Southwest LRT Trail Wikipedia
The Southwest LRT Trail is a system of bicycle trails that extends through several western suburbs of Minneapolis, Minnesota. They are operated by the Three Rivers Park District.
Two former rail corridors originally built by the Minneapolis and St. Louis Railway were acquired and converted to trails in anticipation of the Southwest Corridor light rail project. The two corridors are now divided into three distinct trails:The Cedar Lake LRT Regional Trail – This is the main paved trail which runs from the west end of the Midtown Greenway in Minneapolis through St. Louis Park to Hopkins, Minnesota. It runs along a former Minneapolis and St. Louis Railway right-of-way: The rail line was built in 1870, and was eventually acquired by the Chicago and North Western Railway, who abandoned the line in 1990. This trail is named very similarly to the Cedar Lake Trail in Minneapolis and the North Cedar Lake Regional Trail continuation of that trail (formerly known as the Hutchinson Spur Trail) which also extends through St. Louis Park to Hopkins in a roughly parallel route farther north. The North Cedar Lake Regional Trail meets the Cedar Lake LRT Regional Trail just east of the intersection of U.S. Highway 169 and Excelsior Boulevard in Hopkins.
The Minnesota River Bluffs LRT Regional Trail – This trail continues along the former Minneapolis and St. Louis right-of-way that brought the trail to Hopkins, but this other section has a crushed limestone path instead of asphalt paving. It runs from Hopkins through Minnetonka, Eden Prairie, and Chanhassen, Minnesota. Together, the Cedar Lake LRT Trail and the Minnesota River Bluffs LRT Trail are about 15.5 miles (24.9 km) long. This trail has a partial closure south from Pioneer Trail since 2014 due to significant mudslides and unsafe conditions. A detour is posted. Three Rivers Parks does not know when the trail will be able to be repaired. The closure currently persists into 2017.
The Lake Minnetonka LRT Regional Trail is on a right-of-way originally built by the Minneapolis and St. Louis in the 1890s and abandoned by the Chicago and North Western in 1980 which branched off from the other rail line in Hopkins. As of 2010, this trail also uses a crushed limestone surface. It does not directly connect to either of the other two trails, so users wishing to go to or from one of the others must use surface streets for a few blocks to go between them. The trail runs for about 15 miles (24 km) from Hopkins through Minnetonka, Excelsior, and Chanhassen to Victoria, Minnesota.
If the Southwest Corridor light rail line is built along "route 3A" as planned (as of 2010), it will follow the entire Cedar Lake LRT Regional Trail and a portion of the Minnesota River Bluffs LRT Regional Trail before turning southward near Shady Oak Road in Minnetonka.