The Cedar Lake Trail extension is currently under construction in downtown Minneapolis. Engineers plan to have the trail completed and open for trail users sometime this spring. I happened to be in the area a few days ago, so I stopped to take a few photos. I thought some of you might be interested in a “first look” at a portion of the new trail.
This is a photo of the trail entrance – it’s surprisingly well-plowed for a trail that isn’t open yet:
The trail is bound by 6′ chain-link fences on both sides of the trail. This tends to make trail users feel vulnerable since there are no “escape routes.” I suspect that given the context of the trail, however, there really weren’t any other options. Notice how the pedestrian portion of the trail (under snow on right) is concrete, while the bicycle portion is asphalt.
Recessed striping helps to keep the lines safe from snow plows.
The most unique aspect of this trail is that a portion of it is underneath Target Field, the new home of the Minnesota Twins.
I’ll be curious to see how crowded this space gets after a game lets out.
North of Target Field, the trail opens up to a bunch of parking lots on the east side of the trail. The Northstar Commuter Rail station is just across the fence to the west. Unfortunately, there is no connection between the transit station and the new trail. In fact, as I stopped on the trail and took photos of the transit station, it wasn’t exactly clear how I would get to the station from the trail.
I will be interested to see how easy it is to access downtown from the trail once the trail is officially open. As I cycled by the back sides of these buildings, it wasn’t clear exactly how or where I could get off the trail and onto one of the surface streets into downtown. Hopefully the city plans to install some wayfinding signs along the trail to help cyclists transition from the trail onto surface streets.
For now, this is where the trail ends, just north of Washington Avenue.
Like most cyclists in the Twin Cities, I’m very excited for this stretch of trail to open. This project has been pretty heavily scrutinized because of the hefty price tag. The City has estimated that this project will cost over $7 million for just over one mile of trail. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that this was the most expensive mile of trail ever constructed in the US that didn’t involve constructing a bridge. Still, even the projects biggest detractors must surely admit that this portion of trail will be heavily used for both recreation and transportation cycling.
In fact, if there’s one thing I’m fairly confident about, it’s that there will be bicycle and pedestrian traffic congestion on this trail, similar to the congestion we see at points along the Midtown Greenway on any Saturday Morning throughout the summer months.