No neighborhood ‘freeway’

I read with interest Steve Brandt’s column “What do we lose by reopening Nicollet?” (April 30 issue, page A23)

So many of us have been waiting for this day, and at the same time I agree that we — the city, the neighborhood, planners and citizens — should all take a step back and consider what would be the next step and what is the right direction.

I’ve traveled that area by bicycle, via the Greenway, coming to street level “behind” Kmart, circling around on my way to the post office on 31st Street. It’s a desolate and chaotic ride — trash blowing around and autos and loud, huge buses rushing down 1st Avenue toward downtown — so I share Brandt’s concern about increased motorized traffic. 

One option would be to create a boulevard as along Lyndale, trees in the center, one lane of traffic, with left-turn lanes at each intersection, and maybe limited parking for local businesses. Avoid making Nicollet a neighborhood “freeway” unsafe for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Another would be to incorporate a local park and add housing, limiting height to 5-6 stories. Extend the atmosphere that exists on Eat Street and keep the neighborhood feel. I know our city is pushing density, but is a high-rise with hundreds of people really conducive to a community/neighborhood atmosphere? No! Smaller (affordable!) housing units with balconies, interior courtyards for residents and a neighborhood park would be awesome.

Please keep this conversation going. It warrants further consideration and is important to avoiding another catastrophic mistake that we’ve lived with for too long.

Janet Dray

Lowry Hill East