The design of a bike-pedestrian bridge that is being proposed as part of a project for a residential tower and apartment complex in Edina has been heavily criticized by the Three Rivers Park District.

As part of the Crossroads Project, developers have proposed building a 14-floor residential tower and a U-shaped apartment complex where two office buildings stand at France Avenue S. and Gallagher Drive. In total, there could be about 334 housing units, with some possibly being condos.

The most visually striking feature of the preliminary designs is a proposed bike-pedestrian bridge that would pass through a lower portion of the tower, cross France and then stretch across a small city easement on Gallagher Drive to the existing trail.

The bridge was envisioned as a way to connect the Nine Mile Creek Regional Trail so pedestrians and bicyclists wouldn’t have to cross the street. However, Three Rivers Associate Superintendent Jonathan Vlaming said in a letter to city staff that the proposed bridge wouldn’t meet the standards of the park district, which manages the trail.

One of the district’s concerns was that one of the ramps to the bridge seems to narrow and make a sharp turn. It’s also unclear if part of the ramp would have enough room to meet Americans with Disabilities Act restrictions for slope.

There is already a marked crossing with stop lights that Vlaming stressed was safe and sufficient for travelers. “Three Rivers staff would be hard-pressed to justify to the Three Rivers Board of Commissioners the need for a grade-separated crossing at this location,” he wrote.

Minneapolis-based EG Capital, which owns the property where the office buildings would be demolished, and DJR Architecture, which created the master plan for the development, have said they won’t build the bridge themselves, though they would like for it to be a possibility. The bike-pedestrian bridge could cost about $2 million to $3 million, said Dean Dovolis, principal at DJR.

The Edina planning commission gave mostly positive reviews to the sketch plan for the Crossroads Project at its Aug. 30 meeting.

Nicole Norfleet

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