Nicollet Avenue is a vital transportation corridor, one that has shaped the character and growth of Southwest Minneapolis. The Nicollet Avenue Road Construction, which will tear up the avenue from Lake Street to 40th Street, is scheduled for completion in fall 2013.
In its initial design, the city proposed a road width of 42 feet with curb extensions — also known as bump outs. These design features became a primary concern with many businesses, building owners and residents. These stakeholders proposed a road 48 feet wide with no bump outs, consistent with Nicollet Avenue south of 40th Street.
All stakeholders, including the city, businesses and residents, business associations, neighborhood organizations, and other users of the avenue have been working together to come up with an equitable design of the avenue.
Nicollet-East Harriet Business Association (NEHBA) representing the businesses from 36th to 40th Street, worked with its represented stakeholders to develop a new proposal — a 46-foot-wide road with a 3.5-foot green boulevard without bump outs. City staff proposed a compromise of 44 foot wide road width with a 4.5 foot green boulevard without bump outs.
Why a proposal for 2 feet wider than the city staff proposes?
Nicollet Avenue is a transportation corridor for the city. On any given day, Nicollet Avenue carries up to 10,000 vehicles per day and is a Metro Transit High Frequency Route. The affected area of Nicollet Avenue consists of 60 percent commercial, 15 percent multiplexes and 25 percent duplexes and single family homes. The proposed 46 foot width allows for 10 foot parking lanes and 13 foot driving lanes in both directions. Reopening Nicollet Avenue at Lake Street will enhance the area’s integration with other transportation options including streetcars.
Ultimately, it is about safety. Despite best efforts, roads do get narrower, making safe driving difficult. We all know roads just are not plowed curb-to-curb. Parking spaces disappear when snow accumulates, impacting businesses as well as on-street parking for residents. The mix of commercial use and multiplexes creates a high density parking situation. The additional 2 feet makes it safer for people entering and exiting their vehicles on the street year round but especially during winter.
Minneapolis is a vibrant city that encourages innovation and embraces the future. Neighborhoods offer the connectedness of community. And when residents, business owners and the city work together, we all benefit with a more livable city and greater economic growth.
Southwest Minneapolis’ future will continue to be shaped through thoughtful and responsible leadership in partnership with residents, businesses, community organizations and the City of Minneapolis. NEHBA is very excited to play a leading role in the development of that future.
For more information about the Nicollet East Harriet Business Association (NEHBA) and its role in the Nicollet Avenue Road Construction Project, go to nehba.org.
Matt Perry is currently the president of the Nicollet East Harriet Business Association and an East Harriet resident.