The long walk: a year on foot in Minneapolis


by Erica Mauter | September 9, 2009 • Twin Cities Streets for People recently reprinted a 2006 Rake Mag article on walking as a primary mode of transportation in Minneapolis, including a tantalizing comparison to walking culture in Copenhagen.

It’s not anything new and different if you’re into this topic, but it’s still a fascinating read. Especially this part about the forthcoming Gold Medal Park (aka Old Medal Rk)… is a cityblog for and about life in the Twin Cities, published by Erica Mauter. Contact

Recently, UnitedHealth CEO Bill McGuire offered to build a 7.5-acre park just east of the new Guthrie Theater, along the river. If he gets his way—and likely he will, since he’s offering to design it and also pay for its building and maintenance; an alluring package for the city—the park will feature trails and hundreds of trees.

And this part about turning one-ways into two-ways…

Rather than waiting for a grand development plan—and a deep-pocketed developer to implement it—the city could, as in Copenhagen, make gradual changes. It could convert a single one-way street into a two-way, slowing traffic. And if that proved successful, it could then convert more.

Hennepin Ave and First Avenue are undergoing that change this year (and bringing bike boxes with them).

I feel like we’re so close, yet so far away. We talk the talk but don’t walk the walk (so to speak). If this is possible, or makes any sense, Minneapolis is much more bike-friendly than it is walk-friendly.

I like to tell people that one of my favorite things about living here is the ability to get around town (within the city, anyway) by means other than driving. I wish it were just a little more true.

Related: ECCO resident Patricia Blakely has spent the last six years living car-free and is planning to write a book on her experience.