Midtown Greenway expands toward U

The federal, county and Minneapolis governments helped fund the expansion.

by Jason Juno

University sophomore Susan Lee said she is used to hearing cars’ horns when riding her bike on city streets.

Lee, a biology student, said she sometimes takes the Midtown Greenway, a bike and walk path, to work in Uptown Minneapolis. But the only way to bike from the University to Hiawatha Avenue – where the path begins – is to follow roadways filled with traffic.

Starting this fall, riding a bike on those roads to and from campus won’t be necessary. The Midtown Greenway will expand to the Mississippi River, Donald Pflaum, a project engineer for the city of Minneapolis, wrote in an e-mail.

The bike and walk path starts at the city’s western edge, follows 29th Street underneath the roadways and ends at Hiawatha Avenue, according to the Midtown Greenway Coalition Web site.

The extended portion will follow 27th Avenue to West River Parkway, Pflaum wrote.

Students can take the path on West River Parkway to the Washington Avenue Bridge, which includes the University, said Peter McLaughlin, Hennepin County commissioner in District 4.

There is also a bridge at Franklin Avenue to get to East River Road on the East Bank, he said.

People commuting to and from Uptown can still take city streets through the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood to get to the University, Pflaum wrote.

The Midtown Greenway will also help students arriving from the southwest areas of the metro, he wrote.

The bike and walk path gets its name from the greenery along it. One thousand trees and shrubs were planted in the area and more will be added, McLaughlin said.

He said the Midtown Greenway used to be an abandoned railway. Now, it is an area where investment is occurring. He said there is housing development, and existing businesses are placing windows facing the Midtown Greenway.

Funding came from various units of government, including Hennepin County, the federal government and the city of Minneapolis. Most of the money came from the county, McLaughlin said.

The extension costs $2.5 million. The county spent an additional $1 million for the land, Pflaum wrote.

He wrote he is uncertain how many students will use the extension.

During the spring and fall, approximately 5,000 students and staff members ride their bikes to the University each day, he wrote.

Approximately 10,000 people ride bikes daily in Minneapolis during the spring, summer and fall, Pflaum wrote.

Lee said she likes riding

the trail and waving to other


“It’s so peaceful,” she said.

Lee said the most dangerous place to ride in the city is on roads with bike lanes that are parallel to traffic. She said cars do not look when they make right turns through the bike lanes.

The city is also working with the University to finish a bike trail in a rail corridor through Dinkytown, Pflaum wrote.

This means there will be a connection to the transitway trail and entrances to the campus will be at East River Road and at 17th Avenue Southeast, he wrote.