A landmark project has literally bridged a big divide between Minneapolis’ north and south sides. After 14 months of construction, a new stretch of Van White Memorial Boulevard is now open to traffic. The street spans rail lines and passes under a freeway – two barriers that have contributed to the isolation of North Minneapolis for decades.
The mile of newly constructed roadway connects the Harrison and Bryn Mawr neighborhoods to I-394 and neighborhoods to the south. Van White Boulevard includes a 600-ft. bridge above the Burlington Northern Santa Fe rail lines and the Cedar Lake Trail. A smaller bridge crosses Bassett Creek. This street now provides these communities a vital connection to each other, the rest of the city and the metro area. The new street also has a shared bike and pedestrian area that connects to the Cedar Lake Trail, so Northsiders can bike to downtown and beyond better than ever before.
Van White Memorial Boulevard should help strengthen the Northside’s links to jobs and recreational, cultural and educational resources throughout the city. Making North Minneapolis more accessible will also help spur development in one of the most undeveloped areas near downtown.
The boulevard is named in honor of the City’s first African-American councilmember. Van White represented the 5th Ward from 1980 to 1990, and also worked for the City’s Public Works Department from 1956 to 1968. He passed away in 1993 at the age of 68.
The $22.3 million project was funded in part from federal, county and city funds. For info on Minneapolis street projects go to minneapolismn.gov/cip/2013.