A year's worth of work to improve biking and walking opportunities in Roseville, Lauderdale and Falcon Heights comes to fruition today with the grand opening of the Northeast Suburban Campus Connector trail.

The trail connects Rosedale mall with the University of Minnesota's St. Paul campus where a celebration to mark the opening will take place with a ceremony at noon at the Department of Horticultural Science Display and Trial Garden at Gortner and Folwell avenues. A group bike ride will follow from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Paid for by $1.3 million in funding from Bike Walk Twin Cities, a program of Transit for Livable Communities, and $330,000 in local funding, the new trail runs along Larpenteur, Fairview and Gortner avenues. It will allow riders (and walkers) to access the U's St. Paul campus and transit way, which leads to downtown St. Paul and Minneapolis, along with shopping destinations, area attractions, parks and libraries.

Among the route's amenities are:

New on-street bike lanes and sidewalk connectors have been added to portions of Gortner, Fairview and Larpenteur avenues.

Wider sidewalks (8 feet wide)  have been built on both sides of Fairview Avenue between County Road B and County Road B2. A shared path for bikers and walkers was added on Fairview Avenue where it passes under Hwy. 36 near Rosedale.

New traffic signals with countdown timers have been installed along the route to provide for improved movement for bicyclists and pedestrians. Trees, benches and other aesthetics have been installed. Nice Ride, the popular bike-sharing program, added a station at Dan Patch and Gortner avenues on the U's St. Paul campus.

"Improvements such as these are vital for extending the Twin Cities' bicycle and pedestrian network beyond the core cities," said Joan Pasiuk, director of Bike Walk Twin Cities. "Kudos to the city and public works staffs of Roseville, Falcon Heights and Lauderdale for making these upgrades a reality, and for providing their residents and visitors with safer and more attractive bicycle and pedestrian routes."

The new trail intersects with existing trails and bike lanes on County Road B and B2 in Roseville, bike lanes on Roselawn Avenue and the bike-friendly Cleveland Avenue. It also passes by the Gibbs Museum and  Evergreen Park,and affords easy access to the Fairview Community Center, Har Mar Mall, the Roseville Library and Corpus Christi Catholic Church.

At its northern end at Rosedale, riders and walkers can pick up Metro Transit buses.


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