A transportation advocacy group is renewing the push to extend the Midtown Greenway in Minneapolis across the Mississippi River and into St. Paul.
The Greenway, built along a former rail line that runs just north of Lake Street in Minneapolis, was recently extended across Hiawatha Avenue to West River Parkway, where it ends at a bridge owned by Canadian Pacific Railway.
An extension across the river into St. Paul has been talked about for years. The city has secured money to help pay for the project, but not for the easements needed to build the trail along a railroad route.
Efforts to rehabilitate the bridge have stalled in the past because of high costs and concerns about the structure's long-term stability.
But Jessica Treat, executive director of the bike-and-transit group St. Paul Smart Trips, said it's not too early to start brainstorming. Treat said a new greenway would fill a gap in the East Metro.
"It's sort of a missing link in the regional system," Treat said, "We'd like to see it in St. Paul. We think that pulling together neighbors along that corridor to talk about what their vision is, and really build support for it, will help spur the politicians to do what they need to do to get this happening."
She said a new community panel will weigh in on a number of features.
"What they want to see, as far as the quality of the greenway, from lighting to width, access points -- eventually, even what kind of land use could be going around the greenway and enlivening it," Treat said. "That's been something they've been trying to do on the Midtown Greenway -- to get eyes on the greenway, by building housing. I think there will be certainly be an opportunity for that here in St. Paul."
Her group will meet with St. Paul City Council member Russ Stark later this month.