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.