City revives I-35W design committee

As the city weighs possible effects of the Crosstown Commons reconstruction at I-35W, leaders have revived a design committee to expand on state transportation department recommendations.

The city adopted recommendations from a previous design committee in 2001 that focused on the Crosstown project.

City Consultant Craig Churchward said City Councilmember Scott Benson (11th Ward) and Mayor R.T. Rybak reconvened the group to look at the I-35W corridor as a whole, instead of just the Crosstown project.

The move fits with recent city positions on I-35W issues. Last month, the city withheld municipal consent for the Crosstown Commons design; it wants an expanded I-35W bus-rapid-transit lane between Crosstown and downtown to be part of the project.

Churchward said, in August, the revived design committee began meeting every two weeks with state and city staff , aiming to have revisions ready by Dec. 2.

He said the original design suggestions focused on pedestrian issues such as wide sidewalks on streets near the highway, bike access and special attention to commercial areas. Churchward said the group is working on making the ideas more specific.

Benson's office has also put together a Citizens Review Committee and is planning future public meetings so residents can provide their ideas.

The Citizens Review Committee is made up of two representatives from every Minneapolis neighborhood along the Crosstown/I-35W corridor. Two meetings are scheduled for Thursdays Oct. 7 and Oct. 21, 7 p.m., both at the Windom Community Center, 5821 Wentworth Ave.

Benson said more public meetings about the I-35 W corridor would be planned for later. For more information about the projects, visit www.dot.state.mn.us/roadwork/bynum50.html.