Bicyclists may have an easier time entering and leaving Downtown now that the Loring Bike Bridge has opened — and a future project may extend improvements all the way to Loring Park.
The bridge in effect extends the Loring Park path along Lyndale Avenue up and over Lyndale just south of I-94, depositing riders at Aldrich Avenue. It allows riders to and from Southwest Minneapolis streets west of Lyndale to bypass a car-heavy zone between I-94 and Franklin Avenue.
Riders to and from South Minneapolis streets east of Lyndale won’t see much benefit because they would have to cross Lyndale to use the bridge.
No matter how one gets there, the downhill pedal to Loring Park remains messy because the bike path is still interrupted between Groveland Avenue and the park. In that two-block stretch, bikes share either the sidewalk with pedestrians and streetlight poles or the street with drivers hurrying toward the highway.
Richard Anderson, a member of the Loring Park task force that helped launch and partially fund the $3 million bike bridge, said that plans are underway to rebuild the sidewalk in front of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 519 Oak Grove St., redesign the entrance to Loring Park and look at the “dangerous intersection” at West 15th Street & Hennepin Avenue, just before the park. Work could start as early as this fall, Anderson said, but a Minneapolis Public Works project manager was not available to confirm that.
Meanwhile, the completed bridge opened with little fanfare. Anderson said a dedication ceremony could be held this fall.