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The Lake Links Effect



Drone photo courtesy of Kimley-Horn

By Mike Brooks


Having an effect can happen at any time. It can be what gets something started or, over a longer timeframe, its presence can impact outcomes, mindsets, or behavior. However or whenever the effect takes hold or manifests itself, it means the same thing; making a difference. 


The Lake Links Effect is little of all of this. It is a catalyst, a reminder and a resource for change. It is collaboration, leadership, execution of plans and participation to execute exhibited at all levels of government and across all of their residents.


In 2023 the Lake Links Effect was most evident in two places; South Shore Boulevard and the City of Mahtomedi. 


On South Shore Boulevard The Lake Links effect started with exceptionally high public engagement as early as 2017. Public comments and reactions to different uses of land in the corridor were sketched into a final design by engineering firm of record for the project, Kimley-Horn, and public input was omnipresent during project decision making that made this photo possible.


In Mahtomedi the confluence of a 2018 $1.4 million state grant to advance the trail-around-the-lake and a community’s open-mindedness resulted in the expansion of safe infrastructure and its detailing of safety enhancements. The City of Mahtomedi’s engineer, John Sachi, provided the following list of “projects the City of Mahtomedi has done associated with the Lake Links Trail”:


  • Construction of an off-road trail along Birchwood Rd. from Wildwood beach Road to border with Birchwood

  • Striping and reflective taping along trail

  • Fencing in tight areas

  • Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (RRFB) at border with Birchwood

  • Special curbing to allow on and off-road transitions as needed

  • Share the road markings and directional signage along on-road route through Historic District (Park Ave.)

  • Trail along west side of TH 244 from Maple St. to Neptune St.

  • Wolgamot Way markers

  • RRFB at Neptune St. and TH 244

  • RRFB at Quail St. and Tamarack St.

  • Trail lighting along Lake Links Trail from District Education Center to border with Dellwood

  • Construction of off-road trail from Hamline Lake trail from Maple St. to Quail St.

  • Construction of off-road trail from Quail St. to Briarwood and Briarwood to north of Dwinnell Ave.

  • On-road markings and signage on Briarwood Ave. where trail is in the roadway

  • Allowed construction of donated bridge over creek near Briarwood Ave., city repaved approaches and provided outlets

  • Installation of bike maintenance station

  • Memorial benches

  • Installation and operation of trail traffic counter

  • Allowed $70,000 of grant monies to be reallocated to City of Birchwood for roadway improvements to benefit Lake Links Trail


Photo by Ben Creagh

Amazing isn’t it? The Lake Links Effect began with the founding of a nonprofit backed by our local legislators’ enthusiasm and work to fund a multi-community and county project. The projects were defined and supported by people like you and me, and they are being collaboratively executed by community and county decision makers.


The Lake Links Effect is many things. What has it done for you? Please use the comments section at the bottom of this page to share your stories about how improvements like those along South Shore and throughout Mahtomedi are affecting your life. 

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