The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board on Thursday announced it will close off sections of two parkways, following demands to keep vehicles off the street so park users could have more space.

The parkways, which run along the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis, will be closed beginning 5 p.m. Friday until April 10, coinciding with the duration of a statewide stay-at-home order issued by Gov. Tim Walz on Wednesday.

Some of the city's most popular parks, including those on the Chain of Lakes and surrounding the Mississippi River, have been flooded with people seeking respite from coronavirus-related restrictions.

In addition to encouraging people to visit smaller neighborhood parks or other regional parks, the Park Board is dedicating certain streets to people out for a run, bike ride or walk.

Both lanes of traffic on West River Parkway will be closed between N. Plymouth Avenue and S. 11th Avenue, with one lane staying open near the Stone Arch Bridge parking lot.

Across the river, both lanes of traffic on SE Main Street will be closed between Hennepin Avenue and SE 3rd Avenue. One lane of traffic will be open between 3rd and 6th avenues.

Emergency vehicles will still be allowed on the closed parkways. So will delivery drivers, who will need to move and replace barricades.

People also will be able to access residential buildings and parking lots on closed sections of the parkways. Construction on the Water Works project near the south entrance to the Stone Arch Bridge will continue.

The Park Board is expecting to close other parkways, but hasn't said which ones.

"I am thrilled we're able to open road and parkway segments next to our busy central riverfront park, and I look forward to announcing additional parkway closures soon," Park Board President Jono Cowgill said in a statement. "This has been a collaborative effort with the City of Minneapolis in response to the people we serve and their need for social distancing within parks and public spaces."

Walz's stay-at-home order permits outdoor activity as long as people are able to stay a recommended 6 feet apart. The Park Board is asking people who are sick or show symptoms of coronavirus to not visit parks.

Miguel Otárola • 612-673-4753