Nicollet Avenue: The Revitalization of Minneapolis' Main Street
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NICOLLETAVENUE:The Revitalizationof MinneapolisMain StreetMay 2000Nicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 20002Cover Photos:Recent images of Nicollet Avenueoverlaid on a 1972 photo of thenorthwest quadrant of the NicolletAvenue/Lake Street intersection(current site of Kmart and NewMarket Grocery Store)Nicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 20003TABLE OF CONTENTSTABLE OF CONTENTS 3List of figures 4Participants 5EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 7INTRODUCTION 10Nicollet Avenue 10Charge to the Nicollet Avenue Task Force 10A Vision for the Avenue 11Strategies 13CORRIDOR-WIDE RECOMMENDATIONS 15Strategy #1 15Invest in well-definedcommercial nodes and corridors to encouragecompatibility of adjacent usesStrategy #2 18Redevelop underutilized commercialareas to encourage compatibility of adjacent usesStrategy #3 23Encourage quality urban designand pedestrian-friendly environmentsStrategy #4 29 Manage traffic flow and reduce traffic speedSECTION -SPECIFIC RECOMMENDATIONS 33Grant to 29th Street 3329th to 33rd Street 3933rd to 40th Street 4340th to 47th Street 4747th to 56th Street 5056th to 62nd Street 54Conclusion 58References 59Nicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 20004LIST OF FIGURESNICOLLET AVENUE SECTION KEY 14GRANT ST. - 29TH ST. MAP 3829TH ST. - 33RD ST. MAP 4233RD ST. - 40TH ST. MAP 4640TH ST. - 47TH ST. MAP 4947TH ST. - 56TH ST.MAP 5356TH ST. - 62ND ST. MAP 57Nicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 20005PARTICIPANTSNicollet Avenue Task Force:Tom Berthiaume, Whittier AllianceJudy Bigelow, Kingfield Neighborhood AssociationRay Croaston, At-largeNina Ebbighausen, At-largeChuck Holdsworth, At-largeJohn Hotvet, At-largeKaren Ives, Stevens Square Community OrganizationNicholas Koch, At-largeCara Letofsky, Midtown Greenway CoalitionDavid Parker, Windom Community CouncilPerry Smaglik, Tangletown Neighborhood AssociationDaniel Spencer, At-largeOsla Thomason-Kuster, Lyndale Neighborhood AssociationResidents and business owners in the following neighborhoods:Stevens SquareWhitterLyndaleKingfieldTangletownWindomMinneapolis City Council members and assistants:Jim Niland, 6th Ward Council MemberRon Mittan, Assistant to Council Member NilandLisa Goodman, 7th Ward Council MemberDouglas Gardner, Assistant to Council Member GoodmanBrian Herron, 8th Ward Council MemberLaura Ayers, Assistant to Council Member HerronVicki Brock, Assistant to Council Member HerronLisa McDonald, 10th Ward Council MemberAllan Bernard, Assistant to Council Member McDonaldDor Mead, 11th Ward Council MemberScott Dibble, Assistant to Council Member MeadCity of Minneapolis Staff:Bob Chong, Minneapolis CommunityDevelopment AgencyLois Eberhart, Minneapolis Planning DepartmentAni Mehra, Minneapolis Public Works DepartmentDaryl Stokesbary, Minneapolis Planning DepartmentAmy Tibbs, Minneapolis Planning DepartmentSue Zarling, Minneapolis Public Works DepartmentNicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 20006Nicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 20007EXECUTIVE SUMMARYIntroductionNicollet Avenue is many different things to many differ-ent people. In downtown Minneapolis, Nicollet Mall is hometo the corporate headquarters of many major companies in theupper Midwest. Nicollet Mall is a place to meet to do businessduring the work day and a place to gather socially after hours.Nicollet Avenue is a transportation corridor and vital bus routethat links the downtown with southwest Minneapolis. NicolletAvenue is a place where people live and it serves as a focalpoint for the neighborhoods that it traverses. It supports localtrips by bus, car, foot, or bike. Businesses along the avenueprovide for the daily needs of southwest Minneapolis residents.In short, by offering something for everyone, Nicollet Avenueserves as Minneapolis main street by connecting business,entertainment, shopping, housing, and services.Challenges and OpportunitiesMany exciting things are happening along NicolletAvenue. Eat Street, the stretch of Nicollet from Grant Street to29th Street, which is dotted with ethnic restaurants, shops andgrocery stores, is reviving interest in the avenue. New andinteresting Latino-serving businesses are emerging at 38thStreet. There are a number of unique, small businesses at the43rd Street intersection. While there are successes, there arealso challenges. The closure of Nicollet at Lake Street with thedevelopment of Kmart in the late 1970s sharply