Parks notes

Minneapolis Bike Tour

Portions of the parkways surrounding the lakes as well as Diamond Lake Road and West Minnehaha Parkway will be closed to motorized traffic on Sept. 16 to make way for the Minneapolis Bike Tour. The event, put on by the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (MPRB), takes cyclists of all skill levels on a 15- or 41-mile ride along the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway System.

The 15-mile trail winds along Cedar Lake, Lake Harriet, Lake Calhoun and Lake of the Isles with one water stop. More advanced riders can take the 41-mile course which tours all of Minneapolis, heading around Lake Nokomis, up the Mississippi River and into North Minneapolis with five breaks for water. Both courses begin and end at Parade Field in Lowry Hill, next the Sculpture Garden.

Participants are asked to start riding between 7:30 and 9 a.m. and remember that the tour is not a race, so they should pedal at a comfortable pace. Representatives from Erik’s Bike Shop will be available near Upton Avenue and Thomas Beach to offer mechanical support for cyclists. The event will close with a party featuring entertainment, food and merchandise from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The tour is reminiscent of the early 1970s when parkways were closed during “Bicycle Sundays.” Around the same time, Minneapolis began adding bike paths around the city during parkway reconstruction. There are now more than 50 miles of trails and Minneapolis has the second largest number of cycling commuters in the country, according to 2005 census data.

Registration for the bike tour costs $30 per adult, $10 per child ages 5–12, $70 per family, and is free for kids under 5. Participants will receive a T-shirt, water along the route and treats at the post-party. Visit minneapolisbiketour.com for more information.

Grand Rounds missing link open houses

Residents are invited to attend two open houses that will address filling in the missing link in the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway System. The first meeting is on Sept. 18 from 6:30–8:30 p.m. at the Northeast Recreation Center, 1615 Pierce St. NE. On Oct. 18, the MPRB will hold another open house at Windom Recreation Center at the Pillsbury School, 2251 Hayes St. NE., 6:30–8:30 p.m.

Both meetings will have a half hour presentation about the project and a question-and-answer-session at 7 p.m. Residents will also be able to view photos and drawings of the proposed route and give comments.

The Park Board began investigating the possibility of bridging the gap between the parkways that end in Northeast and Southeast Minneapolis in 2006. The following year, they put together a Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) made up of residents and business owners to discuss the location and design of the missing link and act as liaisons for their communities.

The MPRB will examine the proposed route for neighborhood impacts and its ability to connect to other transportation corridors. The study should be finished this spring and construction will begin once funds become available.

Bus safety tips

As kids head back to school this fall, Park Police would like to remind residents of bus safety laws. Here are a few tips for drivers and bus riders:

• Drivers should slow down when they see flashing yellow lights because it means the school bus is about to stop.

• Vehicles on both sides of the road must stop when the red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended.

• The bus driver will indicate when it is safe for kids to begin boarding.

• Make sure your child knows where his or her bus stop is
located.

Contact Mary O’Regan at [email protected] or 436-5088.