You can finally get there from here easily on the Hiawatha LRT Trail following the announcement that a long-closed key segment south of downtown will reopen Thursday at 7 a.m.
The section of trail for bikes and pedestrians between 11th and 15th Avenues S. is reopening after a lengthy closure by the Metro Council for construction of the adjacent extension of the light-rail transit line to St. Paul. The bike path generally parallels the light-rail tracks, and about 1,300 cyclists a day use it in warm weather.
The section of path closed just as the city was completing a $1.3 million extension of the north end of the trail farther into downtown,which mooted the utility of the extension. The extension pushed the north end of the trail from 11th Avenue S. to S. 3rd Street, meaning cyclists no longer were tempted to cut through several bumpy parking lots to access it. The extension connected the trail with on-street lanes on S. 3rd and 4th Streets.
During the construction closure, trail users were routed through a bumpy, narrow, noisy sidewalk route adjoinng the S. 5th Street freeway entrance to downtown.
The city said in a news release that bikers and pedestrians should keep an eye out for light-rail workers using the trail to access work sites and complete remaining tasks. The reopened section of trail includes the junction of the blue (Hiawatha) line and green (Central) sections of track. That means there's a new surface-level track crossing where bikers and other users are required to stop for gate arms, the city said.
(Staff photo bvy Matt McKinney, looking west toward downtown at the point of the former detour.)