Community input needed for northside bikeway plans

The City of Minneapolis is continuing to explore the possibility of converting low-traffic streets in north Minneapolis to a greenway with a safe, accessible route for bicyclists and pedestrians. Residents can take a new online survey now through June 15 to weigh in on the current greenway concept, including the proposed route and greenway types. Neighbors and neighborhood organization representatives will also knock on doors in the Near North, Jordan, Folwell and Webber-Camden neighborhoods to solicit input from a broad group of northside residents including people who might not be likely to take an online survey. People who completed similar surveys in 2012 and 2013 provided valuable input into the current concept and are requested to complete the new 2014 survey as well.

Based on input from the 2012 and 2013 surveys and using what was learned from the community through a broader engagement process, a proposal has been developed for a greenway route that travels mostly on Irving and Humboldt avenues North. The 2014 outreach program is  a cooperative effort of the Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, the Minneapolis Health Department, the Minneapolis Department of Public Works, and the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability (the Alliance).The Alliance is contracting with neighborhood and community-based organizations to conduct door-knocking and other engagement activities in the area leading up to the May 31 Open Streets event. Other neighborhood events begin soon and continue throughout the summer. Details on the proposal and planned community events can be found at the project website.

About the proposed greenway

A “greenway” is a park-like trail that people can use for biking and walking for transportation and recreation. Studies show that the closer people live to parks, the more likely they are to get exercise; this is especially true for children and teens. It could also create space for additional amenities, such as community gardens or public art.

The greenway would be a north-south route starting at the Shingle Creek Trail in the north and ending south of Plymouth Avenue. It would primarily follow Humboldt and Irving avenues and connect the Crystal Lake Cemetery, three schools and four parks. Future planning efforts will explore possible additional connections to the south, such as the Cedar Lake and Bassett Creek trails. A map of the proposed route and proposed designs is available at the project website. If built, the bikeway would be the second of its kind in north Minneapolis. Examples for comparison include 37th Avenue North between Queen and Knox avenues, Milwaukee Avenue in Seward neighborhood and the Midtown Greenway.

This project is a response to community interest in a greenway. Funding for this project is provided in part by the Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, as part of Blue Cross’ long-term commitment to tackling the leading root causes of preventable disease: tobacco use, lack of physical activity and unhealthy eating.

Published Mar 20, 2014