Duluth leaders consider new route for city's proposed Cross City Trail

By KBJR News 1

April 21, 2014 Updated Apr 21, 2014 at 9:54 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Monday night the Duluth city council met to discuss the proposed Cross City Trail... a trail that would link the Munger Trail with the Lakewalk in downtown Duluth.

"We've seen the number of people using the Lakewalk really expand," said Duluth Mayor Don Ness.

It's this use of the Lakewalk and other city trails that has prompted Duluth to consider building the proposed Cross City Trail.

"People are using that for recreation, they're using it for commutes, and we want to do that same thing on the western end of town," said Mayor Ness.

The new trail would connect the Munger Trail, by the Lake Superior Zoo, to the downtown Lakewalk, near Canal Park, giving people from relatively flat neighborhoods in Lincoln Park, West Duluth, and beyond, a chance, for the first time, to safely bike or walk out of traffic to and from downtown.

"This is a very conceptual idea. This is not a plan. The lines on the map don't represent any sort of finality," said Mayor Ness as he presented a new route to city councilors.

The new route would avoid building it through the Irving Park neighborhood, where residents raised concerns over issues with access and exhaust coming from cars.

The new "upper route" would take the trail along the Duluth, Winnipeg and Pacific Railway, or DWP, and would include the possibility of linking schools, making this trail eligible for Safe Routes to School funding.

"We have a lot of work to do if we move ahead with this. I really like how it puts together a couple of really strong anchors that I think the other plan just doesn't do as well," said councilor Emily Larson.

After the council studies the plan public meetings will be held to discuss how to move forward with the different trail proposals.

... an ongoing effort, which city officials say is all part of Duluth's goal to become more bike friendly.

At Monday's meeting the council took no formal action, but there was a broad consensus that the plan is worth looking into further.

Estimates on the total project cost will be made as city engineers put more details together in the coming weeks.

Elsa Robins