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Midtown Greenway access improvement

Hennepin County is working with the City of Minneapolis and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to improve accessibility to the Midtown Greenway between Harriet and Garfield avenues. This project is based in the plans and goals of the city, county and park district. A primary goal is to provide Whittier Neighborhood greenway access for all ages and abilities while preserving nearby amenities, including the Soo Line Community Garden.

The new ADA-compliant ramp at this location will provide a ramp at the proper grade and width for all people to access the Greenway.

In 2021 and 2022, project staff will engage with Midtown Greenway users and surrounding communities to identify challenges and opportunities of accessing and using the Greenway corridor today, prioritize needs and share improvements designs.

Construction is anticipated to begin in 2023.

Project timeline showing the design phase planned from 2021 to 2022 and construction and project completion expected for 2023.

 
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Information session postponed

Due to a delay in the development of this project, we are postponing the Midtown Greenway access improvements information session scheduled for Monday, April 18.

The reschedule date has not yet been determined. We will provide an update when we set a new date for the information session. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your understanding.

If you have any questions, e-mail us at transportation@hennepin.us or call 612-348-8448.

Past engagement

Stakeholder Working Group

Project partners (Hennepin County, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and City of Minneapolis) are working with community representatives and organizations around the Whittier Neighborhood (Whittier Alliance, Soo Line Community Garden, Midtown Greenway Coalition, Lyn-Lake Business Association, Lake Street Council, Twin Cities Adaptive Cycling and Minneapolis Advisory Committee on People With Disabilities) as part of a Stakeholder Working Group.

The group is meeting monthly (October 2021 - February 2022), and are working together to discuss opportunities, concerns, and challenges and identify potential designs for this access.

Notes from the working group meetings will be available soon.

Understanding challenges and identifying needs

Engagement began in spring 2021, the public was invited to learn more about existing challenges and identifying needs that will help inform our initial designs that will improve connections between the Midtown Greenway and nearby areas for people of all abilities. Thank you for your engagement and feedback on our initial discussions. We've received a lot of great comments and feedback from many of you. Below is a link to the summary of survey responses and comments below.

Midtown Greenway access improvements engagement summary – Summer 2021 (PDF)

Virtual listening session and survey

In June 2021, Hennepin County staff hosted a virtual listening session to provide an overview of the project, timeline of events and next steps. Following the presentation, attendees engaged with staff, asking questions and sharing comments.

View the recording of the listening session below.

The community survey closed on Wednesday, July 14. We want to thank everyone for taking the time to complete our initial community survey.

Hennepin County is working with the City of Minneapolis and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to improve accessibility to the Midtown Greenway between Harriet and Garfield avenues.

This project is based in the plans and goals of the city, county and park district. A primary goal is to provide Whittier Neighborhood greenway access for all ages and abilities while preserving nearby amenities, including the Soo Line Community Garden.

The new ADA-compliant ramp at this location will provide a ramp at the proper grade and width for all people and more direct connections from the Midtown Greenway to nearby schools, businesses, housing, parks, and bike networks in the Whittier Neighborhood and surrounding areas. It will also allow trail users to avoid busy street intersections with high automobile traffic volumes.

Project goals

The goals of the access improvement project are to:

  • Improve connections between the Midtown Greenway and nearby areas for people of all abilities
  • Address the existing 1.25-mile gap where there are no ADA connections to the Midtown Greenway from Whittier Neighborhood and other nearby areas
  • Address the lack of ADA-accessible ramps to Midtown Greenway
  • Provide more direct connections from the Midtown Greenway to nearby schools, businesses, housing, parks and bike network in the Whittier Neighborhood and Lyn-Lake area
  • Help Midtown Greenway users avoid busy street intersections with high traffic volumes
  • Come up with a design that preserves the integrity of the surrounding areas, including the Soo Line Community Garden

Site selection

View of the proposed project area for the Midtown Greenway access improvement project. The new access ramp will be located between Harriet and Garfield avenues.

This location between Garfield and Harriet avenues was selected because it is in the middle of the 1.25-mile gap where no ADA access to the Midtown Greenway exists and is the best location where we can build ADA-compliant ramp access.

People already use an informal wood chip path at this location to informally access the Midtown Greenway. However, it is not ADA-compliant, and the nearest existing Midtown Greenway entrance ramps at Girard and Bryant avenues are also not ADA-compliant. The nearest ADA access points to the Midtown Greenway are the at-grade crossings at Humboldt and 5th avenues.

This site is in the Whittier Neighborhood, a racially and economically diverse neighborhood, underserved by the Midtown Greenway with limited entrance points. Full Greenway access at this location will enable more people across diverse cultural and racial communities and people of all abilities to use the trail and the parks system it connects.

Lack of ADA access to the Midtown Greenway for Whittier residents

Currently, there is a 1.25-mile stretch with no ADA accessible ramps and few opportunities for an accessible ramp because of private land ownership adjacent to the Greenway and significant grade differential (due to a trench where the Midtown Greenway lies). Effectively, residents living in Whittier (especially those with mobility issues or families who rely on strollers) have challenges accessing the Midtown Greenway.

Below is a map showing the existing Midtown Greenway access locations and how the new ADA ramp will improve connections for residents and Midtown Greenway users to their homes and nearby destinations.

Map of Midtown Greenway access points in Whittier Neighborhood 

Midtown Greenway access locations (JPEG)

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