Minneapolis has new plans to reopen the intersection of 38th and Chicago — the site of George Floyd’s fatal encounter with police — as it braces for the possibility that winter weather could further complicate travel in the area.
City staff are asking residents to provide feedback on two temporary solutions for the intersection, which has become a gathering place for people seeking to honor Floyd or protest racism in policing.
“Winter, in and of itself, isn’t the biggest and only challenge,” Robin Hutcheson, the city’s director of public works, told council members during a public meeting Wednesday. “Winter will exacerbate some of the access challenges that we currently feel.”
The question of what to do with the intersection has vexed city officials. Demonstrators are occupying the space and say they will not leave until the city meets their demands, including providing funding for anti-racism training, creating jobs for young people and temporarily freezing property taxes in the area. Other residents complained to the city that they feel they are being held “hostage” and worry emergency workers won’t be able to quickly respond to their 911 calls.
While the city debates what to do with the intersection on a permanent basis, Hutcheson said they hope to implement a temporary plan “that does not go back to normal” and allows people to safely gather in the area.
One option would leave a fist sculpture, placed there after Floyd’s death, in the intersection. Traffic would move east and west along 38th Street. Traffic on Chicago Avenue would be limited to one direction, with vehicles being required to turn right as they arrive at 38th Street.
The second option would move the fist sculpture to the northeast corner of the intersection and allow two-way traffic on both streets.
People who want to submit their feedback to the city can complete an online survey, which is open through Oct. 4. The city also plans to hold an online open house to discuss the intersection between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 1. Additional details on both can be found online at www2.minneapolismn.gov/minneapolisforward/38thandChicago.