29th Street redesign creates ‘shared street’

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City officials are designing a “shared street” for 29th Street, with two blocks between Lyndale and Bryant slated for construction in 2016.

“This would be the first one in the city,” said Council Member Lisa Bender (10th Ward). “We’ll try it out and see how this works.”

A scored concrete surface in the plaza-style design could accommodate bikes, pedestrians and cars, likely without any curbs. The street may also feature raingardens.

The design details are still in development, and an open house is scheduled for June 29 to take public feedback. Whether street parking will be allowed is not yet determined. 

The street is designed with narrow sections and chicanes to encourage slow vehicle speeds. 

“When you narrow a roadway, it automatically adds some traffic calming benefits,” said Minneapolis principal urban designer Lacy Shelby.

On the north side of the Greenway, more pedestrians are traveling the sidewalks and crossing a new pedestrian bridge. Elan Uptown Community Manager Laura Longen said she’s heard lots of compliments on the walkway, particularly because nearby 29th Street is “just potholes and a back alleyway,” and a home for the grocery store’s garbage.

City officials are working to change that.

A model parklet now sits in front of the Lime Apartments, and it will remain in place throughout the summer.

During Open Streets Lyndale earlier this month, passersby played cornhole on 29th and filled a chalkboard with ideas for the street. They imagined a street for “organized chaos,” dancing, live music, safe crossings, local veggie purchases, conversations with strangers, community gardens and hand-holding.

Layout approval for the $700,000 first phase would go before the City Council this fall. Construction is slated for the following summer, with completion in November 2016.

The second $1.4 million phase, covering the rest of 29th Street thru Fremont, may be funded in the 2020 capital budget. As the project travels closer to Hennepin it becomes more complicated, city officials said, as the right-of-way near the grocery store between Emerson and Dupont is privately-owned.

The open house is Monday, June 29, 6-7:30 p.m. at Marché, 2904 Lyndale Ave. S.