A trail to connect campuses
Students at two major Duluth colleges can now travel a little safer between campuses.
On Sept. 22, the Campus Connector Trail officially opened. The trail stretches between the University of Minnesota Duluth and the College of St. Scholastica. This path is part of phase one of the trail that runs parallel to College Street. It was completed between Kenwood Avenue and Junction Avenue prior to the start of the academic school year.
"While this segment is only 2,600 feet, it serves as an important linkage between the two campuses," said Parks and Recreation manager Lindsay Dean. "And it serves as the greater vision for the campus connector trail, which is to connect elementaries, middle and high school and two college campuses across a 4-mile trail that runs from Rice Lake Road to the Lakewalk."
The trail was planned with community input over two years ago, with the intent of providing a 10-foot wide protected trail for non-motorized multipurpose use with a connection through several neighborhoods and the school campuses down to the Lakewalk Trail. The trail was constructed with a grant from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
"I live just about a mile away from here. I've been watching this develop and I've been pleased to see how much use it's getting," said Mayor Emily Larson.
Shortly after the official opening press conference, students and community members gathered at the UMD Kirby bus hub to learn more about the future trails, decorate bikes and participate in a community ride along the trail.
"I'm excited to try it out. I think it's a great idea," said St. Scholastica sophomore Emily Rose.
Rose and fellow St. Scholastica student Mel Avinon rode fat-tire bikes rented from St. Scholastica's Outdoor Pursuit program. Rose said she doesn't ride between campuses very often, but she "might now that there's a better path."
Avinon appreciates the trail being off the road.
"Just today, while I was riding around here on a different road, there was a car crossing the intersection that got really close to me. It can be dangerous, so being off the road will be hopefully safer," Avinon said.
Avinon's words echo the sentiment behind the remarks of Joel Sipress, the city councillor representing City of Duluth Parks and Recreation at the opening earlier that day.
"One of the reasons I'm so excited is because this project really shows that when we invest in bicycle and pedestrian projects ... it's good for everyone. It's good because it links our campuses together. It's good because it encourages people to walk and to bicycle and use alternative means to get around," Sipress said. "But it's also good for people like me who also drive because it gave us the opportunity to repave the street which was desperately in need of repair."