A two-block stretch of W. 29th Street just off Lyndale Avenue is poised to beat a downtown development for the claim to the first woonerf, or shared-use street, in Minneapolis.
The stretch of the now-decrepit street between Lyndale and Bryant avenues is planned for reconfiguration next summer, with completion by November, 2016.
Council Member Lisa Bender’s office worked with the Lake Street Council to collect suggestions Sunday, during the annual Open Streets Lyndale event, for features that people would like to see on a street that accommodates pedestrians, bikes and motor vehicles.
The more than 100 ideas collected ranged from the assertive (walk the centerline) to the energetic (yoga and gymnastics) to the passive (sit on the grass) to the fanciful (streak without repercussions/dance like no 1 is watching).
Whatever happens in the space will serve as a prototype for the portion of the street between Bryant and Fremont avenues in future years when funding is secured, according to Bender. For now, the street has a new wooden parklet constructed just off Lyndale that’s designed as a mini-oasis for area residents.
The preliminary design features a curbless street with a trench drain for rain and snow flanking the street, and rain gardens that support landscaping. The street would be throated with the landscaped areas to calm traffic.
The woonerf concept, adapted from Dutch streetscapes, also is slated to be incorporated along an old rail line that bisects a new housing development that broke ground this month along S. 2nd Street downtown. But that’s not likely to be complete for about 18 months. It will give pedestrians and bikers a new route to the riverfront, but cars will park there during normal business hours.
Some of those who offered their suggestions for 29th Street on a large chalkboard wanted a car-less street, not surprising given that Open Streets closes Lyndale to motorized traffic in favor of human-powered mobility.. But going car-less is unlikely, given that the parking garage for at least one large apartment building on 29th is accessed from the street. Bender said next steps will be to discuss the design further with property owners, and come up with a more detailed design by the fall.
The groundwork for the design was laid in a series of community workshops that Bender held in the area last year.
(Illustration above: One artist concept of how 29th Street night look with proposed improvements, Photo right: A biker pondered the suggestions for the street made during Open Streets Lyndale.)