St. Paul Community Members Push for Better Cyclist Protections

June 12, 2018 07:16 PM

A white bike, adorned with pictures and messages, serves as a painful reminder of a life lost at the corner of Snelling and Summit avenues.

“It’s really still a raw emotional time,” Andy Grahn said.

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His 75-year-old father, who was an avid outdoorsman, died when he was hit by a school bus on May 9.

Alan Grahn died at the scene. The school bus driver was never charged because authorities say the bus had the right of way.

RELATED: Cyclist Killed in St. Paul Crash with School Bus Remembered 

Grahn’s death has led to calls for more protections for cyclists.

“This unfortunately is going to be the tipping point,” Andy Grahn said. “I know that something good is going to come of this in some way.”

Grahn said his father would’ve signed onto a petition circulating, started by community groups Sustain Ward 3 and Safety on Summit. 

RELATED: Coalition Asking for Change at Busy St. Paul Intersection 

They are asking the St. Paul City Council to take “immediate action” to make Summit Avenue safer for cyclists.

“This is the most highly trafficked bikeway in the city,” said Tom Basgen, an organizer.

He said they are asking the city to extend bike lanes through the intersection, to give drivers on Snelling Avenue an indication there are others using the road.

RELATED: Family Identifies Bicyclist Killed in St. Paul Crash Involving School Bus 

“In a perfect world, we'll have additional signals up on the street light that will be specifically for cyclists,” said Basgen.

He told 5 Eyewitness News they also want the city to create protected bike lanes.

“Switching where the parking is with where the bike lane is, and using the parking as a barrier,” he said.

RELATED: Bicyclist Killed in Crash Involving School Bus in St. Paul 

Data from the St. Paul Police Department shows from Jan. 1 through June 10, 2018  there were 17 cyclists involved in crashes in the city. It’s a drop from the same time period the previous year. From Jan. 1 through June 10, 2017 there were 27 bikes involved in crashes.

A Safety on Summit town hall will be held Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at Macalester College at the John B Davis Lecture Hall.

A representative from the City Dept. of Public works will be at the meeting to listen to suggestions. A spokesperson said the city will take those comments into consideration as they move forward with a plan to make Summit Avenue more bike-friendly.

RELATED: Survey: Support for Bike Lanes, But More Favor Additional Funding for Roads 

Grahn said his father would’ve been behind the suggested changes “100 percent."

“He would hope for people to continue to bike safely and continue to enjoy the outdoors in Minnesota,” Grahn said


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Callan Gray

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