City celebrates groundbreaking for new pedestrian, bicycle link: Samatar Crossing

City leaders and residents celebrated a groundbreaking today for Samatar Crossing, a new connection between the Cedar Riverside neighborhood and downtown Minneapolis. The former Fifth Street ramp to downtown Minneapolis will be repurposed into a more welcoming pathway for pedestrians and bicyclists. It is scheduled to be completed in 2018.

Samatar Crossing is named in honor of the late Hussein Samatar, a former Minneapolis School Board member and the first Somali-American elected to public office in Minneapolis.

“This is a great day to celebrate a wonderful new connection between the Cedar Riverside neighborhood and downtown Minneapolis,” said Mayor Betsy Hodges. “It is beyond appropriate that this new connection will be named after Hussein Samatar, whose life was a testament to the power of lifting people up and connecting them to one another. Taken from us far too young, Hussein Samatar’s life of overcoming barriers, his life of service to others, both through the African Development Center and through his leadership on the Library Board and the School Board, inspires us still today.”

Samatar Crossing groundbreaking celebration
(From left) Ubah Jama, Hussein Samatar’s widow, former Mayor R.T. Rybak, Council Member Abdi Warsame, Council Member Jacob Frey and Mayor Betsy Hodges.

“This project will be a beautiful addition to our city,” said Council Member Abdi Warsame. “It’s been a long time coming. It’s a project that we’ve worked on since I got sworn in. Hussein Samatar worked all his life to bridge cultures and connect people; this is a fitting memorial. The project layout and final plan were the result of numerous community meetings and the hard work and collaboration of many stakeholders.  Connectivity and the safety of pedestrians and bikers have always been among my top priorities.”

The Samatar Crossing project will feature separate paths for pedestrians and bicyclists with new pedestrian-scale lighting and public art between 11th Avenue South and 15th Avenue South. It will complement the Cedar Riverside neighborhood, a pedestrian-focused community, with nearby destinations such as Currie Park and the Blue Line METRO station.

For more details on the layout and project information, visit the City’s webpage on the project.

Samatar Crossing illustration

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