The latest proposal to upgrade the dual set of recreational paths at Minnehaha Creek and Lyndale Avenue goes before the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board for public reaction on Wednesday.

The latest design eventually would allow foot and bike traffic to pass with less conflict on paths under the Lyndale bridge. It would also try to make crossing Lyndale safer for bikers, walkers and runners who opt for another set of paths leading to the street level.

The work is planned to happen in two phases, according to project manager Jon Duesman. The first would be next year and the second probably not until at least 2018, when more Metropolitan Council funding for trails between lakes Nokomis and Harriet is expected.

The proposed first phase would do two main things. One is to create a shared 12-foot-wide asphalt trail leading under the bridge from the west. But for those who follow existing alternate paths that lead up to Lyndale, the street crossing would be improved with wider curb cuts and traffic signal buttons that are easier to reach.

The proposal for the second phase would rebuild the boardwalk leading under the bridge from the east, leaving it almost twice as wide, and lengthen it so it meets the Americans with Disability Act slope standards. A new landing would provide more room where the paths converge by Garfield Avenue South.

The completion of wider approaches running under the bridge would allow the Park Board to take fuller advantage of the 14-foot-wide platform created under the new bridge over the creek and its valley that Hennepin County completed in 2012. The old bridge had a much narrower shelf for paths next to the creek. The wider approaches will require new retaining walls,

Some bikers dislike the steeper paths up to Lyndale, and would prefer to follow a flatter route under the bridge if there were more room, Duesman said.

The Park Board held a hearing on an earlier proposal last summer to revamp the recreational paths. That proposal was developed through a series of workshops with area residents. But the board directed that more work be put into trying to route wider paths for shared use under the bridge, in keeping with a 1999 master plan for trails along the creek. That urged road crossings for paths be minimized.


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