Organized ride shows cyclists how extended Greenway into St. Paul would look

Updated: September 16, 2019 12:08 AM

Despite cycling being a wildly popular activity in the Twin Cities, there's a push to make it even bigger.

Cycling advocates want to extend the popular Midtown Greenway into St. Paul, extending it past its 5.7-mile mark. Presently, the greenway runs through south Minneapolis, but cycling advocates think riders can get more out of the trail.


"If we could connect Midtown over the river and through St. Paul, it would be a game changer," Soren Jenson of the Midtown Greenway Coalition said.

On Sunday, about 200 avid cyclists set out on a five-mile group ride to get a firsthand look at what the new route might look like.

The extension project concept calls for connecting the cities using links already in place. Advocates are targeting the Short Line Bridge, owned by Canadian Pacific Rail, as an ideal location to serve as a link. The bridge, advocates say, only sees minimal train traffic. Advocates also believe the bridge has ample room for a bike and pedestrian path.

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"The most important thing is the bridge can be rehabbed," Jenson said, citing the results of a feasibly study, paid for by the cycling community, to determine if the bridge could be made structurally sound. 

Suggested remedies necessary to make the bridge bike-worthy range from $10 million-$28 million and would involve a combination of government, private and nonprofit dollars. For supporters of the project, the price tag is worth it. 

"From the day this opened, we would have anywhere from 1,400 to 2,000 people using it," Andy Singer of the St. Paul Bicycle Coalition said.

Ramsey County Commissioner Trista Matascastillo added that a dedicated path would make many cyclists feel safer. 

"It's gender equity," Matascastillo said. "We know when it's a protected lane or dedicated path more women will ride bikes. Hello ladies riding bikes."

The next step for advocates of the extension is to meet with Canadian Pacific to see if the company is receptive to sharing the bridge. Advocates hope to pin down a meeting in the next couple of months. 

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Beth McDonough

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


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