Samatar Crossing Now Open for Engagement

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.

Samatar Crossing

Samatar Crossing from Cedar/Riverside

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.

I’m a huge fan of public art, in particular the art on both the Blue and Green Line LRT stations.

Public Art East Bank Lrt Station

Public Art at the UofM East Bank LRT Station

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.

Nice Ride Currie Park

Nice Ride Station at Currie Park

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.

Soccer Currie Field

Soccer match at Currie Field

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.

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14 Responses to Samatar Crossing Now Open for Engagement

  1. Bill Lindeke
    Bill Lindeke August 29, 2018 at 12:17 pm #

    Great report on this project. Imagine how wonderful this part of the city could be if the freeways were not there or were somehow bridged?

  2. Rosa August 29, 2018 at 12:18 pm #

    This looks great! Where are the entrances? I was just over at the Mixed Blood for a couple fringe shows recently, took the LRT trail, would I have seen the Samatar if it were open?

    • Adam Miller
      Adam Miller August 29, 2018 at 1:09 pm #

      If you’re taking the LRT trail from the southeast, instead of turning right at 15th Avenue to cross the street (just past the Cedar Riverside Station) to continue on the LRT trail, you can turn left and cross the tracks pick up the Samatar instead.

      • Rosa August 29, 2018 at 11:40 pm #

        thank you!

  3. Paul Jahn
    Paul Jahn August 29, 2018 at 1:14 pm #

    Thanks! Rosa, you would most likely see it and probably closer to the 15th Ave side in Cedar/Riverside where it ends. That’s just a few blocks south of Mixed Blood. The DT entrance is on 11th Ave where the 5th St exit off 94 used to end.

    Agreed, Bill. There’s a small part of the Crossing where you can look down and see the cluster which is 35, 94 and I believe Hiawatha too.

    • Rosa August 29, 2018 at 11:44 pm #

      I’m going to have to go find and ride it, I am having a hard time picturing how this all fits together but I used to take a trail that ended on 11th downtown so I think I’m just not thinking about it right.

  4. karen August 29, 2018 at 1:54 pm #

    Baby steps to a free way lid. More of this.

    Is there areas around this could be open for more development, community spaces?

  5. Adam Froehlig
    Adam Froehlig August 30, 2018 at 8:24 am #

    This is the former 5th St crossing over 35W, correct? The article does not make it clear.

    • Paul Jahn
      Paul Jahn August 30, 2018 at 11:00 am #

      Indeed. My bad. Didn’t include that.

  6. Walker Angell
    Walker Angell August 30, 2018 at 9:24 am #

    Great post and really glad to see this link in our local walking and bicycling network.

    It’d be great if someone could do a ride video of it for those of us who rarely make it to that side of the city by bike (I’ll likely come do a Nice Ride on it sometime hopefully). Good example video’s here: https://bicycledutch.wordpress.com

    • Adam Miller
      Adam Miller August 30, 2018 at 9:46 am #

      At the moment, there are lots of (mostly St. Paul) K9 vehicles parked in the sidewalk on the 11th Avenue end, presumably so they can do pre-game security sweeps, but it should would be nice if we could block traffic lanes (very lightly used on the parallel 5th Ave) instead of pedestrian infrastructure: https://twitter.com/ajm6792/status/1035172207826296833

    • Paul Jahn
      Paul Jahn September 7, 2018 at 12:39 am #

      Thanks for the link and I’d love to see a Nice Ride video of it!

  7. David Markle
    David Markle August 30, 2018 at 11:16 am #

    Good to have this nice feature of infrastructure named after Hussein Samatar who did a lot for the Cedar Riverside neighborhood. I miss him.

  8. Nicole Salica
    Nicole Salica September 3, 2018 at 9:13 pm #

    Ah, good job being there at the official opening. Sad I had to miss it!

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