Category Archives: Grand Rounds

M P R B Plans Improvements to Trails along W. River Road

The following article by Sarah McKenzie was published in the August 29, 2013 issue of the Southwest Journal:

Park Board planning improvements to trails along West River Road

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is collecting feedback on plans to improve 3.5 miles of bike and pedestrian trails along the river’s west bank from Franklin Avenue to Plymouth Avenue.

The public is asked to fill out a community survey: on the project and attend upcoming community meetings on the proposal. A Community Advisory Committee (CAC) will work with Park Board staff on creating a plan for new lighting, signs, drinking fountains and other trail improvements.

Here’s a schedule of upcoming meetings:

— CAC meetings, Sept. 3, Sept. 24 and Oct. 15, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Park Board headquarters, 2117 W. River Road.

— Community Open House, Oct. 1, 6:30–8:30 p.m. at Park Board headquarters, 2117 W. River Road.

The bike and walking trails are part of the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway. The Park Board has received $1.7 million in federal funding to improve them.

“The trails are among the most heavily used in the state, with over 1.6 million visits to the area annually,” said Park Board President John Erwin. “They provide vital recreational and commuting connections within our community and region. The rehabilitation of these trails will use federal funds that we applied for and received. This is part of the Park Board’s recent efforts to increase non-property tax based support through increased grant writing.”

Park Board Approves Trail Improvement Plans for Dean Parkway and West Side of Cedar Lake

The following Press Release has been issued by the Park Board:


Community Advisory Committee recommendations accepted, along with separated trail modifications between Benton & Cedar Lake Parkway

At the March 20 Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (MPRB) meeting, the Commissioners unanimously voted to pass a resolution for the Dean Parkway-Cedar Lake Trail Improvement Plan. The “yes” vote accepted a Preferred Concept Plan and recommendations developed by an appointed Community Advisory Committee (CAC) representing regional trail users and local neighborhood groups. The resolution included a plan modification separating bicycle and pedestrian trails for a one block segment along Dean Parkway between Benton and Cedar Lake Parkway.

The split trail modification occurred after a group of neighbors expressed concerns at the Public Hearing on March 6. At that hearing, the Planning Board heard testimony from several neighborhood members. Planning Committee Chair Anita Tabb tabled the vote until the March 20 meeting in order to give MPRB staff time to meet with neighbors and CAC to address the neighborhood’s concerns.

On March 11, MPRB staff held an on-site meeting with the neighbors and the CAC. Staff suggested options for Dean Parkway trails between Benton and Cedar Lake Parkway to address home owner concerns about safety. The modifications provide separated trail alignments for pedestrians and bicyclists for a one block segment. From these options, a modification was selected and incorporated into the plan.

The approved concept plan focuses on improvements to known trail conflict areas, lighting, signage, and connections to regional trails. Proposed improvements are not expected to change the current use of the trails as a popular recreational and commuting route abutted by numerous urban amenities.

“The trails continue to grow in popularity for both pedestrians and for recreational bicyclists,” said 4th Park District Commissioner Anita Tabb. “Enhancing the investment in such a high-demand asset ensures that the Park Board provides a safe and attractive amenity, while encouraging enjoyment of this great city and fostering a healthy lifestyle.”

The trails along Dean Parkway are a critical part of the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway system. They connect to Lake Calhoun, Lake of the Isles, and Cedar Lake. Three regional trails intersect the project area: the Midtown Greenway, the Kenilworth Trail, and the Cedar Lake Trail. Project construction is expected to be underway by fall of 2013.

Funding for the Dean Parkway trail improvements is provided by the federal Transportation Enhancement Act and Regional Park Operations and Maintenance funding provided through Metropolitan Council and the State Legislature.

For background information and to view the approved improvement plan, please visit the project page at or call 612-230-6438. Sign up to receive email updates on this and other MPRB projects.

Questions from media:

Dawn Sommers, Communications and Marketing Manager

Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board

Office: 612-230-6407 / Cell: 612-221-9155

[email protected]

Questions from the public:

Deborah Bartels, Project Manager, Planning

Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board

612-230-6438 [email protected]



5:00 P.M. REGULAR BOARD MEETING. Committee meetings to follow. The meetings will be held in the boardroom at Park Board headquarters, 2117 West River Road, just north of Broadway Pizza.

