This is why I love the Midtown Greenway

midtowngreenway.jpgI realize the timing of this post could be better. Most sane people are deflating their tires and hanging their bikes in the basement for winter. I’m also aware that I’m probably the last person to get around to gushing over it, but for the benefit of out-of-town readers, I feel compelled to highlight the Midtown Greenway.

Though it was partially completed before I left for exotic far off lands in 2003, I’ve only recently tooled down the full length of this swath of bike and foot traffic giddiness. Next to Light Rail, the Greenway is my favorite bit of urban renewal to come to fruition during my absence.

For those of you even less enlightened than I currently am, the Greenway forms a conduit across the heart of the city, largely in a disused, paved-over railroad ditch. It connects the Mississippi River Boulevard – and therefore downtown with the western suburban trail system. The path is quiet, attractive and safe with a mirror-finish surface, tasteful ambient lighting and occasional gardens that verily erase the white-knuckle aggravation of cycling through the heart of the city.

Combined with the Mississippi Rover Boulevard, Minnehaha Parkway, the Chain of Lakes, Theodore Wirth Parkway and Victory Memorial Drive (better known as Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway – 50 miles of linking parkways, lakes, trails and parks the countrys only national scenic byway located entirely within an urban area) you could very nearly get to any corner of the city without facing the roar and inattention of city traffic (extra distances notwithstanding, but who cares?).

On a related note, one of the few categories where we weren’t shafted over at that bogus CNN/Travel + Leisure “America’s Favorite Cities” poll was the public parks/spaces item, where we rated second overall (pipped by that snake-in-the-grass Portland again!). Though I think if those so-called travelers had been handed a bike and some rollerblades when they stepped off the plane at MSP, the tables would be turned. I’ve never been to Portland, so I don’t know for sure, but screw them. The Greenway rules.

One bit of Greenway breaking news is that they are finally ready to throw open the doors on that cock-eyed new pedestrian and bicycle bridge crossing Hiawatha Avenue, formerly the only daunting bit on the entire path. They’re doing a ribbon cutting ceremony on November 8th. Bring your over-sized scissors.

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Biking | 26.10.2007 18:19 | Comments Off on This is why I love the Midtown Greenway

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