Reader's View: Prioritize best non-motorized route through Duluth
The best of times in Duluth includes a safe non-motorized route for traversing the city.
With apologies to Mr. Dickens, these are best of times and potentially the worst of times for non-motorized transportation in Duluth. Bikers and walkers, neighbors and tourists revel as the Cross City Trail, or CCT, grows between the Lakewalk and the Munger Trail.
We congratulate the city for working with communities and property owners to build this critical transportation and recreation infrastructure through the heart of the city.
But the next few years could be the worst of times.
First, two large sections of the CCT will be closed during the Can of Worms reconstruction and a river cleanup. The city should prioritize detours that are safe, functional, and, importantly, temporary. Even if one of the detours in Lincoln Park will be Duluth’s first protected bike lane, the priority must be to restore the CCT as quickly as possible.
Second, the city is currently distracted building a CCT spur above Grand Avenue to connect Irving Park to the Munger Trail. That route forces users to cross busy Grand Avenue twice. According to the approved plan for the CCT, the route below Grand Avenue is “the highest priority for future (CCT) investment for the City and the community,” because it is the most “convenient and direct connection from Irving Park to the Munger Trail.”
I urge the mayor to immediately commit to the priorities in the plan by finding an alignment for the lower route, negotiate with railroad and property owners, design crossings, and then find the necessary construction funds.
The best of times in Duluth includes a safe non-motorized route for traversing the city. We can have that if the mayor respects the plan and prioritizes finishing the CCT with a route below Grand Avenue that serves the greater good.