reduced theamount of traffic on Nicollet and reduced commercial capacityon the avenue. Deteriorated houses and businesses alongNicollet in the section from Lake to 37th Street contribute to aperception of decreased safety and declining neighborhoodstability. At 60th Street a lack of identity and cohesion and ableak pedestrian environment create a poor gateway to Minne-apolis from the City of Richfield. In general, there is a lack ofidentity along the avenue.Establishment of the Nicollet Avenue Task ForceIn order to address the challenges but also take advantageof the opportunities along Nicollet, the Minneapolis CityCouncil established the Nicollet Avenue Task Force in thesummer of 1998. The Task Force was charged with developingrecommendations regarding redevelopment opportunities, areasExecutive SummaryBus routes along Nicollet Avenueconnect Minneapolis to themetropolitan areaPeople relax along Nicollet Mallon a sunny afternoonEat Street supports a varietyof ethnic restaurants, shops, andgrocery storesNicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 20008for improved streetscapes, and, to a lesser extent, transportationand roadway improvements. The study area for the projectencompasses both sides of Nicollet Avenue from Grant Streeton the north end to the city limits at 62nd Street on the southend.The Work of the Task ForceOver the course of the last year, the Nicollet Avenue TaskForce walked and studied the avenue and has developed thisreport which proposes a series of recommendations. Despitethe diversity along the avenue, there are some themes commonto the avenue as a whole. For this reason, the report is brokeninto two sections: corridor-wide recommendations and section-specific recommendations. Both the corridor-wide recommen-dations and the section-specific recommendations are based onthe same four strategies. The corridor-wide recommendationsserve as the basis for the section-specific recommendations.The four strategies are:Strategy #1: Invest in well-defined commercial nodesand corridorsStrategy #2: Redevelop under-utilized commercial areasStrategy #3: Encourage quality urban design andpedestrian-friendly environmentsStrategy #4: Manage traffic flow and reducetraffic speedBasic RecommendationsStrategies #1 and #2 (investment and redevelopment) arevery much interrelated. These strategies are about consolidat-ing and enhancing compatible activities in appropriate loca-tions to create both commercial vitality and residential quality.Investment or redevelopment of several critical areas men-tioned below will greatly influence the future of NicolletAvenue. Areas with the potential to serve as catalysts forcreating an identity for the avenue include Eat Street, 38thStreet, and 43rd Street. Investment in current land use patternsand activities should take place at these locations. Areas thatneed to change in order to support efforts to enhance the av-enue include the Kmart site at Nicollet and Lake, the stretch ofthe avenue between Lake and 37th Street, and the 60th Streetintersection. One major redevelopment recommendationidentifies the critical need to simplify the housing developmentand approval process in order to provide an adequate housingsupply.Executive SummaryThe current orientation of Kmartis a barrier to the revitalizationof Nicollet AvenueNicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 20009Strategy #3 (urban design and pedestrian-friendly envi-ronments) deals with the importance of creating safe andvibrant places on the avenue by incorporating Crime Preven-tion Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles intobuilding, site, and streetscape design. Several major recom-mendations coming out of this strategy include targeting invest-ments to well-defined commercial nodes and accompanyingrequirements for improved design with assistance such as astreamlined development review process or financial incen-tives. Another idea that has been discussed is the developmentof design guidelines that would help preserve building ele-ments that have architectural or historical integrity but may notwarrant historic preservation.Strategy #4 (managing traffic flow and reducing trafficspeed) is about preserving the civility and vitality of this grandurban corridor. Toward this end, the Task Force recommendsnarrowing the street where feasible and improving trafficefficiency. Narrowing the street will serve to slow traffic andcreate more green space, but still allow a high volume of trafficto utilize Nicollet Avenue. The Task Force does not support theevolution of Nicollet Avenue as a three to four-lane