The border between Edina and Minneapolis may be safer, but it’s also uglier.
That’s what residents along Xerxes Avenue S. say about the “bump-outs” installed on the street last fall by Hennepin County. Roughly two dozen of the bump-outs were added to the eight-block stretch between Minnehaha Creek and Crosstown Hwy. 62, which serves as the border between the two cities.
Made of concrete and reflective plastic posts, the bump-outs appear to be doing their job: preventing cars from driving in the busy street’s curbside lane, which is supposed to be reserved for parking.
But they’re failing miserably at street beautification, many residents say.
“It looks trashy. It’s unprofessional. It just wasn’t done well,” said Edina resident Bob Miller. “When they put the bump-outs in, I don’t think any residents understood what was going in there and what they would look like. They look like they’re temporary and they were just slapped on the street.”
Gary McCartan has one of the bump-outs in front of his home on the 5800 block of Xerxes.
“I think they had all the right intentions, but from an aesthetic point of view, they could have made them look nicer,” McCartan said.
Xerxes is a county road, and several residents compared the bump-outs unfavorably to the extensive boulevard landscaping created during recent rebuilds of Penn Avenue S. and Lyndale Avenue S. On those streets, which also are county roads, bump-outs were smoothly integrated into the boulevards and landscaped with grass and other plantings.
Lyndale and Penn got more extensive and integrated landscaping because those streets were being completely rebuilt from the ground up, said Hennepin County Engineer Jim Grube. On Xerxes, the county was concerned with quickly eliminating a safety problem. But Grube agreed that the bump-outs could have been made more appealing.
“They’re physically effective,” he said. “At the same time, some folks would say they’re not physically attractive. I’m not disputing that.”
Grube has had several meetings with area residents and said the solution will probably be to build planters on top of the bump-outs using colored concrete blocks. He said the work could be finished later this year.
Maureen Fitzgerald has lived for nearly 20 years on the Edina side at the corner of W. 58th Street and Xerxes.
She said the bump-outs have done their job of pushing traffic to the middle of the street.
Now it’s easier for her to mow her lawn, which runs all the way to the curb with no sidewalk or boulevard to buffer the traffic.
“Before, I swear to God, I felt like the cars were brushing my elbows,” Fitzgerald said.
But she said the ugly bump-outs have made residents feel like afterthoughts in the grand scheme of things.
“This is the bastard child of no one,” she said of her border street. “It’s half Minneapolis and half Edina. Nobody claims it.”