Exploring West St. Paul

Posted by Doug Shidell, March 29th, 2010

It’s spring and that means route research is back in full swing. I spent Sunday afternoon exploring West St. Paul and South St. Paul, two surprisingly good biking areas. The best scenic view is on the bluffs overlooking Downtown St. Paul from Prospect Blvd. Prospect is about equal distance south of downtown and west of the St. Paul Airport. To get there, cross the High Bridge (Smith Ave), then turn left at the top. It’s a little clunky making the turn, but you’ll find a curb cut in the middle of the median strip. Go east on Congress, then north on Bidwell to Prospect. With each major update to the map, I ask cover artist Mike Wohnoutka to illustrate a new iconic image of the Twin Cities for the cover. The view from Prospect Ave is my current favorite for the 2011 update.

From Prospect, there is a very pleasant, although somewhat complex, route along the bluffs to Kaposia Park. The route is hilly, but that has its advantages. The most interesting houses are often placed on hilltops and West St. Paul is no exception. You will see a number of large, very well maintained houses with colorful paint schemes. Some, such as the one with the cannons in front, are also a bit quirky.

If you have revision 8.2 of the map, you will see that the bike trail from Kaposia Park now connects to the So. St. Paul Regional Trail down by the Mississippi River (steep drop down the trail- and a long climb back up). The trail also goes west to Thompson Park and hooks up with Emerson Av, a new addition to the map.

Sunday’s ride will result in two new additions to the 2011 update. Caesar Chavez Rd/Concord St and Dodd Rd. Both have heavy traffic, but Caesar Chavez has bike lanes that run almost to the Kaposia Park Trail and Dodd has a wide shoulder. Both are escape routes that will take you quickly from near downtown to the Southwest and southeast. Dodd is especially fast, with very few stop signs and no stoplights. Chavez runs through an active Hispanic commercial area, then flows quickly to the Kaposia Park Trail and its connection to the South St. Paul Regional Trail.

Filed under: Bikeverywhere News