The Woonerf concept for 29th Street is a step in the right direction per development along the trench but it doesn’t go nearly far enough.
We need to do something to beautify the topside along the entire length of the old railroad trench, not just a short stretch where we have a street that’s more like an alley.
I’ve had a picture in my mind for years on what could be done to turn this into a “Greenway.” To start, I would zone the property along the trench to require a 30-40 foot setback for any future development. This would provide some green space between the trench and the apartments that will surely come.
Next would come a sidewalk, preferably on each side. This would be set back far enough from the trench to allow for a low row of shrubs and a nice fence, perhaps a taller version of what the city did all along Lake Street. The last step would be to clean out the trench and come up with some sort of plan to manicure the slopes on each side. If we had the will to do something of this nature, then we’d truly have a Greenway and not just a trench through Midtown.
The sad part is that the rush to build along the Greenway has all but eliminated the chance for this vision between Hennepin and Lyndale. I can only hope that the city comes to it’s senses for the remaining stretch east of Lyndale before it’s too late.