I live along the Cedar Lake bike trail and visit the parks and lakes most every day. Minneapolis is a wonderful urban area, and my family has called it home for more than 125 years. Like all area residents, I have a strong interest in ensuring that the city is economically healthy and a great place to live and work for generations to come.
To that end, comprehensive transit options are essential to promoting and managing growth. Having efficient road, rail and bike transit in our community is nonnegotiable. What is negotiable is how to develop a system that is operational and economically viable. In the Twin Cities, the increasingly caustic debate about a less-than-two-mile transit corridor is frustrating. Although I’m a dedicated biker, I believe the advocates for bicycle transit are being unreasonable.
While the Kenilworth Trail is beautiful and unique, rerouting the bike trail is the only logical solution. The disputed stretch — from about France Avenue and Lake Street to where the Kenilworth and Cedar Lake trails meet to head into downtown — is 1.7 miles, or 8 minutes at normal speed. Rerouting that stretch north to join the Cedar Lake Trail at Cedar Lake Parkway makes the journey 2.2 miles, about 11 minutes.
Most of the reroute would occur on existing bike paths along the west side of Cedar Lake. I’m not an engineer, just a taxpayer and biker, but I can’t believe that this can’t be a better solution than spending $200 million digging tunnels or rerouting trains.
Sometimes communities have to make tough decisions, and no doubt this is one. But nobody gets everything they want, and tearing down dozens of homes or creating the unknown environmental damage a tunnel would bring, all for the sake of saving three minutes from a bicycle commute downtown, would be fiscally and environmentally irresponsible.
Ed Murphy lives in Minneapolis.