Up North: Duluth Road Closures Promote Physical & Mental Wellness

Updated: April 08, 2020 10:59 PM

A non-motorized movement is taking over parts of Duluth. The city has started dedicating streets to pedestrian, bike and stroller traffic.

Their purpose is to provide more opportunities to get outside while social distancing. 

"Being able to get out and about and enjoy this beautiful weather and spend some time outside in the fresh air is great," said Kris Hagstrom while taking a walk at Lester Park.

Now that it's officially spring, people are eager to shed their layers and hit the trails. Thanks to the city closing some roads to vehicle traffic pedestrians and bicyclists now have more space to enjoy the outdoors from a safe social distance.

"What we're doing is closing a few scenic park roads to support the governor's directions," said Jim Filby Williams, the Property Parks and Libraries Director for the City of Duluth.

"Folks have more options for walking and biking closer to home and they have more space at these new locations to spread out."

Filby added, "we also want to choose scenic spots because we're specifically trying to persuade folks maybe to not go to the Lakewalk as often as they might because we're seeing some unsafe crowding there."

Seven Bridges Road, the Skyline Parkway loop around Enger Tower, one mile of the Munger Trail and a half mile of Lincoln Park Drive are the four locations shut off to motorized vehicles. It's all in an effort to promote mental and physical health.

"It's really opening up a lot of new trails for everyone and it's a lot more safe too," said Will Van Scoy while taking enjoying Lester Park Saturday with his family. 

"You don't have to worry about the cars going up and down and getting out of the way," Erin Bursell added while walking on the closed Seven Bridge Road. "Especially knowing we have to be so far apart."

Property Parks and Libraries Director Jim Filby Williams said the routes will remain closed at least through April but could be extended if need be. Adding more pathways to the non-motorized movement is being considered to help locals get out of the house.

"I think trying to get some movement in every single day is really important. Just being cooped up like that I find myself getting kind of lazy and so getting out of the house and moving my body is nice," said Madison Cardenas will walking with friends Cal Germain and Blake Skillen around the Skyline Parkway loop. 

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