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'Safety On Summit' Gathers To Talk Bike Lane Improvements In St. Paul

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) -- A fatal bicycle accident prompted people concerned about safety along Summit to unite in St. Paul Tuesday night.

A school bus struck Alan Grahn last month, killing the 75-year-old grandfather.

Dozens who want to make the well-traveled street safer showed up to talk about what can be improved. The group Safety on Summit is asking for safety upgrades along Summit Avenue.

Bike after bike pulled in, ready to join like-minded people -- concerned about safety on Summit Avenue.

"Any regular bicyclist has close calls all the time and there but for fortune you know it could be you," Bill Dooley of Minneapolis said.

The Schloff's have ridden the route for 40-plus years.

"I don't want to be killed on Summit. I'm always afraid if somebody, you know if a car plows into us, we wear helmets and all that but we're not spring chickens," Linda Schloff said.

People in the Macalester College lecture hall shared stories of enjoyment while biking, then of injury and loss and when they were frightened to ride Summit.

"Biking down Summit in winter is a contact sport," said one man.

A woman chimed in, "It's like taking your life into your hands."

Some offered suggestions for improvement.

"Why not have a flashing light warning busy intersection," one woman said.

Another said, "Is there an option on reducing the speed limit?"

Safety on Summit organizer Lauren Nielson says the group has a number of concrete ideas that begin with protected bike lanes.

"We want to switch the parking and the exiting bike lane so the bike lane is along the curb of the road, and have a protected barrier in between the parking lane and the bike lane," Nielsen said.

People were receptive to finding the right solution.

"We need to have it be on par with the greenway anything less is a failure," said a man.

Safety on Summit will compile the ideas and present them to the city council. A representative from the Mayor's office was at the meeting. So was Public Works, who said the office is receptive to looking at some of the ideas.

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