CORRECTION: On April 20, West Bde Maka Ska Parkway will close to motor vehicles and open to pedestrians by 8 am and Lake Harriet Parkway will reopen to motor vehicles by 10 am. Previously both changes were planned by 5 am.
West Bde Maka Ska Parkway closes to motor vehicles, opens to pedestrians to allow more social distancing around the lake
Lake Harriet Parkway reopens to motor vehicle traffic to allow the elderly, people with different physical abilities or compromised immune systems at greater risk of contracting COVID-19 to enjoy Chain of Lakes via automobile
Today the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) announced additional adjustments to ongoing parkway closures to motor vehicle traffic to allow pedestrians more room for social distancing. Cyclists are asked to remain on the bike paths.
Parkway changes around Lake Harriet and Bde Maka Ska are happening at the direction of Superintendent Al Bangoura with consent of Park Board President Jono Cowgill and District Commissioner Brad Bourn as required by the Park Board’s recently approved resolution authorizing Bangoura to designate parkways for pedestrian use during Gov. Walz’s stay at home order.
Superintendent Bangoura originally recommended Lake Harriet Parkway be closed to vehicles, with all of Bde Maka Ska parkways remaining open to vehicle traffic through Gov. Walz’s original stay at home order through April 10. When Gov. Walz extended the order, Bangoura recommended Harriet remain closed to vehicle traffic through May 3. East Bde Maka Ska was added to the closure list in coordination with President Cowgill. Commissioner Bourn consented to an extension of the Harriet closures through April 19 and recommended closing West Bde Maka Ska Parkway from April 20 to May 4. These modifications for parkways along the Chain of Lakes address constituent concerns for social distancing as well as access to Lake Harriet by people of all abilities.
Bde Maka Ska Parkway
By 8 am on Monday, April 20, the northbound lane of West Bde Maka Ska Parkway will close to motor vehicle traffic between Richfield Road and Lake Street to allow more space for pedestrians to stay six feet apart. This closure will remain in place until May 4, coinciding with Gov. Walz’s Stay at Home Order.
The southbound lane of East Bde Maka Ska Parkway closed between 36th Street and Lake Street on April 10. That closure will also remain in place until May 4. Sections of Lake Street at the north end of the lake and East Bde Maka Ska Parkway at the south end of the lake between 36th Street W and Richfield Road remain fully open to motor vehicles.
Lake Harriet Parkway
By 10 am on Monday, April 20, Lake Harriet Parkway will reopen to motor vehicle traffic. Lake Harriet Parkway has been closed to motor vehicles except one-lane openings in short sections on the south and west sides of the lake to maintain residential access since March 28.
“I’m pleased Superintendent Bangoura, President Cowgill and I have come to an agreement to provide increased areas along the Chain of Lakes for pedestrians to engage in social distancing at our parks while providing safe spaces for the elderly, those with limited physical mobility and people with compromised autoimmune systems, who are all at greater risk of contracting COVID-19, to enjoy the Grand Rounds from the safety of their automobiles,” said Commissioner Bourn.
Parkways Closed to Motor Vehicles are for Pedestrians Only
Once closures go into effect:
- Parkway roads will be dedicated to two-way pedestrian traffic; cyclists should remain on bike trails.
- Walking paths will be dedicated to two-way pedestrian traffic.
- Bike paths will remain bike paths in their current direction, if applicable.
All other parkway and park road closures already in place will remain until the Stay at Home Order is lifted. Maps of every closure are posted on www.minneapolisparks.org/road_closures.
Exceptions and Conditions
- Emergency vehicles will be allowed on closed sections of parkways and streets at all times.
- Service, delivery and sanitation vehicles will be allowed on closed sections of parkways and streets as part of their regular operations. Vehicle drivers will be required to move and replace barricades.
- Access to residential buildings and residential parking facilities on closed sections of parkways and streets will be maintained.
The Minneapolis Health Department, Minnesota Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control offer the following guidelines to limit the spread of COVID-19 when visiting parks:
- Bring a water bottle. MPRB water fountains remain turned off for the health and safety of park users.
- Bring disinfectant wipes or hand sanitizer. MPRB restroom buildings remain closed.
- Do not use parks if you feel sick or have symptoms, including fever, body aches, coughing, nasal congestion, runny nose and sore throat.
- Cover your cough with your elbow, don’t cough into your hands.
- Wash your hands immediately before and after visiting a park or trail.
- Maintain at least six feet of distance between you and other people that are not a part of your household.
Visit minneapolisparks.org/coronavirus for more information on the MPRB’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Receive timely email updates by visiting minneapolisparks.org/subscribe, entering your email and selecting the “COVID-19” topic in the “News Updates” section.