The 5.5-mile Midtown Greenway follows a former railroad corridor through the heart of south Minneapolis, heading due west from the Mississippi River to the neighborhood of West Calhoun in the scenic Chain of Lakes area. The paved pathway is only one block north of the improving Lake Street corridor and runs parallel to the road for most of its route, thus providing a safe alternative for cyclists and pedestrians to travel instead of the busy street.
Much of the trail is below grade because of a 1912 mandate by the Minneapolis City Council for the Milwaukee Road to dig a trench for its rail line. Presently, the decision ensures that trail users have minimal contact with vehicular traffic. East of MN 55/Hiawatha Avenue, the Minnesota Commercial Railway operates trains on the corridor to this day.
This section of the Midtown Greenway is an example of a successful rail-with-trail project. Busy Hiawatha Avenue is crossed via the stunning Martin Olav Sabo Bridge, which is exclusively for bicycle and pedestrian use. Just east of the bridge, trail users can pick up the Hiawatha Trail to travel north to downtown Minneapolis or south to Minnehaha.
On its western end, the Midtown Greenway connects directly to the Cedar Lake LRT Regional Trail, which links Minneapolis to the suburbs of St. Louis Park, Hopkins, and beyond via other connecting trails. Traveling north on the Kenilworth Trail—also located at the Midtown Greenway’s western end—leads trail users to the longer North Cedar Lake Regional Trail. East of Hiawatha Avenue, a short segment of the trail is above ground; to the west through much of south Minneapolis, it runs below street level.
In the east, bicyclists and pedestrians can join the West River Parkway Trail for a longer ride, run, or walk along the Mississippi River. Just a few blocks east of the intersection with the West River Parkway, a ramp at Brackett Field Park lets users access/exit the trail. There is ample parking on nearby streets.
In the future, a streetcar line may be installed in the Midtown Greenway corridor, although a separated trail would still be maintained. There has also been local interest in extending the trail east over the Mississippi River into the Prospect Park neighborhood of Minneapolis and onward into Saint Paul.
The Midtown Greenway connects to the West River Parkway Trail, which users can take south to Minnehaha Regional Park or north to other trail intersections heading into downtown or across the river to the University of Minnesota.
To access parking at Brackett Field Park, take I-94 E. to Exit 235A toward Riverside Ave./25th Ave. Merge onto S. Ninth St., and then immediately turn right onto 26th Ave. S. In 0.5 mile turn left onto E. 25th St., and in another 0.7 mile turn right onto 36th Ave. S. Go 0.4 mile to E. 28th St., and in 0.2 mile turn left onto S. 39th Ave. to reach Brackett Field Park. The trail has multiple access points throughout downtown.