Save the date for an important panel discussion, open to the community and hosted by the Union Park District Council board. From 7:00-8:00 pm on Wednesday, June 7, we'll hear from people who have been involved in the initiative to extend the Midtown Greenway bikeway from Minneapolis, over the Short Line Mississippi River bridge, and through Union Park down Ayd Mill Road. This discussion will precede our regular board meeting at Episcopal Homes (1860 University Avenue). Plan to come with questions and leave with ideas for how to support this project.
We have invited five panelists to inform our board and the broader community about this topic:
Soren Jensen has more than 25 years of experience in the nonprofit sector and has been the Executive Director of the Midtown Greenway Coalition since 2011. The Midtown Greenway is a former railroad corridor in Minneapolis with a 5.5-mile-long biking and walking trail that has been called the best urban bike trail in the nation. While the Greenway was officially completed in 2006, many projects remain unfinished, including extending the trail over the Mississippi River via the Short Line Bridge currently in use by the railroad.
Cora Peterson is a south Minneapolis resident and a founder of the Min Hi Line Coalition. In 2016, she began working with Nathan Van Wylen, a Longfellow Community Council board member, to develop community support for a long-held aspiration in Minneapolis and Hennepin County planning documents: a greenway along the Minnehaha-Hiawatha Avenue freight corridor. Over the past year, the Min Hi Line Coalition has enlisted support from neighborhood associations, non-profit organizations, elected officials, developers, and corridor property owners.
John Maczko started with the city in 1985 and has served in many capacities in Traffic and Street Operations as well as Transportation Engineering and Planning. He also served 13 years as the City Engineer and is currently serving as the Division Manager for Traffic Engineering. He was involved in earlier efforts to institute a Midtown Greenway Extension From Minneapolis along the rail line through Union Park and down the Ayd Mill corridor.
Mike Madden is a co-founder of Neighborhoods First! – a grass roots organization that envisions a sustainable, livable community that includes an Ayd Mill Linear Park. He served in various capacities for the Merriam Park Community Council and the Union Park District Council between 1999 and 2012, including on the Saint Paul Greenway Extension Committee.
Bill Lindeke, Ph.D., is an urban geographer and writer who focuses on how our environments shape our lives. He has taught at the University of Minnesota and Metro State University, blogs at Twin City Sidewalks and streets.mn, and is a member of the Saint Paul Planning Commission. Much of his research focuses on bicycle planning, and how to attract new riders to urban bicycling. He has worked on initiatives to promote the St. Paul Greenway in the past.