By Tom O'Sullivan, board member
There’s a lot going on at the St Paul end of the Gateway Trail this season. Two long-planned major projects are in the works: a new segment of the trail from Arlington Avenue to Maryland Avenue, and the removal and replacement of a railroad bridge at Westminster Avenue.
The trail south from Arlington Avenue has been newly routed, graded, and paved and now runs between the I-35E freeway and L’Orient Avenue. This replaces the old trail behind a shuttered K-Mart and next to an auto junkyard. The new trail runs through a short underpass below Maryland Avenue for a traffic-free ride or walk all the way to Cayuga Avenue, a short distance from downtown St Paul.
Just north of Arlington Avenue, crews have taken down the old railroad bridge over Westminster Avenue. When the new bridge is complete this fall, the trail will re-open from Arlington to Wheelock Parkway. Until then, trail users can detour one block to Westminster and take that street just a few blocks to Wheelock.
The trailhead at Arlington Avenue has been busy and brighter, too. GBCTA has partnered with Urban Roots Minnesota to re-open the Arlington Gardens. A lively, East Side-based nonprofit, Urban Roots works with young people and other community members on food, garden, and conservation projects around town. About twenty gardeners are planting and tending their individual plots this summer. By the time they’re harvesting their veggies this fall, the cityside Gateway will offer trail users a smooth ride or easy walk from near downtown to Maplewood, and on to Duluth Junction and Pine Point.