thorough-fare. Instead, they promote carefully selected improvements toI35W so that through traffic does not use the city street system.Future DirectionsIt is often said that planning is more a process than aproduct. This document is testimony to this statement. Itprovides a vision for the future direction of Nicollet Avenuethat is intended to be flexible, not a precise developmentblueprint. Confronting the challenges and taking advantage ofthe opportunities will be complicated and will require furtherwork and dedication on the part of the City, neighborhoods, andbusinesses along Nicollet Avenue. With the continued commit-ment of these parties, this plan can represent the commence-ment of that activity.Executive SummaryNicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 200010INTRODUCTIONThe Nicollet Avenue Task Force was established byMinneapolis City Council resolution 98R-161 during thesummer of 1998. This resolution followed on the heels ofrevitalization efforts along Nicollet north of Lake, in the areathat has been successfully dubbed Eat Street. Streetscapeand roadway improvements have fostered a renaissance alongthis section of Nicollet and have provided a glimpse of thetremendous potential for Nicollet Avenue as a whole.The Council resolution recognizes that Nicollet Avenueis at a turning point. With clear City policy and public andprivate support, the avenue can recognize its potential as agrand urban corridor, connecting and integrating neighbor-hoods and business districts in south Minneapolis. Withoutconsistent policy or support, the threat of decline of this once-vibrant avenue will persist.Nicollet AvenueNicollet Avenue has always been one of the Citys majortransportation corridors along with Lake, Lyndale, Hennepin,Central, and Broadway. It links southwest Minneapolis withdowntown, but it also serves as a focal point for the neighbor-hoods that it traverses. As a result, Nicollet Avenue has both alarge and continuous identity, but also a focused and distinctidentity that is reflective of the neighborhoods surrounding it.A number of challenges face Nicollet Avenue today. Firstand foremost is the closure of Nicollet at Lake Street. Withouta through route, people and dollars which would be spent alongNicollet are instead diverted to other parts of the City. Otherchallenges include conflicting adjacent land uses, underutilizedand often deteriorated commercial and residential structures, anirregular and often threatening pedestrian environment, highspeed traffic (particularly south of Lake Street) and a lack ofidentity (both for the corridor as a whole and for distinct loca-tions along the corridor).Charge to the Nicollet Avenue Task ForceThe Nicollet Avenue Task Force was established toaddress these challenges by developing recommendationsregarding redevelopment opportunities, areas for improvedstreetscapes, and, to a lesser extent, transportation and roadwayimprovements. The Task Force is comprised of people wholive along the avenue, work or own a business along the av-enue, neighborhood representatives, and experts such as archi-tects and landscape architects. Representatives from variouscity departments, such as Planning, Public Works, and theIntroductionNicollet Avenue links southwestMinneapolis with the downtown, bothfunctionally and visuallyNicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 200011Minneapolis Community Development Agency, also participatein Task Force meetings and discussions.The basic concepts in this report have been presented toeach neighborhood along the corridor. In addition, a focusgroup meeting of business owners along Nicollet Avenue washeld to hear and respond to concerns of the business commu-nity regarding investment and redevelopment opportunitiesalong Nicollet Avenue. Throughout the process of developingthis report, the Task Force has endeavored to build upon theavenues assets and draw upon the range of expertise andknowledge of members and other interested individuals todevelop recommendations that recognize both the diversity andcontinuity of the avenue.A Vision for the AvenueThe study area for this report encompasses both sides ofNicollet Avenue from Grant Street on the north end to the citylimits at 62nd Street on the south end (see map on page 14).This is a length of about 50 blocks, or six miles. Six neighbor-hoods lie along Nicollet Avenue in the study area. Each neigh-borhood has its own unique character and is facing its ownunique challenges depending, in part, on differing conditionsrelated to population, income, land use, employment opportuni-ties, housing