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.

Minneapolis Trails Debate Continues

Minneapolis has tons of great trails, but it also has tons of people who want to use the trails in a variety of ways, including walking, running, rollerblading, biking, rollerskiing, and dog walking. A few other bloggers have looked into the issues lately, including great blogging newcomer, Nathan, from Life by the Falls, with this take:

Life by the Falls: Minnesota Nice on the Trails

I have been yelled at a couple times by bikers, both times by an elderly man on a bicycle. I must say it’s a little shocking to be called an a-hole at 8am on a beautiful spring morning, especially by someone who could be my grandfather. I sure hope my grandparents don’t swear at runners!

True dat. Nothing gets your day started off right like being called an a-hole while running.

Brian Moen has a great post on the topic where he describes how lucky we are to have such a great trail system, but still runs into problems when cars and bikes mix:

Biking on the Parkway

Oh, and I did get honked at once, by a lady in a SUV. I was crossing at a crosswalk, from the river road path to get up to the Franklin Ave bridge, when this lady, who I thought was slowing down for me to cross, honked at me. Guess she thought she had the right of way.

The Star Tribune’s Roadguy blog includes a photo of the painfully overdue for a rebuild trail along W River Rd with the following description:

Biking on the parkway and (sort of) sharing the road

This stretch won’t be rebuilt until 2009 or 2010; in the meantime, it’s not impossible to understand why a cyclist who wants to keep his or her teeth might choose the roadway instead.

Here’s my take: The park system needs to take a serious look at how people are using the parks today. More and more people are participating in individual sports like biking, running, and rollerblading on Minneapolis trails while less and less are using the baseball diamonds and hockey rinks. The money should follow the active users of the park, enabling the city’s fitness choices by providing safe areas to work out or simply enjoy the outdoors.