Update on Proposed Bike Bridge Over Mississippi

Friends of the Mississippi River has an article on the proposed bridge over the Mississippi River gorge at approximately 27th St E near the current railroad bridge.

As I understand it, the owners of the railroad bridge are not interested in sharing the bridge with pedestrians. There is certainly room on the bridge for both trains and pedestrians, and a bridge that supports a train can surely support a lot of people on bikes.

So, the county, with federal dollars, is considering building a bridge next to the railroad bridge. When I first heard about this at a Longfellow Community meeting in the winter, the proposed cost was in the $10 million range. FMR cites a $12 price tag in their article.

The proposed bridge would be a suspension bridge spanning the gorge with no entry into the river. Apparently, this is done to prevent having to make “barge proof” poles.

Personally, I think the bridge would do a great job improving the network of trails in the Twin Cities. Over time, this bridge would connect the Midtown Greenway to proposed trails in St. Paul that would run down Ayd Mill Road, connecting to the 35E bridge toward the Southern Burbs and with the Gateway Trail that heads out through Maplewood, North St. Paul and Stillwater.

FMR lays out their case for opposing the bridge here. They make a good case. Some points are kind of weak, such as comparing the cost of the bridge with the cost of paving the rest of the trail. Of course the bridge will be a lot more money. That’s the nature of bridges. Personally, I’d like to see someone figure out a way to use the current railroad bridge since it would probably be cheaper, is already aligned with the trail, and avoids building additional structures in the gorge.

4 thoughts on “Update on Proposed Bike Bridge Over Mississippi”

  1. I’m all for more and better bicycling in the USA, and of course here in town, but I can’t help but point out that there are two bridges nearby already and both are already accessible by bike trails along the parkways–Franklin is 7 blocks north (although it has no bike lane) and Lake is 3 blocks south (and even has bike lanes).

    If I had to choose where to spend my $12 million, it would be on getting that Ayd Mill bike lane going…or even making Franklin bridge more bike friendly since it is only a few blocks from the UofM, which also could stand to be more bike friendly and less car-intensive. And of course the West River Parkway itself has that car-intensity issue to resolve.

    Too many people here and not enough biking.

  2. I am also adamantly opposed to this proposed bridge as designed. I am all for new trails and connections between trails are vital, and this would provide a great link, but this bridge as designed is so out of character with the neighborhood. If they are going to build a bridge, it should look like the train tressel. I like suspension bridges and cable-stayed bridges (hell, I’m an engineer who competed for years in steel bridge competitions), but those landmark style bridges are not appropriate for a residential neighborhood.

    The train tressel is one of the neatest things about the river in that area, and dwarfing it with a pedestrian bridge when Lake Street is so close seems like a waste to me. If they can convince the railroads to let them put it on the tressel, that would be great. Otherwise, leave my river gorge vista alone!

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