stock, traffic patterns, and geographical featuresto name just a few variables.Despite the tremendous diversity along the avenue, somegeneralizations can be made. In terms of land use, NicolletAvenue can be differentiated at a very basic level north andsouth of Lake Street. North of Lake Street, Nicollet Avenue isvery commercial. South of Lake Street, the land use pattern ismore a mix of commercial and residential uses. This divisionis reflected in City policy for the area. The Citys comprehen-sive plan (The Minneapolis Plan) designates Nicollet north ofLake as a commercial corridor.Commercial corridors are streets that: Are available for development including more inten-sive commercial and high traffic activities; support all types of commercial uses, with some lightindustry and high-density residential uses as well; balance pedestrian and automobile orientation in theirdesign and development; and carry large traffic volumes and must balance significantvehicular through-traffic capacity with automobile andpedestrian access to commercial property(The Minneapolis Plan, page 1.4.31)IntroductionNicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 200012The Minneapolis Plan designates Nicollet south of Lakeas a community corridor.Community corridors are streets that: Support medium-density residential uses and increasedhousing diversity; Support limited commercial uses which are measuredagainst their impacts on residential character; Are oriented toward the pedestrian experience in termsof design and development Carry fairly high volumes of traffic, but must balancevehicular travel against residential quality of life.(The Minneapolis Plan, page 1.4.30)The Task Force has developed a vision for the avenuewhich recognizes its diversity and unique characteristics:In the year 2025, Nicollet Avenue will be a continuouscorridor with a recognizable identity along whichresidents, workers, and visitors will celebrate its manydistinctly different and unique parts.Nicollet Avenue will represent the best of urban living fora diverse group of people by providing housing options,employment, a mix of goods and services, multiple andefficient transportation options, and opportunities forentertainment and recreation.Primarily south of Lake Street, Nicollet Avenue willprovide a safe, stable, and attractive residential environ-ment where the daily needs of residents and workers insurrounding neighborhoods are served through clearlydefined commercial areas. Primarily north of Lake Street,Nicollet Avenue will serve a more regional population bycapitalizing on a vibrant commercial area.Nicollet Avenue will embrace its multiple roles, becominga destination and a conduit, an economic focal point, anda neighborhood in which to live, work, and play.The four main strategies listed below are based upon thisvision. These strategies strive to promote commercial vitalityand preserve residential quality, thereby supporting both thecommercial corridor and community corridor characteristics ofNicollet Avenue.IntroductionCommercial corridors are streetswith intense commercial activityCommunity corridors are streetswith a mix of commercial andresidential usesNicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 200013StrategiesStrategy #1: Invest in well-defined commercial nodesand corridors to encourage increasedcompatibility of adjacent usesStrategy #2: Redevelop under-utilized commercial areasto encourage increased compatibility ofadjacent usesStrategy #3: Encourage quality urban design andpedestrian-friendly environmentsStrategy #4: Manage traffic flow and reducetraffic speedThe following corridor-wide recommendations apply to aseries of systems (such as transportation, markets, and urbandesign), which define the underlying essence of Nicollet Av-enue. In this way, the corridor-wide recommendations createthe framework which serves as the basis for the section-specificrecommendations in later chapters.IntroductionNicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 200014Nicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 200015CORRIDOR-WIDE RECOMMENDATIONSStrategy #1: Invest in well-defined commercialnodes and corridors toencourage compatibilityof adjacent usesBackgroundAn Excess of Commercial LandIn the late 1880s the streetcar and trolley system wasflourishing in Minneapolis. Nicollet Avenue was one of sev-eral major streetcar lines. Other major lines includedHennepin, Lake, Broadway, and Central. Small clusters ofstores offering a variety of goods and services prospered atstreetcar stops which existed every few blocks. These commer-cial nodes