Public open house on Hennepin-Lyndale reconstruction project set for Aug. 4

People will have a chance to weigh in on preliminary designs for the Hennepin-Lyndale reconstruction project Monday, Aug. 4, 6:30–8 p.m., at the Walker Art Center’s Skyline Room, 1750 Hennepin Ave. S. 

The designs ideas were drafted based on feedback from earlier community meetings. After the Aug. 4 meeting, the new layout for the corridor will be finalized.

Construction is expected to start in 2015 on the $9.1 million project. It will reconstruct sections of Hennepin and Lyndale between Dunwoody Boulevard and Franklin Avenue. 

The corridor is one of the busiest in the city and one of the most challenging areas for bikers and walkers. On a typical day, 50,000 cars, 9,000 transit users and more than 2,000 bikers and walkers travel on it, according to project organizers.

Jessica Laabs, a planner with Kimley-Horn & Associates Inc. who is managing stakeholder outreach for the project, said project organizers have received a lot of feedback about ways to improve the streetscape and the new design options are designed to improve the area for all travel modes. 

“The resulting layout modifications include the narrowing of traffic lanes, reconfiguring intersections, and removing traffic lanes in some locations, she said. “These modifications will allow for an enhanced pedestrian and bicycle environment, while also providing opportunities for landscape enhancements and improving lane efficiency, continuity, and safety throughout the corridor.”

In addition to reconstructing portions of Hennepin and Lyndale, there are plans for improved crossings for bikers and pedestrians at Dunwoody Boulevard; Vinewood Place/Oak Grove Street; Groveland Terrace/Groveland Avenue; and Franklin Avenue. 

A group of community leaders also recently released a vision statement for the Hennepin/Lyndale Reconstruction Project.

It calls for making the roadways a “must-see green corridor” with better connections between the Walker Art Center, Loring Park and other parts of downtown. 

It has also proposed a number of ideas to improve the corridor:

— Reducing pedestrian crossing distances by reducing the number of lanes and lane widths;
— Changing the scale of the street from a “freeway zone to a neighborhood zone”;
— Creating a Grand Terrace at Vineland Place/Oak Grove that includes better landscaping and public art; and
— Creating a stronger green connection from the Walker to the Mississippi River as called for in James Corner Field Operation’s proposal for the Nicollet Mall redesign.