5:30 P.M. OPEN TIME. Speakers need to sign up before 3:00 p.m. the day of the meeting.

This meeting is the last meeting that David Fisher will be attending as Superintendent. His four month stint as interim superintendent ends on October 31. We are grateful that he accepted the invitation to come to Minneapolis to fill this position.

This meeting is a meeting with many significant agenda items. The most important item on the agenda is the vote to approve the employment agreement with Jayne Miller, who–at the last meeting–was selected by a unanimous vote to be the new MPRB Superintendent.

Some highlights of the meetings that will be voted on :

The I-35 Bridge Memorial.
The concession agreement with Bread & Pickle at Lake Harriet.
The reconvening of the CAC for the Wirth Beach Project III.
The non-appointed CACs for two playgrounds at Lake Harriet.

There will be a presentation of the Superintendent’s 2011 Recommended Budget. This is a report item and will not be voted on at this time.

The following is the link to the complete agenda, with staff reports, for the MPRB Board of Commissioners’ meeting of Wednesday, October 20:

MPRB meetings are broadcast live from 5-9 p.m. on the City of Minneapolis Government Meeting Channel 79 on Comcast cable and online at

The regular meetings are rebroadcast on Channel 79 at 1 p.m. Saturdays and 5 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month. Webcasts for the recent two months are posted two to five business days after the meeting and are available for viewing under “Webcast Archives” at

The Park Board’s website is

Arlene Fried, Co-founder of Park Watch


The following article by reporter Steve Brandt appeared in the September 5th, 2008, edition of the Star Tribune


A proposal to complete the missing East Side link of the Minneapolis parkway system has been approved by the Park Board, marking a historic point after decades of failed proposals.

This week’s decision allows park officials to compete for state and federal money to help design and build the 3-mile link.

The proposal was submitted last spring by an advisory committee the board appointed last year to recommend how to fill in a gap between St. Anthony Parkway and E. River Road. That job has eluded generations of park planners.

“I’m glad that the plan was finally accomplished after attempts were made many times over the years,” said Commissioner Walt Dziedzic, who represents the area.

The board deleted a controversial bike link along Stinson Parkway that many area residents opposed. It would have provided a secondary link between St. Anthony and Ridgway parkways.

A proposed park area along the St. Paul border at the Kasota ponds also was deleted; park staff was directed to work to minimize impacts on the ponds. The board also said it will work with Prospect Park residents on traffic impacts that focus on 27th Avenue SE.

Advisory committee Chairman John Erwin said it is likely to take 20 years to complete the plan. It generally follows current streets, although they’re expected to be reconfigured, and adds new parks at strategic locations, especially in the eastern Como neighborhood. Construction generally is expected to be staged from the north end, finishing on the south end.

But Erwin said that it’s reasonable to expect that the northernmost segment, St. Anthony Parkway between Stinson and Interstate 35W, could be rebuilt with new paths, lighting and other amenities, in five years. That passes through the city of St. Anthony.

From north to south, the route also follows Industrial Boulevard to E. Hennepin Avenue, Weeks Avenue, and 29th Avenue SE. It dives under the Burlington Northern tracks to Kasota Avenue SE and then bridges over the southeast rail yard to hook up with the city’s planned Granary Road, cutting south at 27th to the river.


Kudos to East Isles resident Harvey Ettinger whose letters and phone calls, as well as an Open Time speech to the Park Board, brought attention to the severity of the deterioration of Lake of the Isles Parkway. The following Park Watch post is excerpted from a longer article by Council Member Lisa Goodman that appeared in the April 19, 2008, issue of the Hill & Lake Press.


From Seventh Ward Council Member Lisa Goodman

Given that we seem to have a path to success for renovation of the parkway in 2009, I thought I would share our progress with you now.

The work on LOI Parkway is being proposed as an extensive renovation with a full 7 inch grinding down of the roadbed, select curb and gutter work and completely new surface; this work is estimated to last for 29 years. Routine renovation work mills to 2 inches but due to the use of this roadway a more extensive process is being recommended.

