For a split second as you drive west across the bridge carrying I-94 across the Mississippi, it's possible to imagine that you're not in your car, that you're not about to slam into the I-35W gridlock or the stream of office workers fleeing downtown Minneapolis. Below, the muddy waters meander and the greenbelt still sports some joggers and dog-walkers. Trees trace the riverbanks as far north as the eye can see. And for as long as it takes the sun to set, Fairview University Health Care Center glows a peachy orange on the East Bank. For one calm moment you'll recall that you live in a civilized town where people pay for an unparalleled network of parks to ensure that its greatest natural assets--the lakes and waterways--stay at least a little green. If you hurry into the right lane at this point you can exit at Riverside, double back to West River Parkway, and, with a little creative navigating, perhaps encounter calming views all the way to your destination.


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