A temporary installation of the much-debated North Minneapolis Greenway is back on track this spring following a postponement last fall.
The installation is scheduled for June 1-10 on five blocks of Irving Avenue N. that lie between Jordan and Folwell parks. The temporary installation will contrast three alternate designs for the greenway, installed with pavement marking and other temporary materials. It’s intended to be in place for up to a year.
The three designs are intended to calm traffic, designate space for foot and bike traffic, and create gathering spaces for residents. Street furniture such as benches and tables that are intended to encourage interaction among residents will be installed. Play areas also will be added, such as a wood chip pile.
The northernmost block will be closed to all motor vehicles except emergency and service vehicles. The three middle blocks will allow two-way traffic and parking on both sides of the street, but drivers will need to navigate through chicanes, which are offset bumpouts or throats designed to slow speeds. The southernmost block will be a hybrid design in which only northbound traffic and east side parking are allowed, but the west side of the street is reserved for foot and bike traffic only. In addition, 34th Avenue N. will be closed to east-west traffic.
The greenway test is part of a proposal for a much longer north-south greenway project that would bisect the North Side running between Shingle Creek Trail in the north and south of Plymouth Ave N on the south. That proposed greenway, first conceived in 2009, would primarily follow Irving or Humboldt avenues. It would connect three schools, four parks and Crystal Lake Cemetery.
The proposal has been debated in part by some residents who fear a loss of traffic access to their homes, and by others who questioned whether adequate feedback had been obtained from residents. The city has pledged that access to alleys will be maintained, and that it will continue snow plowing on remaining traffic lanes.
The city said last fall October it was postponing implementation that month of the temporary plan then because bids topped the $130,000 pilot budget. Council Member Blong Yang, who represents the southernmost block, said then he met with several dozen Hmong families who wanted their street to remain as is. The new design reduces the number of blocks closed to traffic from two to one.
The city said that alley lighting will be beefed up with two additional lights per alley, although the cost of lighting would need to be absorbed by residents if they remain after the test.
Area residents may participate in three events. On June 7, street furniture will be assembled at Folwell Park at 5 p.m. Base paint for street designs will be applied on June 11 at 10 a.m., to be followed by the painting of stenciled designs on June 25 from 1-5 p.m.
Feedback on the design can we submitted to the city via 311, e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org, completing a survey at: www.minneapolismn.gov/health/living/northminneapolisgreenway,filling out a comment card at kiosks along the route, or by answering door knockers who will canvass the route.
(Illustration above: One view of how the greenway might appear.)