Early last April—shortly after a youth threw a Molotov cocktail onto the Greenway— the Midtown Greenway Coalition (MGC) asked for a meeting with Minneapolis City officials regarding concerns about safety on the Greenway. A meeting was arranged and attended by a large group of officials directly involved with this corridor. Participants included a Ward 9 City Council representative, Public Works, the Bike Coalition, Hennepin County, The Railroad Authority and the Minneapolis Police Department Third Precinct. The MGC was represented by Executive Director Soren Jensen and members of the Crime Prevention Task Force.
The Crime Prevention Task Force (CPTF) was formed a year ago in order to improve safety and security on the Greenway following several assaults. Much was accomplished during the past year: a study, focused on the area between Hiawatha and Hennepin Avenue, mapped the area, highlighting Code Blue phones, police video cameras, ramps, stairways and light sources. Using the results of the study, the Task Force evolved a specific list of safety improvements to present to involved parties at City Hall. These proposals included improved lighting of stairs, ramps, under bridges, and intersections where bikes and traffic interface. Adding additional video cameras at access points and adding signs that dictate that the trail is being monitored by video cameras and Trail Watch safety patrols were also discussed. In addition, the MPD was consulted on crime statistics and crime prevention ideas. Lastly, larger avenue signs on the bridges that can be read from a distance and in dim light were suggested, as well as updating the maintenance of the Code Blue phones.
The April 12th meeting at City Hall was very productive and the city officials will bring back their plans to meet the MGC improvement proposals in a follow up meeting on June 21st.
Besides the CPTF, the Greenway trail’s safety has been greatly enhanced by the MGC Trail Watch riders. This group of friendly volunteers rides the GW every night. They keep the trail free of debris, help with directions or bike maintenance problems and call 911 if they spot any possible crime activity. They encourage all walkers and bikers to stop and call 911 if any suspicious activity is observed. The Trail Watch riders are always looking for more volunteers. If you are interested in riding with them or joining the Crime Prevention Task Force you are more than welcome. Trail Watch meets at 8pm every night in front of the Freewheel Bike Shop on the GW below 10th Avenue. The CPTF meets in the MGC office next to the bike shop every 2nd Monday of the month; the next meeting is June 10th. Let us all work together to enhance the safety of our important Greenway trail.
If you have any questions about the Greenway or you want to volunteer you can call or e-mail Jackie at the Midtown Greenway Coalition. Call 612-879-0103 or e-mail Jackie@midtowngreenway.org