were highly reliant upon the pedestrian trafficgenerated by the streetcar stops (The Minneapolis Plan, page1.4.30).With the advent of the automobile, people were no longerconfined to shopping in areas that were within easy walkingdistance from their home, work, or a streetcar stop. Shoppingmalls and supermarkets built to accommodate cars and theirdrivers easily attracted this more mobile population. Commer-cial activity became concentrated at fewer, but larger, nodes.Many vestiges of the small streetcar-oriented commercialnodes remain, but they struggle to survive because there is notthe population base to sustain both the small nodes and thelarger shopping areas. As a result, there is an excess of com-mercial land in the city. Minneapolis has approximately twiceas many commercial nodes as its population can support (CityBusiness, July 1996). This holds true along Nicollet Avenue aswell.The Need for Consolidation and InvestmentStrategy #1 (invest in well-defined commercial nodes andcorridors) recognizes that not all of the currently existingcommercial nodes can thrive. Instead, this strategy suggeststhat commercial activity should be concentrated at several well-defined commercial nodes. These areas of concentrated com-mercial activity should not be confused with typical shoppingmalls. As will be explored further under Strategy #3 (encour-age quality urban design and pedestrian-friendly environ-ments), in creating these destinations it is vitally important tocapitalize upon the unique characteristics of the location and toenhance the pedestrian experience.The Nicollet/Lake ChallengeA major barrier to the commercial vitalityof Nicollet Avenue is the discontinuity ofthe avenue at Lake Street with the Kmartstore.When Kmart was built on Nicollet Avenueat Lake Street in the late 1970s, it waspart of an economic developmentstrategy for the intersection and thesurrounding area. The Kmart store hasbeen successful and provides a neededdiscount retail service to the surroundingpopulation. Ironically, however, thiseconomic development strategy turnedits back on Nicollet Avenue, effectivelyplacing a tourniquet on the flow ofconsumer traffic to the Nicollet-Lakeintersection and along Nicollet generally.The design of the Kmart/New Market sitehugely contributes to the bleak environ-ment at the Nicollet/Lake intersection.Despite the high level of pedestrian trafficand transit service that exists here, thepedestrian environment is largelyignored. The scale and form of thebuilding and the expansive parking lotpoorly define the street edge, and, inessence, erode the north and southeastcorners of the intersection.While committed business owners havehelped bring about a renaissance on theavenue north of Lake Street, thediscontinuity of Nicollet at Lake is still amajor obstacle to commercial vitality.Reorienting Kmart and reopening NicolletAvenue would be a tremendous boon tothe area. It would not only revitalizeNicollet Avenue, but would also contrib-ute to the success of redevelopmentefforts along Lake Street and along the29th Street Greenway. For thesereasons, Task Force members believethat reopening Nicollet at Lake is thesingle most important element inrevitalizing Nicollet Avenue.Nicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 200016Strategy #1 further states that investment should betargeted to well-defined commercial nodes. Investmentrefers primarily to the dedication of public dollars (includingneighborhood funds) to assist in creating a place with anidentity and concentrating commercial uses. Investment mayinclude funds for business attraction, business development andimprovement, and public realm improvements such as roadwayreconstruction and streetscape improvements.With public investment assisting in the creation of anidentity and a concentration of commercial uses, the expecta-tion is that private investment will follow. People are morelikely to stop and shop in an area that 1) is easily identifiable;and 2) provides a variety of goods and services which facili-tates one-stop shopping. In this way, concentrating commer-cial activity can draw in customers from outside the local area,thereby increasing the vitality of the commercial node. Asbusinesses become more successful, they can maintain theirproperty and provide customer amenities more cost-effectively,thereby attracting more customers and initiating a virtuouscycle.The Task Force has identified a number of commercialnodes as investment areas. These are listed below and aredescribed in greater detail and identified on maps in the Spe-cific Recommendations section of this