The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) will begin construction August 4, weather permitting, to replace pedestrian and bike trails along East River Parkway. The pedestrian pathway south of Franklin Avenue to the south city limits will be replaced, and both pedestrian and bike trails will be reconstructed north of Franklin Avenue to just north of Fulton St. SE. These trails will be closed during construction. The bike trail south of Franklin, installed in 2003, will also be closed during construction.
The current trails were largely constructed in 1975, with portions dating to the 1950s, and are in disrepair. Biking and walking have suffered due to the deterioration of the pavement and differential settling of the grade. The pedestrian trail will be widened to eight feet and the bike trail to ten feet to conform to the park system standards, also improving the trailsí safety and durability. In general, the pedestrian trail will be separated from the bike trail, except where space is a constraint. On the south, the trail will connect to the Mississippi River Boulevard trail in St. Paul, and on the north to a reconstructed section of parkway and trail immediately upstream in River Flats Park and on to the Dinkytown Bikeway Connector and other portions of the Minneapolis trail system. As an important link in the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway system, this major trail segment remains one of the last to be reconstructed since its original installation.
Weather and construction schedules permitting, the trails are anticipated to be completed by fall.
Pedestrians are asked to use the sidewalk on the east side of the parkway during construction. A possible alternative to the bike trail north of Franklin would be the West River Parkway trail, using Franklin Avenue to cross the river.
Neighbors and trail users had an opportunity to offer ideas and recommendations for the trails at a public meeting held at Luxton Park October 10, 2007. Comments received at that meeting are reflected in the plan. A public hearing was held March 5 of this year. Neighbors in the project area were notified by postcard of the October meeting and of the public hearing.
The project is being funded through a grant from the Federal Highway Administrationís Surface Transportation Enhancement Program.