New coalition hopes to better connect Prospect Park with extended bike paths

The Midtown Greenway Partnership held its first meeting Nov. 2.

Bob Mac enjoys a quiet Saturday morning run on the current Midtown Greenway path on Saturday, Nov. 18.

Jack Rodgers

Bob Mac enjoys a quiet Saturday morning run on the current Midtown Greenway path on Saturday, Nov. 18.

Kelly Busche

A new coalition aims to expand the bike path network in the Twin Cities. 

The Extend the Greenway Partnership is looking to expand the Midtown Greenway, a protected bike path that spans from south Minneapolis to West River Parkway. Under the plan, the greenway would extend to Prospect Park and then into downtown St. Paul.

Extending the Midtown Greenway is part of a larger plan to continue developing the Prospect Park neighborhood. The Prospect Park Association board will vote to adopt the plan Nov. 27. 

The greenway extension would cross the Mississippi River on the Short Line Bridge, run through Prospect Park and then span eastward to downtown St. Paul.

Jeremy Bergerson, a PPA representative on the Extend the Greenway Partnership, said the new route would be a “crucial connection” because University of Minnesota bikers would have a safe and speedy route for travel to St. Paul and south Minneapolis. 

Though the partnership is in its initial stages, Bergerson said he hopes the plan will show that the community is invested in the extension. 

Ethan Fawley, executive director of Our Streets Minneapolis, said more people bike to and from the University than any other place in Minnesota, so the greenway extension is a logical next step. 

“When we have things like the Midtown Greenway that are separate from streets, it becomes even easier and faster and you can avoid the stress of traffic, driving and parking,” Fawley said.

Our Streets Minneapolis, a Minneapolis bike coalition, recently joined the partnership.

Fawley said biking in Minneapolis has tripled over the past decade because of new protected bike paths like the greenway. 

“People are bike commuting more, and a big part of that is because it’s becoming safer and easier to do so,” he said.

Steve Sanders, alternative transportation manager at University Parking and Transportation Services, said extending the greenway may encourage more students and staff to bike.

“It really can make a difference I think in people’s attitudes about biking … when they can be separated from car traffic,” Sanders said.

Sarah Tschida, assistant director for programming at the University’s Learning Abroad Center, said her five-mile bike commute from south Minneapolis is mostly on the greenway. 

Tschida said she is excited for the possibility of a longer greenway. 

“It’s just a smart decision for Minneapolis and St. Paul to continue to grow a safe and protected bike network,” she said.