Farewell Uptown

On Nov. 21, I watched the reopening of Hennepin Avenue from Lake Street to West 36th Street, which includes the retail heart of Uptown and Calhoun Square. City Council Chair Lisa Bender (Ward 10) thanked Minneapolis Public Works and city planners for their work. Public Works Director Robin Hutcheson was in attendance and thanked Bender for her vision.

What I witnessed was the beginning of the end for Uptown.

We now have a street designed to funnel bus and vehicle traffic through a narrow corridor with bike lanes, expanded walkways and greenspace. There is no parking. There are no taxi stands or drop-off zones to allow handicapped individuals to access businesses. There are no cutouts for Metro Mobility to temporarily stop and pick up a disabled or elderly person. There are no ride-share, Uber or Lyft stops. There is nothing that accommodates how a majority of people access and use Uptown through our long winters, which is cars.

We have so many successful mixed-use commercial districts that exemplify how vehicles, bikes and pedestrians can coexist: 50th & France in Edina, Grand & Victoria in St. Paul, University & Central in Northeast, Linden Hills. With the new street design Uptown will no longer be successful.

The decisions by top leadership of our city to focus on bike lanes at the sacrifice of all else is tearing at our city fabric. This is Minneapolis, not Portland. This is Minneapolis, not Amsterdam. This is Minneapolis, not Beijing.

To everyone who is tired of seeing empty protected bike lanes and empty storefronts in Minneapolis, please voice your opinion on the Transportation Action Plan and Minneapolis 2040 Plan, which continue this “vision”.

Farewell Uptown, we knew you well.


Eric Wulfsberg
East Calhoun

  • amiller92

    ” 50th & France in Edina, Grand & Victoria in St. Paul, University & Central”

    All of these accommodate cars really well and anyone not in a car basically not at all.

    The new stretch of Hennepin looks great. It will do a really nice job of connecting the shopping destinations on either side of the street to each other and provide for a pleasant place to spend time. That’s how retail thrives.

    There’s a great big parking ramp just on the other side of Calhoun Square. Everything is going to be fine for people arriving in cars.

  • Ryan

    “There is nothing that accommodates how a majority of people access and use Uptown through our long winters, which is cars.”

    As someone who walks, and observes many many many people walking in Uptown always, I’d say it’s on shaky ground to claim that a crucial part of Uptown culture is driving. Residents who walk also contribute to the neighborhood. Walking up and down Hennepin or Lake is a time-honored tradition, that will now become easier to do with less risk of vehicular assault. Less people driving who don’t really need to drive will make it easier for people who absolutely need to rely on a car to get around.

    Would you prefer we go back to 70s Uptown, with toxic levels of car-induced smog? Do you prefer a system that has negative outcomes for vulnerable road users? Wider sidewalks benefit many people, and we can add wider sidewalks and encourage even more people to use them while barely affecting people who have the fastest vehicles on the road.

    People with cars in this town need to learn patience. You can all get around to nearly anywhere within 20 minutes. The rest of us can’t. This road design is about signaling a shift in priorities to benefit everyone else; you will barely notice.

  • John

    World’s tiniest violin. You might like the burbs, my guy.

    Also, 50th and France is terrible for bikers. It’s a retail area that caters to cars.

  • http://twitter.com/mikesonn mikesonn

    Yeah, this is a HORRIBLE take. Has Eric been to Victoria & Grand? I mean, there a LPI now but it’s still a death wish trying to cross that intersection as a pedestrian.

  • Adam Wysopal

    Could someone help me understand something. I’ve lived here for about 10 years now, and every year I’ve read comments or rants about how Uptown is dead (or dying). Has this grievance been going on forever, or is this a fairly new phenomenon?

  • lawremipsum

    Get a grip.

  • j garcia

    Uptown has died roughly every other month since at least 1998.

  • Jo Danger

    “There is nothing that accommodates how a majority of people access and use Uptown through our long winters, which is cars.” Is that an actual fact though and from where? If you’ve ridden the bus recently you would see that there are many elderly passenger and many people with a wide range of accessibility needs.

  • Alex Schieferdecker

    Was only six years ago that a 19 year old from France who was going to attend Macalester was hit and killed on Grand and Hamline. Not too far away, same road design. Grand Avenue is a dangerous street, in part because its retail activity fools people into thinking it’s safe for pedestrians.

  • Nick

    “There is nothing that accommodates how a majority of people access and use Uptown through our long winters, which is cars.”

    what about the not one, but two giant parking ramps that are right there?

    also, remember when you used to be able sit on the rooftop of Cafeteria (RIP) and see downtown because there wasn’t a second large parking ramp that blocked the view?

  • informed

    i used to park quick and stop in kitchen window to pick my nespresso pods and ended up stopping in a couple more stores but from now on i’ll just order the pods off the website.

  • Steve

    Your wrong, I was talking to an old timer in the wedge, he told me it absolutely died after that fire on Emerson back in 74, those dumb kids, they’re gone now but he’s still here.

  • Steve

    Excuse me, it’s a human right for me to park my EXPEDITION XL CREW CAB XXXL WITH ATTACHED TANK in any parking space. These compact spots are literally a human rights issue! Where is the UN now, huh?

  • Steve

    And we have 500+ apartments opening in the next year or so, those people will obviously not walk the block to Uptown and order a lyft to Edina so they can park their… cars?

  • Steve

    Nice, I always love saving money on Amazon.

  • Steve

    I’m sorry, this is horse shit. Literally 100s of spaces in ramps, 100s more on the streets, sons of Norway project going to add 100s more. How many 1000s of spaces to park your car do we need in Uptown?

  • Gator

    What’s the average spend of a bike-based retail customer vs a car-based retail customer? Yeah, I thought so.

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