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Pillsbury Elementary PedalPower points to the bridge they want to cross
Great Northern Greenway BNSF bridge crossing
 

The River Crossing

BNSF"Burlington Northern Sante Fe" Bridge conversion

The largest remaining challenge for the Great Northern Greenway is its river crossing.  Utilizing the BNSF bridge as the crossing has been part of the Above the Falls Masterplan, Riverlink Initiative and other City and Minneapolis Parks and Recreation planning documents for over twenty years. Ideally, the bridge could become a full pedestrian conversion or an alternative shared use of the fourteen feet of bridge width vacated years ago.

The bridge still carries weekly freight to one north-side customer  and a possible delivery alternative could be to utilize a separate north-side rail line freeing up the need to utilize the bridge for freight.  

We continue to seek help from our elected officials and public to engage the BNSF railroad about conversion or access. 

 
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Former Mayor  R.T. Rybak speaks-

“Where I first walked onto the BNSF railroad bridge I had the same sense of awe and connection I had years before when I first walked onto the Stone Arch Bridge.  Seeing those views, understanding that we could connect great parts of Minneapolis, I knew this had to happen.

Allowing pedestrians and bikers to use the railroad bridge would allow families in north and northeast to have the same privilege I had growing up in southwest Minneapolis when I could bike or run around the Chain of Lakes.  The spectacular views of river and downtown would immediately be one of Minneapolis’ signature vistas, right up there with the the skyline over Bde Maka Ska and the Spoon and Cherry.   Most important, a bridge that is rarely used would be a riverfront “High Line” where communities could come together to enjoy the very best Minneapolis has to offer.

Why have we waited so long?! Let’s work together to make this happen.  I guarantee, generations to come will thank us.” 

 

RIVER CROSSING DETOUR

- using the Broadway Bridge

Until we have a BNSF bridge river crossing and trail gaps completed from the Overlook and Marshall to California ND,  the shortest detour is using the Broadway Bridge.  This utilizes the West River Road and East Bank Trail bikeways.

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Greenway News and Features

 

Prairie and Savanna restoration

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West River Road detour (Broadway to 22nd Avenue N)

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Broadway Bridge detour to NE

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Prairie and Savanna restoration

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Highlights along the North Side detour route

Ole Olson Park

West River Road N

Broadway Bridge 

At the intersection of 26th Avenue N and 2nd Street the detour starts by going south on 2nd St.  Continuing east on the trail will lead you to the Riverlink Overlook and the uncompleted trail gap.

2nd Street has bike lanes and the detour continues east on 22nd Avenue to the West River Road.  There you will continue traveling south along the river until the Broadway Bridge to cross over to northeast Minneapolis using the bridge’s north sidewalk.  Ole Olson Park has a stunning savanna grass restoration along the riverbank and the West River Road trails have stunning vistas of the River, the BNSF bridge and downtown Minneapolis.

East Bank Trail detour

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BNSF bridge from East Bank

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Use sidewalk on Broadway Bridge

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East Bank Trail detour

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Highlights along the Northeast detour route

East Bank Trail

Sheridan Memorial Park

Historic Grain Belt Brewery

Broadway Bridge

The BNSF Bridge and East Side Trail align at Marshall Street where the detour continues south to the Broadway Bridge.  Along the trail you will experience river vistas, pass a new adventure playground and the Sheridan Memorial.  At the large sphere sculpture  take 13th Avenue NE toward the Historic Grain Belt Brewery building to an abandoned railroad pathway and the Broadway Bridge north sidewalk.

 
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Mississippi River Trail and more

You can now explore being on the river by kayak and a guided Water Taxi.  Experience both the natural beauty and history above St. Anthony Falls.

 

Additional links about the River

The River Links >> button has links to selected river related entities and activities.  Farther down the page is a description of the current river crossing detour.