report. These areaswere selected because they have an existing level of commer-cial activity and an established or latent identity that cansupport and be enhanced by increased density, activity, andpublic realm improvements.The 26th Street intersectionand the 38th Street intersection aretwo of several locations identified asinvestment areasCorridor Wide RecommendationsInvestmentNicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 2000171 RecommendationsInvestment Areas1.1 Support and invest in commercial development in thefollowing areas (the locations in parentheses are providedfor orientation purposes only):1.1.1 Grant Street to Lake Street - with particular focus onFranklin Avenue (Acadia Caf), 26th Street (Black ForestInn), and Lake Street (Kmart, see sidebar)1.1.2 35th to 36th Streets (Super America, Saffron Caf)1.1.3 38th Street (Ace Hardware, Marissas Bakery)1.1.4 42nd to 43rd Street (Currans Restaurant, Anodyne Caf,Road Runner Records)1.1.5 46th Street (Brueggers Bagels, Snyders Drug Store)1.1.6 48th Street (Tom Thumb)1.1.7 Diamond Lake Road (Steep-N-Brew, Holiday Station)1.1.8 60th Street (Cub Foods, Richfield Lutheran Church)Corridor Wide RecommendationsInvestmentNicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 200018 Corridor Wide RecommendationsRedevelopmentStrategy #2: Redevelop underutilizedcommercial areas to encouragecompatibility of adjacent usesBackgroundWhile Strategy #1 is concerned with supporting commer-cial land use patterns at well-defined commercial nodes, Strat-egy #2 deals with the issue of changing land use patterns inunderutilized commercial areas. In these areas, the primarygoal is to increase compatibility with adjacent land uses andthere are basically two options to do so: the business in question could relocate to a well-defined commercial node and the site could beredeveloped as another use; or the business in question could undertake buildingdesign, site design, and management improvementsthat enhance the pedestrian environment and makethem a better neighbor.The Challenge of Auto-Oriented FacilitiesMany of the sites that have been identified by the TaskForce as redevelopment areas are auto-oriented facilities.These are facilities such as gas stations, automobile repairgarages, and car washes which generate a lot of automobiletraffic. These uses can be particularly problematic along anavenue that is attempting to bill itself as a grand urban corridorbecause they detract from the pedestrian experience. However,relocation of these businesses and redevelopment of the sitesfor the purpose of increasing compatibility of adjacent usesmay not necessarily be the best option. In the new neighbor-hood (presumably an active commercial node), relocation couldresult in more conflicts with pedestrians. Relocation may alsomean the loss of a valued service in the former neighborhood.Increasing Compatibility through Improved DesignFor these reasons, improved site design, building design,and management may be the best means of achieving increasedcompatibility of auto-oriented facilities. This solution comeswith a caveat, however. Simply requiring higher design stan-dards may cause businesses to move elsewhere (if standardsarent applied city-wide), or may cause them to go out ofbusiness entirely (if standards are applied city-wide), resultingin the loss of a neighborhood service. Therefore, it is importantthat requirements for improved site and building design beaccompanied with assistance (in the form of grants, loans,expedited city processes or pre-approved site and buildingdesigns) to enable the business to remain in the area, but toAuto-oriented uses such as this oneat 36th Streetand these at the 58th Streetintersection can be problematicredevelopment challengesNicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 200019operate as a better neighbor. If the business is so marginal thatit still can not meet the higher standards, then another use forthe property should be pursued.Redevelopment areas are listed below and are describedin greater detail and identified on maps in the Specific Recom-mendations section of this report. In several instances, the TaskForce has identified both a short term strategy (often improvedsite and building design), as well as a long-term strategy (oftenresidential redevelopment). Well designed off-street parkingshould accompany residential developments of significant size.2 RecommendationsRedevelopment Areas2.1 Redevelop or improve the following areas:2.1.1 15th to 19th Streets: Redevelop existing under-utilizedcommercial uses and parking lot as mixed commercial