City leaders should support original proposal for 3rd Avenue redesign

On April 15, City Council will decide how 3rd Avenue South will look, feel, and function from the Convention Center to the Mississippi River.

The Council will vote on a four lane street design that was never shared with the public or the City’s advisory committees (Bicycle (BAC) and Pedestrian (PAC) nor was it shared with the local neighborhood organizations. The BAC and the PAC were presented a vastly different design recommendation by Public Works staff on multiple occasions over the past six months, but this concept has not been shared with the Council as an option. The design presented to the BAC and PAC was recommended by public works staff and voted on 5 times (see minutes) collectively. The design presented to the BAC and PAC was well supported by committee members, with a few suggestions including making sure the city follows its own guidelines for minimum sidewalks for persons with disabilities on the sidewalk adjacent to City Hall.

The BAC and PAC reviewed a three lane concept that, on the southern end, preserved the beautiful greening that Council Member Goodman and the downtown community invested in not so long ago. The design would also enhance that area by creating a safer, more comfortable experience for all road users without compromising traffic flow. Staff emphasized that the three lane configuration would work well for motor vehicle traffic on southern end.

The lack of process and transparency in the recommendation of a hasty, less safe and comfortable design has been disheartening and confusing. City Council should discuss and approve the design that was recommended by public works staff to the BAC and PAC, as appointed resident and stakeholder advisors to the City.

The original design presented and recommended by public works staff and supported by the BAC, PAC, Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association, and Citizens for a Loring Park Community preserves planted medians and makes the street safer for all: people who walk, bike, and drive.

Nick Mason
Chair, Bicycle Advisory Committee

Greta Alquist
Chair, Pedestrian Advisory Committee