Monday, August 30, 2010

Can't Get There From Here

Facing south just off of 26th and Pacific
26th dead-ends before it can reach the Mississippi River.  To add insult to injury, this sorry excuse of a cul-de-sac is often strewn with litter.
Just north of the end of the bike path along the river, we can just about see 26th Ave.
Just imagine what it would be like for Hawthorne residents if we could bike down 26th, hang a right, and see this view in an instant.
Post and photos by the Hawthorne Hawkman

I've hinted at this once before, but the Hawthorne neighborhood's connection to the Mississippi River is woefully under-utilized. Broadway Pizza doesn't take advantage of it, there was no synergy between the Aquatennial and FLOW this year, and if you want to get to the River from the residential sector, you have two choices: take Broadway (which is not a pedestrian-friendly stretch at this juncture) or zigzag through an industrial corridor.

Furthermore, as Hawthorne has done neighborhood surveys for our second round of NRP funding, we've found that most residents don't identify the river as something that's truly a part of our community. "That's for rich folk," is a common refrain. If we had an easy way to get directly to the Mississippi from 26th, I guarantee we'd hear a different tune. Not only that, but property along 26th Avenue and the eastern edge of the neighborhood would almost certainly become among the most desirable spots in the city.

Now, if we really want to get technical...

We can go to my twitter feed, you can see where I pinpointed my locations for the southeastern edge of 26th and the northern segment of the park.  The location finder didn't exactly like my venture into parkland, and put my location there a bit to the south of where I really was.  The point here though, is that we're only talking about a distance of several hundred feet.

Earlier this year, the city of Minneapolis figured out how to put together several million dollars in funding to extend the Cedar Lake Bike path through downtown and all the way to the Mississippi River.  Per square mile, the cost of this extension was quite high.  Was it worth it?  I'd like to think so, if for no other reason than it would justify taking a hard look at giving Hawthorne the same treatment.


  1. This would be fantastic, to link up the southern stretch of the trail to the North Mississippi trails 16 blocks to the North. Insane, how in the early days of zoning, rivers were not seen as the amenity they are, and all this extra effort is spent trying to reclaim property from industry. Kind of like trying to retrofit your house for forced air.

  2. I take Lowry to 2nd street to 23rd? then I take that to the river parkway (off broadway). Thats my gate way to downtown, st paul, ne, se, south ect. I will forever take the parkway to get ANYWHERE on bike

  3. Dan,

    I completely agree, although I don't want to totally remove businesses and jobs from NoMi. I just want to have bike trails along the river as much as possible. Though poor planning is really costing us now.


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