Residents of the Waite Park neighborhood in northeast Minneapolis and those along 42nd Avenue on the North Side will be the first to see street improvements accelerated by the city’s new 20-year boost in funding.
Next year’s street paving budget will jump by 55 percent to nearly $44 million under the City Council’s decision last spring to invest more in paving and neighborhood parks.
That equates to $15.5 million more in 2017, but it won’t all be spent within the year because the city did not have time to talk to people who live along streets slated for future projects in residential areas. The leftover money will carry over to future years when more projects are accelerated.
Webber-Camden Neighborhood Organization President Linda Koelman said 42nd is showing more business and pedestrian activity.
“It’s a bit bumpy,” she said. “Like so many streets up here, this has not been cared for as it should.”
City public works officials know that. They gave 42nd a poor pavement condition rating. Their projections that the pavement on residential and busier streets across the city would deteriorate sharply over the next 20 years prompted the council’s infusion of money.
Property tax-supported bonds will provide the largest dose of street funding over the next five years, supplemented by other city money.
One reason the city could accelerate the reconstruction of 42nd was that officials already met with property owners along the avenue to discuss the project and the council had approved the layout. Webber-Camden area residents are hoping the street will have pedestrian amenities, including ornamental lighting, leading to places such as the Patrick Henry High School athletic field, a walking path around a stormwater holding pond, and the Camden business district, with Webber Park, its pool and a library nearby.
“I know a lot of people already that are very happy,” Koelman said of the pending project.
More residential resurfacing has been proposed for 2018 to 2022, along with more reconstruction of commercial streets. Some of the commercial-area projects advanced involve portions of 28th, Grand, Hennepin and Bryant avenues S., 18th Avenue NE., Plymouth Avenue N., W. Franklin Avenue, and several downtown and North Loop streets.
The residential repaving, which will include spot reconstruction where conditions warrant, is slated for the Cleveland, Jordan, Hawthorne and Willard-Hay neighborhoods on the North Side, Como on the East Side, and the Minnehaha, Corcoran, east Powderhorn, south Bancroft and north Northrop neighborhoods on the South Side. The southwestern corner of the Whittier neighborhood is the only added section in the city’s southwestern quadrant. Generally, milling a roadway and repaving adds about 15 years to pavement life.
The priorities reflect new social-equity criteria that supplement street condition — still the most important criterion — in ranking projects. The city adds points to projects based on a variety of factors, including high poverty, a high proportion of minority residents and low motor vehicle ownership in surrounding areas. No previously scheduled projects were dropped.