Minneapolis to Reduce Traffic Lanes and Parking on Hennepin Ave. in Uptown

Minneapolis remains a no-go zone for many due to an epidemic of car jackings, outbreak of shootings and other violent crime and overall threat to their personal safety. But just in case that’s not enough to keep you at bay, city planners are drawing up more ways to make driving just as onerous for those who do take their chances.

The city’s latest offensive on motorists takes aim at one of the busiest commercial corridors in Uptown Minneapolis, according to the Southwest Journal.

Hennepin Avenue in Uptown is a busy street, used daily by between 770-3,400 pedestrians, 220-280 cyclists, 6,600 transit riders on 400 buses and 15,000-31,500 vehicles, according to a city study. During weekday morning and evening rush hours, buses carry 47% of people on Hennepin, but amount for just 3% of the vehicles. About 50% of journeys on the street are through trips, according to an origin-destination study using cell phone data.

The mile and a half stretch of Hennepin Avenue set to be torn up in 2023 will never be the same. The $18 million proposal puts on-street parking and the double lanes for motorists on the chopping block in favor of protected bike lanes, among other options driven by the city’s global warming policy goals.

All proposed designs would reduce car traffic to one lane in either direction, with most options featuring a shared middle left-turn lane and some form of designated bus lanes. Four of the six designs call for a 7-foot-wide protected bike lane on each side of the street. Designated bus lanes in both directions are also featured in four of the six designs. On-street parking is included in two of the six concepts — on just one side of the street. Sidewalks range between 10 and 15 feet in the concepts, depending on the bike and vehicle lanes proposed.

Not surprisingly, participants in an online community meeting to vet the proposal raised objections to the misguided makeover.

Comments at the virtual open house ranged from dismay at the lack of parking to disappointment that more wasn’t done to improve pedestrian safety. Opinions varied on whether bike lanes should be part of the design.

The project’s main goals are to improve sidewalks and intersections and replace aging traffic signals, [project planner Becca] Hughes said. The city’s complete street policy, which first prioritizes pedestrians, then bikers and transit users and lastly private vehicles, will be used to shape the design, she said, as will the city’s climate action plan and the proposed transportation action plan.

So it’s full speed ahead. Minneapolis urban planners continue to prioritize esoteric policies that unnecessarily complicate the lives of most residents and add to the list of reasons for nonresidents to avoid the hassle altogether.