Mozaic Bridge

Posted by Doug Shidell, March 20th, 2012

Sometimes a new piece of public infrastructure fits so neatly into a neighborhood that it appears to have been there forever. That’s what I felt when I checked out the new Mozaic Bridge and bike ramp near Hennepin Ave in Uptown. I first learned about the bridge when Andrew Dahl of the Ackerberg Group asked me to add it to the Twin Cities Bike Map.

During my brief visit I saw dozens of bike riders using the ramp and the bridge. The two amenities had become so integral to the neighborhood that I had to ask Andrew just how long they had been open. I questioned whether I had simply missed seeing them over the last year. Andrew assured me that the bridge is new and his colleague verified that it opened in January.

The bridge creates a nondescript, perfectly ordinary pedestrian crossing. Riders and pedestrians crossed over it and under it without comment. It didn’t draw attention to itself or inspire grand thoughts. The beauty of the bridge was in its pure functionality: You could get from one side of the Greenway to the other without dealing with the traffic or transit stations on Hennepin Ave, and the ramp connected a medium density neighborhood with the highly trafficked trail. In light of the recent failure of the Martin Sabo Bridge, further east on the Greenway, the simple sturdy design of the Mozaic Bridge is even more appealing.

If I have any complaint, it’s about the connection between the south side of the bridge and the rest of Uptown. The bridge empties onto a busway that feeds the transit station. The space around the station is uninviting for either bikes or peds. A walkway across the bus road runs past the Mozaic Art Park with it’s signature Colussus II head, but it doesn’t give the sense of a throughway for either bikes or pedestrians. As a matter-of-fact, it wasn’t until I had left the area, via the ramp and Greenway, that I realized that I didn’t even follow the walkway to see if it connected to anything.

The bridge, ramp and still developing Art Park were built by the Ackerberg Group as part of their new multi-use Mozaic Building. I’m not an architect, so I can’t comment intelligently on the design of the building, but I did note that it steps back from the trail as it rises, an intentional design feature that prevents the building’s shadow from blocking the sun on the trail. That design feature, plus the public bike and pedestrian amenities that came with the project, make Mozaic a great addition to the Uptown area.

The Mozaic Bridge and the bike ramp to the Midtown Greenway will be part of future Twin Cities Bike Maps but, like the bridge itself, the symbol for each will not stand out. They will be simple green lines on the map, but they will do their job when you get to the area.

Filed under: Bikeverywhere News, Misc