Conceptual engagement is underway for a North Minneapolis Greenway that connects parks, schools and neighborhoods.
The trail would convert a street into a park, giving residents a new green space and better access to nearby parks. The trail would be engineered to support emergency vehicle access. Day-to-day motorized access to homes and garages would be preserved via the existing alleys. Minor intersections could be converted to pocket parks (illustrated in the adjacent graphic) with space for guest parking, reducing the number of intersections where bikes and cars cross paths. All plans for this project are preliminary and are still being shaped by input from local community members.
Where will the greenway be?
While the route is still being guided by outreach efforts and technical studies, there is a preliminary route that has been proposed for the greenway. The proposed route runs north-south from Plymouth Avenue North to the Shingle Creek Trail, primarily along Humboldt and Irving Avenues
What will the greenway look like?
The greenway will be comprised of a mix of three different designs. The first is a full linear park greenway, where a street is closed down entirely with a park and path replacing it. The second is half & half, where half of the right of way width is reserved for car traffic and the other half for bike and pedestrian traffic. The third is a bike boulevard, where bikes ride with car traffic on a low-volume street that has bike-friendly features added.
Who is Working on This?
The Northside Greenway Council, a group of residents, organizations, City staff, and advocates meets on a monthly basis to discuss and provide direction for the project. Subcommittees and taskforces of this group also meet semi-regularly. If you'd like to be involved with the Council, email the project planners.
Who wants this greenway?
We've asked Northsiders through many levels of public engagement if they want a greenway. We've found that the majority of both North Minneapolis residents and those who live directly on the proposed route support the greenway.
Demonstration Greenway Coming This Fall
The City of Minneapolis will install a greenway demonstration project on the proposed route so that people can see how a greenway could be used. The demonstration (which could last up to a year) will take place on Irving Avenue North between Folwell Park and Jordan Park, converting the street to a space for bicycles and pedestrians with low-cost elements that can be installed and removed easily. This demonstration will give you and your neighbors a chance to try it out and see for yourself how a greenway could possibly fit into your community. If the temporary greenway is successful, it may be possible to convert the space to a permanent greenway in the future.
Phase 1 of the demonstration greenway is planned to begin in September 2015. Phase 2 is currently slated to be installed in April 2016.
Now the City of Minneapolis needs your help to plan how the temporary greenway can be best utilized by the residents in the area. There are two events for residents living near the greenway planned. These meetings will be a chance for the City to work with you and your neighbors and share ideas, have fun, answer questions and gather feedback.
Why a neighborhood greenway?
The Northside Greenway proposal isn’t just about bicycling. It’s about creating a new kind of park by converting low-traffic residential streets into trails and green space. Local residents have supported the concept because it could:
- Make streets and parks safer
- Create great places for kids and families to enjoy the outdoors
- Fight diabetes and obesity by making walking and biking easier
- Help people save money on transportation
- Provide equal access to the Minneapolis Parks & Trails system
- Include spaces for community gardens and public art
The benefits of a greenway extend far beyond bicycling. As the Midtown Greenway has shown, a high-quality linear park draws bicyclists, rollerbladers, pedestrians, and wheelchair users. It can also help attract new residents and real-estate development. Since its completion, more than 1,200 new condos and apartments have been built adjacent to the Midtown Greenway, bringing more than $250 million in new investment to South Minneapolis.
The health benefits are also potentially significant. Half of all trips taken in our region are shorter than 3 miles. If people biked or walked for more of their short trips, this could result in better health, longer lives and lower medical costs for the community.
The proposed Greenway design involves some parking impacts. Feedback from residents has also included practical concerns about parking for residents and visitors. These concerns are valid, and there are several ways of meeting local needs, including building some blocks with a design that provides some motorized access and parking in exchange for green space.
Outreach for this project has been conducted since 2012. After two previous studies, a large round of outreach by community partners surveyed underrepresented groups in 2014 to ensure that everyone has a chance to voice their opinions on the North Minneapolis Greenway.
Now, that work is continuing. Groups that were underrepresented in the previous surveys, including African Americans, people with limited or no access to vehicles, people who don’t speak English as a first language, and youth, are getting strong focus this year. This work is being conducted by community organizations and six individual community connectors focusing on different demographics. They are looking for high quality, one-on-one interactions. For a list of the community organizations, click here.
Once the demonstration greenway is installed, there also be significant outreach to those who use and live nearby.
For more details on the current planning process, the city’s website includes links to design information and information from past planning outreach.