andresidential development2.1.2 32nd and 33rd Streets: Redevelop existing vacant and under-utilized buildings (former outboard motors store) as a mixedcommercial/high-density residential use2.1.3 Between 33rd and 34th: Redevelop existing vacant lots asmulti-family residential which matches the character ofadjacent buildings2.1.4 34th Street: Redevelop the node at 34th Street ascommercial/residential mixed-use such as live-work housingtypes2.1.5 37th Street: Encourage improved site and building design ofexisting underutilized commercial uses in the short-term. Ifimproved site and building design cant be achieved,encourage redevelopment as low- to mid-density residential(which matches the character of surrounding residences).2.1.6 39th and 40th Streets: Encourage improved site and buildingdesign of existing auto-oriented uses in the short term. Inthe long-term, encourage redevelopment as residentialwhich matches the character of adjacent residences andcapitalizes on the neighboring park and quality residentialenvironment.2.1.7 44th Street: Encourage redevelopment of underutilizedcommercial site (currently a garage/workshop) on the westside of the 4400 block as low intensity commercial orresidential.Intersections at 33rd Street34th Streetand 37th Street are identified asredevelopment areasCorridor Wide RecommendationsRedevelopmentNicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 2000202.1.8 47th Street: Encourage site and design improvements ofneighborhood-serving businesses (Richfield Auto, LastTangle Hair Salon) at the 47th Street node. If improved siteand building design cannot be achieved, redevelopment asresidential should be considered.2.1.9 58th Street: Encourage improved site and building design ofauto-oriented uses (Goodyear, Engfer Automotive, 58thStreet Service Station) at the 58th Street node. If improvedsite and building design cannot be achieved, the area shouldbe redeveloped as commercial and residential mixed use,similar to that which currently exists on the northwestcorner (Diamond Lake Animal Hospital)2.2 Hold a workshop for small business owners and neighbor-hood residents to increase understanding of the opportuni-ties to recruit quality businesses and improve site and designwhen properties change hands2.3 Accompany requirements for improved site and buildingdesign with assistance (in the form of grants, loans, expe-dited city processes or pre-approved site and buildingdesigns) to enable businesses to remain in the area, but tooperate as better neighborsBackgroundExisting Industrial UsesThere are only two industrial sites along the NicolletAvenue corridor: the GFI meat processing plant and LeJeuneSteel. While problems associated with industrial uses are notas prevalent as other problems, they have none-the-less been atopic of significant discussion.Industrial uses may have many of the same negativeimpacts as auto-oriented uses. Not surprisingly, the recommen-dation for dealing with them is the same. Moving the industryelsewhere will simply result in negative impacts elsewhere.Relocating or redeveloping the industrial site will mean theloss of jobs. Therefore, requiring compliance with higher siteand design standards (and providing assistance to encouragebusinesses to comply) is the most appropriate near-term solu-tion. Over time, the avenue will begin to evolve into a grandurban corridor. At that point, industrial uses may no longer beappropriate along the corridor. Under such a scenario, the factthat rents and land prices will likely increase to the point that itis no longer cost effective to operate an industry along thecorridor may help this argument.Corridor Wide RecommendationsRedevelopmentLeJeune Steel operates in a primarilyresidential and commercial areaNicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 200021RecommendationsIndustrial Uses2.4 For industrial uses which are compatible with adjacentcommercial and residential uses, encourage improved siteand building design. If improved site and building designcannot be achieved, pursue relocation of the industrial use,rezoning of the site, and redevelopment compatible withsurrounding uses and plans for the area.2.5 For industrial uses which are incompatible with adjacentcommercial and residential uses, pursue relocation ofindustrial use, rezoning of the site, and redevelopmentcompatible with surrounding uses and plans for the area.BackgroundHousing Development:Where redevelopment has been proposed, the Task Forcerecommendation is often for residential redevelopment. Thereare two primary reasons for this. First, there is currently andwill continue