Lileks: Here's your input, Minneapolis

  • Article by: JAMES LILEKS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 22, 2014 - 5:15 PM

And now, the most boring sentence in the paper today: The city of Minneapolis is taking input for the reconstruction of the Hennepin-Lyndale intersection. Hold on, I can improve that. Enormous, squid-like aliens are probably not expected to attend a hearing in Minneapolis on Hennepin-Lyndale intersection reconstruction, say visibly nervous City Hall sources. Better?

It’s actually an important story, because the area is familiar to all: It’s where the old Guthrie, the Walker, the Sculpture Garden, several churches, about 10 streets and oh, some FREEWAYS collide. If you have one of those GPS systems that gives verbal instructions, it just says “you are on your own” and starts to weep, softly.

There’s also a pedestrian crossing for those who have grown weary of life and want to reach the Pearly Gates with the sound of screeching brakes still echoing in their ears.

If you’re coming out of Loring Park and wish to go south, you are advised to pack a lunch and empty your bladder beforehand, because the lights aren’t exactly generous. A car in an impound lot travels more distance in a day.

And that’s the improved version. In the old days the area was known as “The Scissors,” perhaps because of the ways the roads came together, perhaps because that’s what you wanted to stab yourself with when you got there. In the middle was a hotel called The Plaza, and I can’t imagine how anyone ever checked out. A maximum-security prison would have done better at the location.

So what will they do to fix it? I can’t possibly imagine. It’ll be like untangling cold spaghetti in the dark with oven mitts on your hands. Worse: while someone is eating it, because traffic will still flow.

They’re asking for public input on the project, which seems like a brain surgeon asking strangers to meet at a booth at Perkins for their ideas on the best way to remove a clot. You’re the experts! Just make sure it has room for streetcars, light rail, bike paths, additional lanes, widens the Lowry Hill tunnel and is finished in a month.

Then we can forget all about the incredible job, and get on to complaining about another intersection.

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