The River-to-River Greenway through West St. Paul is now complete with the Robert Street underpass. This post has been a long time coming. I could have written it two months ago, but I’ve been busy. Also, I wrote my first post supporting this project back in 2017. And the effort to support this crossing goes back much further, to real plans around 2010 and big ideas around 2000.
Yeah, 20 years.
Sometimes progress is slow.
And when I got involved in 2017 we thought this would be a quick win.
But it’s finally done. Every time I ride my bike through the tunnel (which has been a lot lately), I’m filled with pride that we were able to get this done.
It started with lots of work before my time, but once I got involved we created the WSP Greenway Project, we dug into the issue, we started making the case, and we talked to lots of people. We sent postcards, we emailed local officials, we made presentations.
It’s amazing how many people can be opposed (and how strongly opposed!) to a bike tunnel for a regional trail. But whether through indifference, intolerance, misinformation, or just the slowly moving gears of bureaucracy, it took time.
In the end, it’s all about perseverance.
And then celebration.
Here’s a video about the project and the ribbon-cutting ceremony, and I make a few appearances (and the WSP Greenway Project gets a shoutout from Mayor Dave Napier):
They asked those of us who rode our bikes to the event to join in for the ribbon cutting, so that’s why I’m in the picture. I was also given one of those paper links from the bike chain ribbon, and it’s hanging in my office.
I also celebrated by organizing the first ever West St. Paul Rider community bike ride and commissioning a postcard.
Here’s another video of me talking about the project in 2020, when construction was finally underway: