Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Penn Connection

Post, photos, and image by the Hawthorne Hawkman.

In a post earlier this week, I lamented about several bike amenities missing from north Minneapolis, and from Penn Avenue in particular.  One of those items was a connection between Penn Avenue and the Cedar Lake/Kenilworth bike trails.  A commenter posted that I was wrong about the lack of such a connection, and that one does exist.  Since there is no bike lanes striped on Penn, I hadn't taken that street to its end while traveling on two wheels.  I've looked for a path that would have been direct line from where Penn and Wayzata meet down to the trails. 

Instead, that connection is tucked off to the side of the freeway entrance ramp, which leads to a spiral bike ramp going down to the other bike trails.  There are also paths that can take you through the Bryn Mawr Meadows Park and then up to the Bassett's Creek Trail, although I didn't feel like braving the rain to explore those.  Another day, certainly.

I have a friend who spent a year going pretty much everywhere by bike, and when I told her about my mistake and newfound bike trail, she said the same thing I had thought.  Namely, that she looked on the bike maps for the connection, didn't see it on the southern curve of Penn/Wayzata, and always assumed it wasn't there.  So at least I don't feel so bad about missing it myself.  The good news is that north Minneapolis has a route to south's chain of lakes that is actually more direct by bicycle than by car.  (Penn down to this connection point, then the Kenilworth Trail to Lake of the Isles and Calhoun)

We still need those bike lanes striped on Penn in 2012-13 though.  Without them, our bike maps won't lead riders to this great asset in the first place.


  1. Why would you ride on Penn when the Grand Rounds is only a few blocks west? That takes you directly to the Chain of Lakes via Theodore worth.
    .oh I guess I see what you are saying from that exact location youd have to bike back to Glenwood to get through Wirth Parkway. Is there not even a single sign saying "Awesome Cedar Lake Regional Trail up ahead"?

    1. Right on all accounts. If I'm out exercising or taking a leisurely ride I'm definitely using the Grand Rounds/Theo Wirth/Chain of Lakes bike paths. But if I have time-sensitive business and I'm biking to and from places when I have a deadline, I'd want as direct of a route from place to place as possible.

      Plus, I think the more we set up our bike path system like a grid, the easier it will be for people to both get places more quickly and conceptualize how they could do so on two wheels.

      And no, there are no signs pointing one to the Awesome Cedar Lake Regional Trail. Combined with a lack of bike lanes on Penn and a difficulty to even see the connection on a map, it's no wonder people haven't realized this segment even exists.

  2. Good post! Keep in mind that the spiral ramp in your second photo actually drops you off across the railroad tracks from the Cedar Lake/Kenilworth trail (it connects to Bryn Mawr Meadows trails). To get to the Cedar Lake Trail without going cyclocross you need cross fully to Kenwood Parkway then U-turn to the trail entrance path from there.

    To get to Lake of the Isles, the shortest route (with a big hill) is to climb Kenwood Parkway, angle left onto Morgan Ave. at the top, then left onto Douglas, and right onto Logan ave. down to the northern tip of Isles.

    Cyclopath shows all this stuff, but you have to zoom way in to see how it all connects. I'll bet they built that spiral ramp well before the Cedar Lake Trail even existed.

    Hopefully bike lanes and signage are in the future. If the SW LRT goes forward, visibility to these connections should increase considerably (and a more direct connection from Penn down to the LRT Station & Cedar Lake Trail is planned).

  3. Who, specifically, would somebody lobby to get the "Awesome Cedar Lake Regional Trial Up Ahead" sign?

    1. Well, there's a few places to go with this. If the sign is on Penn Avenue, that's a county road. So you'd contact Commissioner...? Stenglein's resignation is now history and the seat is vacant. Bike amenities along Penn could be made into an election issue, I suppose.

      In Hawthorne, our environment committee paid for a lot of the bike signage you see around our neighborhood. You could contact the Bryn Mawr neighborhood group, but they get significantly less city funding because they don't need as much. So they might not be of much help.

      Then there's the Park Board Commissioner, Jon Olson. The MPRB handles bike paths, so if the sign is on bike trail land, you'd want to start there.

      If you're looking for one person as a general contact about biking issues within city boundaries though, I'd start with our very own Biking Coordinator,


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