BEST BIKE TRAIL (2001)
Yeah, it's only two and a half miles long, and yeah, its completion was delayed three years. But when the Midtown Greenway finally opened in August, Minneapolis bicyclists had something to shout about: a safe, quick alternative to risking life and limb on busy, east-west roads like Lake Street. Not only that, the greenway created the crucial link in a network of trails that gives bicyclists a smog-and-traffic-free ride between the downtown core, the lake district, and the western suburbs. The decision to route the greenway along a stretch of railroad track was inspired, both for practical and aesthetic reasons. Because most of the old railroad tracks were constructed below or above street level, bicyclists on the greenway only have to contend with three stop signs. In addition, the trail offers some lovely vistas, most notably the splendid view you get when crossing the channel between Lake Calhoun and Lake of the Isles. Like the best public-works projects, the Midtown Greenway will only improve over time. If all goes as planned, the eastern leg of the greenway should be completed by 2003, which means you'll be able to ride your bike from Uptown to the Mississippi River without having to slow down to curse those damnable motorists.