This project was included in the City Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for 2009 at $500,000, 2010 at $500,000, and 2011 at $600,000 because it will take three years to accumulate all of the funding required from the net debt bonding program under the line item parkway paving, to cover the $1.6 million dollar cost from this source. The total project cost is just under 2 million as about 10-15% of the total project cost is assessed, just like all reconstruction projects, to adjacent property owners. In this case there is only one side of the road to assess as the park system “owns” the lake side and we can’t assess that.

Public Works WANTS to do this project in 2009 and is looking for a way to “front end” the project due to the horrific condition of the roadway. City crews have been out patching LOI Parkway 12 times already this winter and will have to continue to do so all season long in 2008 as well. There is a cost to this work and the cost benefit is clear that doing the reconstruction work in 2009 makes more sense than 2011.

Public Works will make a recommendation to CLIC, the citizen board that makes recommendations to the Mayor and City Council about capital request from departments, to front end the work and do most if not all of it in 2009. This does not mean CLIC will make that recommendation or that the Mayor and City Council will adopt that in the 2009 budget. However, I am optimistic that this can and will be resolved given the condition of the roadway, the cost benefit to doing the work in 2009, the strong support from the public works director and department, and the commitment from the Park Board that this will be the priority for parkway paving for 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Please know public works and city finance staff along with park staff and Park Board President Tom Nordyke have all been very positive, proactive, and helpful. I understand from staff the Mayor and his office support the plan to reconstruct the parkway in 2009 and pay over the three years as well rather than issue bonds over three years and do the work in 2011.

Many thanks for your patience with the condition of the Parkway as we collectively recover from the lake and park flooding and resulting deterioration of the roadway.

Lisa Goodman

post by Arlene Fried co-founder Park Watch
rough road ahead for Park Watch smaller file.jpg

POTHOLE PARKWAY: 2009 Renovation of Lake of the Isles Parkway Under Consideration

The following article is from the April 7, 2008, issue of the Southwest Journal:

Pothole Parkway
Dylan Thomas


When pothole season rolls around each spring, it doesn’t just come to one street; it arrives everywhere in Minneapolis at once.

And yet, Harvey Ettinger saw something remarkable March 18 that reinforced his belief that the pothole problem on his street — East Lake of the Isles Parkway — was among the most serious in the city.

Within one hour that night, Ettinger said, he saw two cars get flat tires after hitting massive potholes near his house, on the parkway’s 2600 block. (Ettinger provided the drivers’ names, and they confirmed the story.)

A resident of the Chain of Lakes area for about 30 years, Ettinger said this spring’s thaw turned the badly deteriorated roadway into “an obstacle course.”

“This is the worst,” he said, “the worst in all my years.”

In March, Public Works officials were working on a plan to move up a scheduled renovation of the parkway to 2009 from 2011. The proposal would “front-load” the next three years of parkway renovation funding to complete the project early, said Mike Kennedy, director of transportation maintenance and repair.

Kennedy said Public Works was reacting to citizen concern while at the same time attempting to limit the time and money it spends filling potholes on the parkway. Crews patched the parkway multiple times over the winter and were back out shoveling hot asphalt March 20 — the day after Ettinger brought his concerns before the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board.

“We’re putting way too many resources into a mile-and-a-half of parkway compared to a thousand miles of (city) streets,” Kennedy said. “There are plenty of other problems out there.”

Ahead of schedule

Kennedy said work on Lake of the Isles Parkway would include a mill and overlay of the existing parkway, as well as “selective” curb and gutter replacement. The cost was estimated about $2 million, he said.

Each year, Public Works sets aside only $500,000—$800,000 for its parkway renovation program, so Lake of the Isles Parkway renovation would eat up approximately three years worth of funding.

“The plan was to save the money up over the next few years and then do it all in 2011,” Kennedy said. “That makes no sense, to have it sit there like that. And we can’t tolerate having to go out there and patch it, anymore.”

Instead, Public Works proposed to finance the entire project in 2009 and delay any other parkway renovation projects until after 2011. The proposal still has to clear the budgeting process, but Kennedy predicted the mayor and City Council would approve it.

“We’re confident this has a good chance of happening,” he said.

