Riverfront Access:

Walk, Bike & Roll

Portion of riverfront lined by trails

Portion-of-riverfront-adjacent-to-trails
The significance of the riverfront is limited if one cannot reliably get near it and easily travel along its length. As the map below shows, travel along the river is an easy task in the Lower Gorge, but in the Upper River, the riverfront trail system is quite discontinuous. Twice as much of the Lower Gorge is lined by trail, compared to the Upper River (see chart above).

But the news is not all bad for the Upper River. In 2016, we expect construction to be completed on extending the East Bank Trail and associated green space along the nearly mile-long segment of riverfront between Boom Island Park and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Bridge near 16th Ave NE, which will dramatically improve access in the Upper River.

 

Data sources and methodology: Based on a 2002 polygon shapefile of the Mississippi River from the Minnesota DNR, we isolated the length of the edge of the river on either side of the Mississippi River throughout Minneapolis as a polyline shapefile. Using a combination of aerial photography and knowledge of the river, we identified what we defined as “riverfront trails”. We define “riverfront trails” as those off-road riverfront trails designed for biking and walking that continued for at least one-third mile along the length of the riverfront without any gaps in the trail, other than an occasional road crossing. (Some parks, such as Marshall Terrace, Edgewater, and Gluek Park have trails, but run less than a third-mile along the length of the river, and do not readily connect to a larger trail system. These were intentionally excluded, because they are of more limited consequence to a larger riverfront travel experience.) The polyline shapefile of the river was divided into segments and tagged according to whether there were riverfront trails adjacent to that riverfront edge, using the definitions previously described. Up-to-date as of December 2015.
RiverfrontTrail

Portion of
Upper River 
lined by trails

flat

over last year

UpArrow62%

over ten years

Map of where riverfront is lined by trails

lined by walking and biking trails not lined by walking and biking trails

Data sources and methodology: Based on a 2002 polygon shapefile of the Mississippi River from the Minnesota DNR, we isolated the length of the edge of the river on either side of the Mississippi River throughout Minneapolis as a polyline shapefile. Using a combination of aerial photography and knowledge of the river, we identified what we defined as “riverfront trails”. We define “riverfront trails” as those off-road riverfront trails designed for biking and walking that continued for at least one-third mile along the length of the riverfront without any gaps in the trail, other than an occasional road crossing. (Some parks, such as Marshall Terrace, Edgewater, and Gluek Park have trails, but run less than a third-mile along the length of the river, and do not readily connect to a larger trail system. These were intentionally excluded, because they are of more limited consequence to a larger riverfront travel experience.) The polyline shapefile of the river was divided into segments and tagged according to whether there were riverfront trails adjacent to that riverfront edge, using the definitions previously described. Up-to-date as of December 2015.
WalkingInRiverCorridor

Walking in
river corridor

UpArrow6%

last year

UpArrow14%

over five years
BikingInRiverCorridor

Biking in
river corridor

UpArrow1%

last year

UpArrow19%

over five years

Revitalization:
East Bank TrailGraco and East Bank Trail Area - Credit Robert Spaulding MRP

The East Bank Trail will be an extension of the existing riverfront trail system along the East Bank of the Mississippi River.  The trail will extend from Boom Island northward along the river to 16th Avenue and Marshall Street.  Part of the trail will run along an easement the Park Board now owns next to the Graco manufacturing plant.  In all, almost a mile of additional riverfront will be served by a continuous public trail along public parkland.

The project’s core funding is a $1 million federal grant, which was jointly submitted by the Minneapolis Riverfront Partnership and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. $500,000 of regional trail funding is also assisting the project. Construction is set to begin in 2016.

 

East Bank Trail corridor image: Robert Spaulding for Minneapolis Riverfront Partnership. Segway tour page background image: courtesy Eric Kilby under CC-BY-SA 2.0 license via http://tinyurl.com/oem9wvz; resized to fit page.