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St. Paul's historic Summit Avenue redesign put on hold

Debate continues over Summit Avenue redesign plan
Debate continues over Summit Avenue redesign plan 01:52

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- It's a heated debate, over a plan to redesign St. Paul's historic Summit Avenue with a regional bike trail.

A citizen group is pumping the brakes on the proposal. It's been four months since St. Paul City Council approved the plan.

Several members of Save our Street (SOS) gathered Friday, chalk and caution tape in hand to put their displeasure on display.

Bob Cattanach, a longtime resident of Summit Avenue, believes the proposed change would ruin decades-old streets and kill the street's charm. He's concerned the project will lead to hundreds of trees being removed.

According to the proposed plan, advocates against the proposal say Summit Avenue would lose 6 ft of green space to make way for an elevated bike lane, a buffer and space for vehicles.

"This is crazy because you don't need this path we have a perfectly functional bike lane here," Cattanach said.

Those in favor of the change argue cyclists would feel safer off the street and on a separated trail.

With mixed reactions from residents, the plan still hasn't gotten a green light.

SOS sent a citizen petition to St. Paul requesting an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) to be completed. According to the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board, an EAW is a document designed to lay out the basic facts of a project necessary to determine if an environmental impact statement (EIS) is required for the proposed project. It also identifies ways to protect the environment.

Gary Todd said SOS made the request more than a month ago. The petition was denied by the City of St. Paul on Sept. 26.

Cattanach told WCCO the fight is not over. 

"We're going to ask the court of appeals to make the city study this," he said.

A spokesperson with St. Paul told WCCO to expect an update on this next week.

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