One design option for a North Side greenway

One design option for a North Side greenway

What kid of north-south greenway should the North Side get and where?

Options include one where you can almost envision Bambi and Thumper gamboling, and two where cars and bikes would try to stay out of each other's way.  

Those questions will be discussed at a city-sponsored open house on Oct. 16 from 6-8 p.m. at Folwell Recreation Center, 1615 Dowling Av. N.

The concept for the greenway is to connect Victory Memorial Parkway, Crystal Lake Cemetery, Folwell Park and North Commons Park, a distance of 3.7 miles or more, depending on the route.  Several potential routes will be up for public reaction.

The concept design for the greenway poses three levels of street conversion that could be mixed and matched, according to Sarah Stewart, a health-promotion worker for the city.

One would be a bike boulevard, which means a lower-trafficked street that has features such as speed bumps or roundabouts to slow vehicles, and special marking. It's designed to encourage bikes and cars to share space.  Current examples include the South Side's Bryant Avenue and the East Side's 5th Street bike boulevards.

Another option is to put a trail on one side of a street and cars on the other, making traffic either one-way with parking or two-way without parking.  The third option is a fully carless greenway in which streets are converted to a a trail for pedestrians and bikers, and some side streets are blocked off. That's the one pictured above with all the extra landscaping. Can you spot Bambi?.

Although concept planning is well along, the proposal isn't in the city's building program. However, Stewart said the concept plan will help define the cost of the project so that funding could be pursued. The city's Department of Health and Family Support, for which she works, has undertaken several initiatives intended to improve health in north Minneapolis, where diabetes and other health risk indicators are higher than elsewhere in the city. One example is a bike-walk center on Glenwood Avenue.

The greenway would be the North Side's second, not counting the parkways built long ago.  The 37th Av. N. greenway opened last year to little fanfare. It provides space for walking and biking between Knox and Penn Avenues. N., while helping to control stormwater.