Did you know that you there are 23 bridges in Minneapolis and St. Paul that allow you to walk or roll across the Mississippi River? This October, I spent a weekend walking across 19 of them and am in love with this way of experiencing the river and our twin cities. This route was so much fun that I plan on making this walk an annual tradition. For this walk, I used the Twitter hashtag #MissRiverBridgeWalk.
Walk location: Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota
On Saturday, July 9, Scott and I attended "From Then To Now: Immigration and the (Re)Making of Saint Paul's East Side." This half-day event was co-organized by the University of Minnesota's Immigration Research History Center and the East Side Freedom Library and was made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. After a week of tragic events locally, nationally, and internationally, attending an event focused on the contributions of immigrants to our community was especially meaningful.
The walk was led by Dr. Peter Rachleff who is a labor historian and Macalester professor. Peter and his wife, Dr. Beth Cleary co-founded the East Side Freedom Library.
This summer, I've decided to turn my attention from long distance walking to connecting with others. I made a mental wish list of people with whom I wanted to walk and Jason Wittenberg was at the top of that list. Jason is the Manager of Land Use, Design and Preservation for the City of Minneapolis, where he has worked for the Community Planning & Economic Development Department since 1998. He holds a Master of Urban Planning and Policy degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a B.A. in Geography from the University of Minnesota.
Jason and I have been following each other’s walks on Twitter since 2015 when I completed an 18 mile walk the entire stretch of Lyndale Avenue. He later tweeted that he was walking Lake Street from the border of Minneapolis/St. Louis Park to the border of Minneapolis/St. Paul. We’ve been cheering each other on ever since.
For our maiden voyage, we settled on June 5 and met up at the first Open Streets Minneapolis event of the season on Lyndale Avenue. For our route, we chose 42nd Street from Lyndale Avenue to West River Parkway which runs along the Mississippi River.
As an employee of the University of Minnesota, most years I am treated to a scheduled Floating Holiday in which the campus is closed. It's usually the Friday of Spring Break and this year was the day after St. Patrick's Day and during March Madness. Since I wasn't hung over from green beer consumption and I don't watch basketball, the day was wide open with possibility and made even more fun because Scott took the day off to join me. Despite the snow and cooler temperatures, we decided to take a long walk (pretty much our default on vacation days).
We walked on the Grand Rounds Trail along the Minnehaha Creek, eastern side of Lake Harriet and the western side of Bde Maka Ska (Lake Calhoun). We left the Grand Rounds trail at W. Calhoun Boulevard and crossed Excelsior Boulevard and Lake Street to warm up at Rustica Bakery in the Calhoun Village Shopping Center. We continued our walk on the Midtown Greenway and exited at the Lake Street Transit Station where we hopped on a MetroTransit route 21 bus to Cedar Avenue. We then walked north on Cedar to 24th Street and used the pedestrian/bike bridge to cross Hiawatha Avenue. We stopped for lunch at United Noodle's Unideli and then picked up a Car2Go so we'd make it to the Mill City Museum by 2 p.m. to meet Janette Law, Director of Communications & Strategic Partnerships at the Minneapolis Parks Foundation. After a great conversation about our walk adventures around Minneapolis with Janette, we walked to Lakes & Legends Brewing Company in the Loring Park neighborhood. We returned home via MetroTransit bus route 156.
After our walk to Robbinsdale for Wicked Wort beers, Scott and I wanted to go the other direction and hit up Wabasha Brewing Company, one of a growing number of breweries in St. Paul. Walking to St. Paul has many benefits, including residents like Heidi who greet us at the border to ensure we felt welcome to our twin city!
After reading of our plans to walk to Wabasha, streets.mn founding board member Bill expressed interest in meeting up since the brewery is in his neighborhood. Thanks to my excessive tweet walking, our friends Ben and Erin discovered our arrival time to the brewery would work for them so they and their kids, Annie, Luke, and Charlie joined us. Later on, Rich and his son Noah joined us after they had their own walking adventure
Inspiration & Goals
The Nivens Family