary solution to jaywalking problems, and St. Thomas agrees with a WSNAC request that the path will be removed in five years (2011) unless WSNAC agrees to an extension.

In the meantime, St. Thomas will come up with a permanent solution for pedestrians crossing Summit along the west block as part of long-term development plans for a new campus center on Lot H north of Summit and a residential village on the south side of Summit between Finn and Cretin.