|Image from Flckr|
There are hundreds of miles of trails – maybe even thousands across the greater Twin Cities metro area. Some have no real purpose other than winding around, enjoying nature. Some serve as vital arteries of transportation and commerce. The Midtown Greenway falls into the latter category.
Cutting East-West through the heart of South Minneapolis, the Greenway is a major commuter artery connecting the Western Suburbs to the Mississippi River. It is also a three lane recreational mecca of sorts easily connecting with the chain of lakes, Midtown Global Market, West River Parkway, and a variety of other bike trails.
Officially the “Midtown Greenway” is only 5.5 miles long but the trail continues on after leaving Minneapolis and Hennepin County. The Star-Tribune recently reported that for the the quarter ending on June 30th that overall trail usage was up 30% and three-fold since 2003. From a running standpoint this means the trail is quite busy. I would argue that this facility maintained and advocated for by the Midtown Greenway Coalition is invaluable as a paved trail for those who need paved surfaces to recreate.
Living only 4 blocks from the Greenway and 6 from an entrance/exit I use the trail for many of my runs and bike commuting to work. From a running standpoint it is extremely nice to be away from cars and to have a flat surface to run on – although it does get a little boring and repetitive. The trail occasionally has a dirt shoulder that I can run on to avoid the pounding pavement but you can’t count on being able to run there. I said flat, but the newest addition – Martin Olav Sabo bike-pedestrian bridge over Hiawatha Ave – provides a pretty steep incline for both the runner and biker. However, it can provide some pretty sweet views of downtown at the right times of day.
|Image from Flckr|
In the winter the Greenway is extremely useful because it gets plowed on a regular basis and you don’t need to worry about cars sliding around and hitting you – just a bicycle!
I have really enjoyed being able to utilize the Greenway so much. It wasn’t until I started training for the marathon that I really started branching off and running different routes from my house. The Greenway is just so convienent!
Hope to see you out there!
[tags] Midtown Greenway, Bike Trails, Minneapolis, Recreation [/tags]