The glory of Summit threatened

The city has decided that Summit Avenue must be remodeled to be more multi-modal, essentially accommodating more bikes. Saint Paul is about to experiment with one of its unique features and conform it to the traffic standards of suburban America. Yet none of the buildings along Summit conform to regional or national standards. They are old buildings, and that is their glory.

Why is Summit Avenue approached as a traffic problem? Are the traffic committees of the district councils really the correct place for discussion? Discussion should begin with protecting a national treasure rather than how can we adapt the “national standards” to fit this treasure.

I don’t live on Summit Avenue, but if this experiment results in people leaving and home values falling, it will be a blow to the entire city.

Donn Waage

A better place for bike lanes

I did not attend the June 6 virtual meeting at which the city of Saint Paul’s plan to create off-road bicycle trails on Summit Avenue was discussed. I propose the city consider another option: one-way, parking-protected bike lanes. Readers may refer to images and descriptions available from the National Association of City Transportation Officials. In brief, bicycle lanes and parking lanes are flipped, with parked vehicles forming a barrier between vehicle traffic on the left and bicycle traffic on the right.

I have little knowledge of city planning, but I imagine this solution could improve access for cyclists uncomfortable with their current proximity to vehicle traffic without significantly disrupting either Summit’s tree canopy or parking volume. I also imagine this solution to be cheaper and simpler than those proposed by the city.

I cycle regularly on Summit and hope its historic charm and established tree canopy can be enjoyed by cyclists, pedestrians and motorists alike.


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Ian Gunsolus
Highland Park

Historical revisionism at Ramsey

It is hard to believe what has happened to the public schools in Saint Paul (“Hidden River emerges as preferred name for Ramsey Middle School,” MyVillager, June 8). The progressives who have taken over the public schools need to concentrate on the present and future and quit wasting time on historical revisionism. There is no way children can understand what it was like in the 1800s, when life was brutal and life expectancy was probably about 40 years. Look at what the whites did to each other in the Civil War. And to have the children choose the new name of the school is nuts.

Greg Mulally
Highland Park

The path to a better city

Regarding “Saint Paul debates plan for adding off-road bicycle trails on Summit” (MyVillager, June 22):

I am an enthusiastic bicyclist. During the summer I ride about 200 miles a month. My family and I would love to support more and better bike routes. But we also need to consider the limitations of public revenue and what we could build to complement bike paths.

I just walked Grand Avenue from Dale Street to Lexington Parkway. I counted 14 empty stores. Grand Avenue is tired and not so grand. It is not very aesthetic, with a lack of trees, sidewalk plants and the generally poor appearance of the housing stock. The argument has been made that Grand needs parking. No. What Grand needs is a face lift. How does the new bike path improve the health of Grand? For the good of the local economy and city, Summit bike resources should be considered in conjunction with investments on Grand Avenue.

Summit, the whole street, desperately needs resurfacing. Proper maintenance is missing. Saint Paul has wealth, but that wealth is only sustained and grows if we put first things first. If Saint Paul is to create wealth, for individuals and the city, we need to do the following:

  • Put beauty before everything. If the aesthetics are in place, everything good will follow, even better behavior.
  • Provide opportunities where all of us have skin in the game, helping our neighbors and city become places we can be proud to call home.
  • Whatever we do as citizens, we ought to do with a deep sense of moral responsibility.

The path to a better city is to develop and sustain high-quality infrastructure—both material, like streets and public facilities, and ethical, like high standards of behavior. To the degree that city leaders do not address these issues, they will continue to waste time and resources on things over which they have little control.

Michael Hartoonian
Summit Hill

Pursuing equality in athletics

In a long essay titled, “We can do better than Title IX” (Saint Paul Pioneer Press, June 24), writer Lindsay Crouse argues for more support of female athletics. She makes a number of good points, but also laments that women’s sports have only a fraction of the viewership and revenue of men’s sports, though men’s sports “are not inherently more exciting or fun. The joy or beauty of one sport or another is subjective.”

Compare the NBA and the WNBA. The games are inherently equally exciting? If sports fans were objective, the viewership and revenue of the WNBA would equal that of the NBA? Who believes this?

Separate but equal has always been problematic. But should the U have one volleyball team open to males and females? Swimming, too? Tennis? Women’s athletics are important and deserve support, but a college need not have a woman’s wrestling team, at least not yet. Nor, probably, a women’s football team.

It would be nice if next fall the Big House at Ann Arbor on a lovely Saturday were filled with 110,000 fans dressed in maize and blue, cheering wildly for the Lady Wolverines as they line up across from the Lady Buckeyes. But it’s never gonna happen. And the fact it isn’t ever gonna happen is nobody’s fault.

T.J. Sexton
Highland Park

Trite excuses on trash

Lamar was our garbage hauler in Roswell, Georgia. He was self-employed. He drove the truck, put the garbage in the truck. He did his billing himself. He came twice a week because heat and humidity can turn garbage rank.

Fast-forward to Saint Paul in 2022. A huge corporation like Waste Management does not meet its obligations to their paying customers. Is it too much to expect the higher-ups to throw on their blue jeans and climb behind the wheel of their garbage rigs to get the job done and fulfill their commitment? Instead, we hear trite excuses and false sorrow.

Wherever Lamar is, I hope he is enjoying a well-deserved retirement.

Mary Therese Nelson
Highland Park

If you don’t like the trash service…

When I lived in Saint Paul, if you didn’t like your trash service, you changed trash companies (“Complaints pile up over missed waste collection,” MyVillager, June 22). Oh wait. You can’t do that anymore.

Gary Fischbach
Mendota Heights

Do write, won’t you?

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