Twin Cities close roads to make ‘more space for social distancing’

Road closures are not the only way metro area residents will see tangible impacts of the response to the virus this summer.

Nate Grigg/Flickr

Both of the Twin Cities have closed streets for coronavirus.

The closures, which are already in effect, will continue “through mid-July” in St. Paul, according to a press release, and through the end of May in Minneapolis, per the city website. St. Paul says it closed four roads to make space for “physically distant outdoor activities.” Minneapolis says it chose to shut down two streets to create “more space for social distancing.”

The closures in St. Paul effect the following streets:

  • East Como Lake Drive (from East Como to Lexington)
  • East Shore Drive (from Johnson to Arlington)
  • Cherokee Heights Boulevard (from Baker/Chippewa to Annapolis)
  • Mississippi River Boulevard (from Ford Parkway to Pelham)

The closures in Minneapolis effect the following streets:

  • West River Parkway (from 4th N to 11th S)
  • Lake Harriet Parkway (from W Minnehaha to 43rd)

In St. Paul, Mississippi River Boulevard will only be closed to southbound traffic to allow driveway access to the houses located along the northbound side. Apparently, drivers who normally approach and depart their homes from the north will have to modify their commutes all summer. A similar situation exists in Minneapolis along West River Parkway.

This map collage shows the approximate locations of the four street closures listed above. (Image source: Screenshot/Google Maps)
This map collage shows the approximate locations of the four streets in St. Paul. Top left: Como. Top right: East Shore. Bottom left: Mississippi River Boulevard. Bottom right: Cherokee Heights. (Image source: Screenshot/Google Maps)

All of the closed roads appear to be in scenic areas proximal to both neighborhoods and water.

This is not the first time the Twin Cities have closed roads for COVID-19; they did the same thing last summer.

Road closures are not the only way metro area residents will see tangible impacts of the response to the virus this summer. Students and staff at Macalester College in St. Paul are required to get the coronavirus vaccine this summer before they return to campus. There has been debate on the national level about the legality and ethics of such a mandate.

Twin Cities citizens will also likely have to keep wearing masks all summer. The mask mandate “does not have an end date,” according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

Meanwhile, those who choose to mask up and go out to enjoy the nice weather will find limited options. Over a year of restrictions on restaurants and bars and several destructive riots led to nearly 100 permanent closures last year.