Park Board General Manager Michael Schmidt said it made sense to complete the parkway renovation early, before rising oil prices pushed up paving costs any further. Whether the renovation was completed in 2009 or 2011, Lake of the Isles would have been the only parkway scheduled for renovation during that three-year period, anyway, Schmidt added.

“There are other parkways that need to be fixed, but the commitment was this was the next area we were going to,” he said.

Planning to pave

Planning for parkway renovation is the joint responsibility of Public Works and the Park Board. The Park Board owns the parkways, but under a long-standing agreement, funding for parkway renovation comes through Public Works.

Schmidt said Park Board officials originally sought to rebuild Lake of the Isles parkway with state funds.

State bonding financed an effort to restore parkland and mitigate flooding around Lake of the Isles, a major project now entering its final phase. When it became clear in about 2006 that roadwork would not be included in the bonding, Lake of the Isles Parkway was put back on the parkway renovation schedule with Public Works, Schmidt said.

Still, Public Works officials wanted to wait until most of the work around the shores of Lake of the Isles was completed before starting major roadwork. There was concern truck traffic could damage a newly paved roadway, Kennedy said.

Not soon enough

For Justin Hendrickson, parkway restoration couldn’t come soon enough. Hendrickson already blew out a tire and bent two wheel rims.

“I’ve never seen a road in worse condition than that,” he said.

Stevens Square resident Hendrickson was the first driver Ettinger saw that night in March when two vehicles got stuck in front of Ettinger’s home.

Hendrickson said he regularly used East Lake of the Isles Parkway as a shortcut home from the western suburbs. That night, driving a brand-new 2008 Honda Accord, the trip cost him roughly $1,400.

“It stings,” he said.

Lowry Hill resident Marty Broan said he used the parkway regularly to pick up his children from school.

“It’s a very convenient and beautiful road for us to use,” Broan said.

There was no question for him. He said the road was “significantly worse” this year than in his memory.

So, Broan found it encouraging that pressure from nearby residents like Ettinger seemed to get the attention of Public Works and the Park Board.

“It is definitely a case … where citizen communications actually make a difference,” he said.2009 renovation of Lake of the Isles Parkway under consideration

No ‘magic key’ yet for Grand Rounds Missing Link route

Open houses on the proposed route alternatives take place this month — Jan. 16 & 17
By Jeremy Stratton (January 11, 2008)

As preliminary planning continues to complete the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway through Southeast Minneapolis, residents and other area stakeholders continue to adamantly oppose any route that would necessitate the removal of homes in the Como neighborhood.

In recent months, Como residents convinced Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) planners to eliminate a route along 18th Avenue Southeast, but another route that would mean the removal of homes, called G-5, remains a possibility.

Residents who oppose the loss of homes have been joined by the Southeast Como Improvement Association (SECIA), the University of Minnesota and Ward 2 Council Member Cam Gordon.

Lila Smith, a Southeast Como resident who has spearheaded the opposition, collected 165 signatures on a petition against removing homes and/or student housing. Smith has also circulated information and long letters with arguments and impassioned pleas from longtime Como residents opposing a parkway that would eliminate homes.

Read the remainder of the article at The Bridge

Grand Rounds Missing Link Update

By Anna Pratt , Special to the TC Daily Planet from 11/14/2007

Controversial Como route eliminated, but a new route proposal resurrects similar fears among residents

On Nov. 1, the citizen advisory committee (CAC) to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) rejected a controversial route proposed for the Como neighborhood that would have taken out dozens of homes to complete a segment of the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway. A new route proposal, unveiled at that meeting, calls for tearing down around 30 homes plus some businesses on Hennepin Avenue East, between 26th and 27th Avenues Southeast, causing a new stir among some Como residents.

HNTB project manager Tom Johnson stressed that things are still in a conceptual stage, however, “[The new route] is better in terms of housing and businesses and is more compatible with the U. It also has a joint use of Granary Road. It makes a lot of sense,” he said. Granary Road is a new road that would be built under the proposal.

The 50-mile Grand Rounds, accessible by car, bike or on foot, remains unfinished between St. Anthony Parkway South and East River Road. The CAC is trying to figure out the most ideal path for this “missing link,” with the help of a technical advisory committee (TAC) and HNTB Corporation. The CAC will present its recommendation to the Park Board in spring 2008.

Read more T C Daily Planet