Samatar Crossing is now open, a bike/ped path bridging the Cedar/Riverside and Downtown East neighborhoods together. This alone is a nice step forward to engage with each other’s neighbors.
“This is saying to our Somali population, to our new American population, ‘Yes you are part of this city, you matter and we want you here,’” said Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey about the crossing.
At first, I just wondered “why” as there’s the fairly parallel Hiawatha Bike Trail right by. It essentially winds up at the same place. Well, the Hiawatha Trail is pretty narrow and admittedly a bit frustrating when you’re on a bike and need to slow or stop for people. The Samatar Crossing width is amazing compared to it. Use separate lanes for biking both ways with a wider pedestrian trail.
A little about the name’s history comes from Hussein Samatar, a local Somali civic and business leader. Minnpost has a compelling write-up on him shortly after his passing in 2013. Quite an exceptional person!
What makes this crossing even more attractive and engaging is pedestrian-style lighting, and a call for local artists to create public art to showcase the area.
The City has issued a call for artists and is seeking up to three artists to collaborate on the design of an iconic public artwork for the crossing.
If the city adds some local, quality art to Samatar Crossing, I can see this help making it an engaging place for everyone.
Of course, there’s a Nice Ride station on the Cedar/Riverside side providing trips to Downtown East in minutes.
This is almost a hidden gem, but at the Cedar/Riverside end of the Crossing lies a soccer pitch at Currie Field. It’s probably my favorite place to watch soccer. The turf is great, about ½ sized for 7-7 soccer and league play including a referee. Having the US Bank Stadium and Downtown Mpls skyline in the background doesn’t hurt, either.
During my visit there on Saturday, I made a couple new friends in Biggie and Mo. We pretty much chatted and joked for 45 minutes or so until I needed to take the Crossing back home.
Good times, awesome Crossing, and helping bring neighborhoods to engage with each other. This is my kind of place.