Common Ground

Slow Rolling Through the North Side

A leisurely all-ages bike tour through north Minneapolis recently shone attention on the still-new 26th Ave N Overlook over the Mississippi River and other pending RiverFirst projects that the Minneapolis Parks Foundation supports.

The Sept. 24 tour by about 60 riders was a cooperative venture between the Sierra Club’s North Star Chapter and Slow Roll MSP, which hosts a series of recreational rides for all abilities. The tour focused on the challenges and victories of equitable transportation planning in the North Side.

Relaxing at the Overlook. Photo by Steve Brandt

As a retired reporter, I thought that I’d seen most of the North Side. But the ride wound through some lovely tree-lined streets in the Willard-Hay neighborhood that previously had escaped my notice. It also offered first glimpses of now-complete projects that I had written up in the proposal stage for the StarTribune or, now that I’m in retirement, ranked as a member of the city’s capital budgeting committee.

Stops included the proposed Blue Line LRT extension, Metro Transit’s new micro service of localized rides on the North Side, the planned North Side Greenway, and the Bring Back 6th campaign to revive a lively Black and Jewish business, entertainment and residential district that was wiped out to build Olson Memorial Hwy.

Blue Line extension briefing. Photo by Joshua Houdek

Connections to the river were spotlighted at the 26th Ave N Overlook, where with funding by the Parks Foundation and state bonding, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board has produced a new river vista for North Siders arriving on foot and on bikes. There, representatives of the Great Northern Greenway Coalition described future iterations of this connection the Park Board is currently planning. They include a pending riverside trail link between 26th and Ole Olson park slated for 2023, which will connect nearby neighborhoods to miles of regional riverfront trails, and the long-term dream of a recreational trail crossing of the river on the BNSF railroad bridge.

About the Author
Steve Brandt is a 46-year Minneapolis resident of the Kingfield neighborhood. He runs, bikes and skis. He’s currently trying to complete his 50th marathon. He serves as an elected member of the city’s Board of Estimate and Taxation.

Featured Image: Slow Roll Squad Leaders. Photo by Devon Young Cupery

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