Downtown-to-Uptown bike connection moving forward

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July 7, 2003 // UPDATED 10:57 am - April 30, 2007
By: Robyn Repya
Robyn Repya

A final design for a bike bridge linking Downtown to Uptown is coming together after federal and neighborhood authorities accepted a new design that greatly reduces lost parking along the trail.

The 14-foot-wide walking/biking bridge connects Loring Park to the tip of the Wedge (where Bryant and Aldrich avenues meet just north of Franklin Avenue).

Heading south from Loring Park, the plan would use an existing trail on the east side of Lyndale Avenue. It would then cross Lyndale just south of I-94 and rise, running parallel to an I-94 on-ramp from Hennepin Avenue. The trail would deposit bikers near the parking lot of Vision Loss Resources, 1936 Lyndale Ave. S., where they would connect via Bryant Avenue south to the Midtown Greenway.

Construction is expected to begin in Spring 2004; city project manager Stephanie Malmberg said she hopes to also begin work on a block-long bike connection to connect existing Loring Park paths between Groveland Avenue and Oak Grove Street on Hennepin Avenue.

The project ran into difficulties in April when Wedge residents complained about lost parking and street configurations south of Downtown. They were given three new options, and the Lowry Hill East (Wedge) Neighborhood Association (LHENA) endorsed the new plan in June.

The Wedge is between Hennepin and Lyndale avenues, north of Lake Street.

Malmberg said the new bridge option takes only a handful of parking spots, compared to 16-40 lost spots in the other configurations. The plan also avoids cul-de-sacs on Bryant and Aldrich south of I-94 or longer bridges, two facets of other proposals. City transportation engineer Don Pflaum said the proposed route puts bike signage, not dedicated lanes, on Bryant between Vision Loss Resources and the Midtown Greenway.

Pflaum said that Citizens For a Loring Park Community (CLPC), the area's recognized neighborhood group, supports the new plan. CLPC has committed $63,000 from its Neighborhood Revitalization Program funds to defray public costs. The federal government will pay 80 percent of the estimated $3 million cost, and the city and neighborhoods will cover the other 20 percent. LHENA has committed up to $127,000.

Pflaum said because costs might change with design changes, any money left over from neighborhood funds would be redirected to them.

Pflaum said the city would return to both neighborhood groups with finalized designs in the next few months.