St. Paul Mayor Carter Says City Will Work to Make Intersection Where Cyclist Died Safer

On Wednesday cyclists will hold a memorial ride for Alan Grahn

Susie Jones
May 14, 2018 - 3:22 pm

A stock image of ghost bike in NYC

Hundreds of people are expected to take part in a memorial bike ride to honor the life of a Minneapolis man, hit and killed last week while riding his bike

75-year-old Alan Grahn was riding back home after having lunch with a friend on Grand Avenue in St Paul.  He was hit by the school bus near Snelling and Summit.

The group will honor Grahn, and others and all other cyclists who have been killed while cycling on public roadways. 

Hillary Hancy is one of the organizers of the memorial ride. She came here from Madison Wisconsin years ago, and joined the bike group, “the Joyful Riders” to make friends.

She rode with the group on the same day that Alan Grahn was killed.

“Even though I didn’t know Alan personally, my heart hung kind of heavy that day because we lost one of our own,” she told WCCO Radio.

The ride will take cyclists down Grand Avenue to the spot where Grahn was killed. “It’s especially scary for me because I live two blocks from that intersection and I use when I head west to Minneapolis,” she said. 

While the memorial ride is not meant to be political, Hancy said they do want to raise awareness. “These kinds of rides are kind of like funeral processions. Not the time or place for political statements. But a place to raise awareness about the need for safer bike lanes, absolutely."

Cycling advocates and a planning commissioner, Bill Lindeke, have called on the city of St. Paul to take steps to make the intersection safer, including adding plastic polls to create a protected bike lane and painting the lane green through the busy intersection.

St Paul Mayor Melvin Carter issued a statement hinting that the city would be looking at options soon:

“This week’s tragedy was heartbreaking on every front. Our immediate focus is on offering condolences to Mr. Grahn's family and working to offer support to the dozens of students who witnessed this traumatic event. Moving forward, we have much to do to prevent tragedies like this from happening again in the future,” Carter wrote in a Facebook message.

In an email to WCCO Radio, Carter also indicated he plans to work with Lindeke

“Planning Commissioner Lindeke has long been a champion for better street design for bicycle and pedestrian safety in Saint Paul. I look forward to having him work with my office to help prevent tragedies like this from happening.”

The bike ride will begin at 788 Grand Ave, Saint Paul, in the parking lot of the former Wild Onion bar, on Wednesday at 6:30 pm. Organizers plan to roll out at 7 p.m. and head to the intersection where Grahn died. At the site, there will be a “Ghost bike," where riders are encouraged to leave flowers and notes.