If you love the bike highway known as the Midtown Greenway, I hope you are not busy next week.

800px-Midtown_Greenway_looking_west

From an article published today in Finance & Commerce: “Metro Transit is looking to advance study of a streetcar in the Midtown Greenway, better bus service on Lake Street or some combination of those options.” The Midtown Greenway is by all measures an out-of-the-park success, so why would you mess with what is working? Rails to Trails Magazine featured the Midtown Greenway this Winter 2013. According to their article “Between 4,000 and 5,000 people use the trail every day on average, amounting to a whopping 1.5 million trips a year.” That is a hugely successful investment. By comparison, according to the the Wikipedia article, the billion dollar Bottineau light rail line is expected to “serve an estimated 19,500 daily riders by 2030.”

The Minneapolis Streetcar Feasibility Study recommends streetcar on the Greenway for some of these reasons:

• Consistent with broad community sentiment
and specific comments made at stakeholder
engagement sessions

• Is felt to have high potential to spur
economic development

They also claim that there will be “minimal impacts on bicycle and pedestrian facilities in the Greenway.” Which is pretty debatable. According to the same Rails to Trails Magazine article, there is already “Actually a rush hour on the trail, especially in summer,” says Soren Jensen, executive director of the Midtown Greenway Coalition.

Metro Transit is hosting two meetings next week:

6 p.m. Tuesday, May 21
Colin Powell Center
2924 S. Fourth Ave
&
6 p.m. Thursday, May 23
Whittier Clinic
2810 S. Nicollet Ave.

“The Project staff will review initial results of possible mode/alignment combinations with the goal of advancing the top alternatives for more detailed study this summer. Staff will be on hand to discuss those options and any other questions related to the project.” http://metrotransit.org/midtown-corridor

If you have any opinions about the Midtown Greenway, and how it is used, this might be a chance to say something. This Rails-to-Trails and back to Rails trend in Minneapolis was the topic of my last post.

Streets.MN also had a great podcast (#35) about Twin Cities Greenways this week. Deisha Durham, a leader of the Twin Cities Greenways group, had a great definition of a greenway, it is a:

“lovely stretch of street, closed to cars, for pedestrians, for bicylists, no motorized traffic if that’s the way to put it, but you can turn it into park space, the hope is that it will bring neighborhoods together, that people will really make an effort to get to know their neighbors better, that people will come from other parts of the city to enjoy the greenway.”

What makes the Greenway special is that it is not your standard, highway, grid-lock commute. Its a pleasure–not a burden. I think that is something you cannot quantify. Actually you can: 4-5,000 riders. Daily.

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