City to reconstruct West Franklin

Minneapolis public works officials are in the early stages of planning the reconstruction of a three-block stretch of Franklin Avenue West.

The project would rebuild the city-owned portion of Franklin Avenue between Hennepin and Lyndale at the tip of the Wedge. Construction is planned for a six-month period in 2022, according to Katie White with Minneapolis public works. Hennepin County controls Franklin Avenue east of Lyndale and is also in the process of designing a reconstruction of the street, though a project year is not set.

Franklin Avenue is on its last legs, with 60-year-old infrastructure and sidewalks “in pretty rough conditions,” White told a Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association committee May 13. The project will aim to add a bicycle infrastructure and boulevard space for tree growth and snow storage, she said. Franklin Avenue is included in city and county plans for future bicycle networks.

Each day, 5,000-7,000 vehicles pass through this stretch of Franklin Avenue, White said, with most drivers exiting to Hennepin or Lyndale. There is also heavy bike traffic from riders crossing the street on the Bryant Avenue bike boulevard heading to and from Downtown.

Franklin Avenue was identified in the city’s Vision Zero crash studies as a “high-injury network” where a disproportionate amount of serious crashes take place.

“There’s too many fatalities and serious injuries here,” White said.

Public works is attempting to establish a concept design in 2020 with a more detailed design coming in 2021. The project is sched- uled for 2022 and construction is expected to last about six months.

The city will host a virtual open house for the project on June 4 and an online survey is open to residents through June 12.