Minneapolis Grand Rounds + Saint Paul Grand Round = Twin Cities Grand Infinity

Minneapolis and St. Paul are blessed with extensive park and parkway systems, among the best in the country, with iconic design.

Official Plan for Twin Cities Grand Rounds (Minneapolis Missing Link Study, p. 15)

Official Plan for Minneapolis and St. Paul Grand Rounds (Minneapolis Missing Link Study, p. 15). I propose here to just connect the red line via the north-westernmost dotted blue line to the light dashed green line, and drop the southern section of the red line (or leave it to some undated future time).

These parkway systems, envisioned by  H.W. S. Cleveland in the late 1800s have yet to be completed. In Minneapolis, there is a missing link in the less loved section east of the Mississippi River. A comprehensive study considered how to fill it, but looked strictly at Minneapolis-based options.  St. Paul’s Grand Round system remains incomplete, and the western section is also under-developed. The wikipedia article on Cleveland says: “Plans for a similar system in St. Paul, would have connected it to the Minneapolis system, but they were never completed, with the exception of the parkways along the Mississippi River.”

St. Paul Grand Round scheme

St. Paul Grand Round scheme

Minneapolis Grand Rounds and Missing Link map

Minneapolis Grand Rounds and Missing Link map

Coincidentally, the eastern border of Minneapolis is the western border of St. Paul. This confluence of borders creates an opportunity. The eastern leg of the Minneapolis Grand Rounds could be the western leg of the St. Paul Grand Round.*, **

Stylized Graphic of Grand Infinity

Stylized Graphic of Grand Infinity

I have heard rumors of such possibilities, but have not seen open discussion.

Instead of constructing a new, expensive railroad crossing just west of Mn-280 on the Minneapolis side of the line, as proposed in the Missing Link study, just connect Industrial Boulevard to Como Avenue, follow Como to Raymond Avenue, and there you are on the St. Paul Grand Round.

The St. Paul side still requires a tricky connection between Pelham and Raymond through an industrial area, but that is a much smaller scope than completing the Minneapolis Missing Link as proposed requires. This would be in addition to cost-savings, which can then be spent on other things that are more important than duplicating parkway sections within a mile of each other, an indication of inter-municipal cooperation and joint marketing that could lead to better things in the future. Instead of waiting decades to find the funding for the Missing Link, this could be completed in a matter of a couple of years. If Minneapolis so desired, 27th Avenue SE could be improved and remain a spur on the new joint system.

Notably, the combined systems would no longer be round, but instead the infinity symbol, marking the Siamese Twin nature of our two leading cities, forever connected.***


* I believe there is an official difference in spelling, the “Grand Round” in Saint Paul is singular, the “Grand Rounds” in Minneapolis is plural.

** I don’t mean literally running on Emerald Street, which is split down the middle between the two cities.

*** I am assuming there is an actual Mississippi River crossing on the Grand Round, like Franklin Avenue or Lake Street. I am not sure how it is legally defined, but this is easily fixed with signage.

6 thoughts on “Minneapolis Grand Rounds + Saint Paul Grand Round = Twin Cities Grand Infinity

  1. Pingback: Minneapolis Grand Rounds + Saint Paul Grand Round = Twin Cities Grand Infinity | streets.mn | Transportationist

  2. Tyler Pederson

    The Missing Link Study has as much to do about completing the Minneapolis Grand Rounds as it has to do with creating neighborhood parks in the SE Como Neighborhood (one of a few service gaps in the Minneapolis Park system). Thanks for getting this out to folks for more attention!

  3. John Charles Wilson

    If you’re “not a Thanksgiving person” and would like to take the opportunity to take a bus tour of the Twin Cities today (or Christmas, or any boring holiday for non-celebrants), here is my suggested route:

    Starting in downtown Minneapolis, take the 6 to Southdale. Transfer to the 538, or the 515 if the wait for the 538 is too long, to Mall of America. Transfer to the 54 to downtown Saint Paul. Finally, transfer to the 3 back to downtown Minneapolis.

    Congratulations! You just burned 3-4 hours on four different buses, probably had a seat to yourself, and saw much of the Twin Cities at its emptiest.

    With the coming extension of Route 32 to Sunday/Holiday service, for Christmas, you could even extend this trip a little further: At the point when you’re on the 3, get off at Dale and transfer to a 65 to Rosedale, then transfer to a 32 to Robbinsdale, then finally a 14 back to downtown Minneapolis. Now you have about a 5 hour tour!

    Of course, either of these tours can be left or joined at any point. If I do this, I’ll probably start/end at Uptown TC rather than downtown Minneapolis.

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