U.S. House approves $3 million to finish Downtown bike trail

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March 21, 2005 // UPDATED 1:53 pm - April 26, 2007
By: Scott Russell
Scott Russell

The U.S. House of Representatives approved $3 million for the final segment of the Cedar Lake Bike Trail through Downtown.

The measure passed March 10 as part of a six-year, $284-billion bill known as the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, said a news release from Minneapolis Congressman Martin Sabo. The bill pays for federal-aid highways, as well as highway safety and transit programs.

The stretch of trail between Washington Avenue and the river, approximately one-third of a mile, will cots $4.2 million. Project backers will have to raise the additional $1.2 million from other sources.

Said Sabo in a statement, "Residents of Minnesota and those who have fought for this trail specifically should be proud of their contributions in creating an extensive network of bicycle and walking trails throughout the Twin Cities."

The U.S. Senate is expected to take up its version of the bill in mid-March and negotiate differences with the House.

The Cedar Lake Trail is a major bike artery. It connects with the Chain of Lakes and other trails, such as the Kenilworth Trail. The new Downtown segment would connect to West River Road and the University of Minnesota.

The Cedar Lake Trail now ends near North 7th Street & Glenwood Avenue by Lee's Liquor Lounge, following the Burlington Northern railroad tracks. The city has money to finish the trail in 2006. As designed, it follows the railroad trench, exiting at Washington Avenue and continuing along city streets to the river.

Bike advocates had pushed for a second parallel path that stays in the railroad trench as a more direct and safer route. It is expensive because Downtown land is high-priced and because the trench trail needs costly retaining walls.

The U.S. House version of the transportation bill also included $6 million to continue work on the I-35W Access Project, a plan to reconfigure ramps on I-35W south of Downtown.