to be a need for housing in the city. Minneapolispopulation is growing. In its latest series of demographicprojections, the Metropolitan Council estimates that there willbe an additional 9000 households in Minneapolis in the year2020. City of Minneapolis projections, which are based onmore current information, project an even greater increase of10,500 by 2020. A wide range of people of varying incomelevels is contributing to the increasing population. For thisreason it is important to provide a range of housing types andaffordabilities. This can be accomplished through the construc-tion of new housing and, just as importantly, it can also beaccomplished through the preservation of existing housing.The second rationale for residential development is that ithelps to create 24-hour activity along the avenue. An area ofmixed office, commercial and residential use generates activityduring the day when people are working and shopping, and itcreates activity during the evening when people are at home.As will be described in greater detail in the next chapter, 24-hour activity can help reduce crime, improve peoples percep-tions of safety, and contribute to the overall commercial vitalityof the avenue.There are barriers to the construction of new housing andpreservation of old housing in Minneapolis. So-called brownfield redevelopment in the city may require demolition, siteclearing, and hazardous materials removal, all of which can beexpensive given the small lot sizes that are typically availablefor development. When compared with green field develop-Corridor Wide RecommendationsRedevelopmentIn some areas along Nicollet, mixeduse development which combinesresidential with retail or office spacemay be appropriateNicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 200022ment in the suburbs (where land is ready without site prepara-tion), infill development may become less attractive to a devel-oper. A small, inner city developer may have a difficult timeamassing the capital for site preparation, may get lost in theCitys bureaucratic housing development and approval process,and, additionally, may be overwhelmed by neighborhoodrequests for meetings and alterations to the original design.RecommendationsHousing Development2.6 Provide a variety of housing types and prices including live-work opportunities.2.7 Encourage home-based businesses that are compatible withresidential uses2.8 Simplify the infill housing development and approvalprocess2.8.1 Develop additional MCDA and other funding sources whichcould be used to level the playing field between city andsuburban development by paying for site preparation suchas relocation of existing businesses, demolition, hazardousmaterials removal, and clearing2.8.2 Continue to pursue a streamlined application and permittingprocess in which a project manager is assigned to lead adeveloper through City requirements2.8.3 Pursue opportunities to streamline the neighborhood reviewprocess by developing a consistent neighborhood reviewprocess and consistent design standards2.8.4 Develop a program to develop design guidelines andprovide design assistance to prospective developers2.9 Preserve the existing housing stock2.9.1 Utilize MCDA, NRP and other sources of funding topreserve housing2.9.2 Develop an educational program to make people aware offinancial assistance programs available to them2.9.3 Promote the Citys Truth in Housing program whichrequires repair or replacement of certain life-safety itemsprior to the sale of homes, duplexes, townhouses, andaccessory buildingsCorridor Wide RecommendationsRedevelopmentNicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 200023Strategy #3: Encourage quality urban designand pedestrian-friendlyenvironmentsBackgroundThe recommendations under Strategy #3 build upon theCrime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED)principles (described in sidebar) as the basis for creatingpedestrian environments. Pedestrian environments builtaround CPTED principles can be additionally embellished byincorporating historical characteristics, architectural features,green elements, property maintenance, and public art. Theseembellishments turn functional locations into places ofbeauty and integrity.Urban Design and Pedestrian EnvironmentsThe Nicollet Avenue Task Force envisions Nicollet as agrand urban corridor along which urban design and streetscapeimprovements attract pedestrians and contribute to commercialvitality. There are several regulatory mechanisms in place topreserve and promote pedestrian environments: PedestrianOverlay Districts, Special Service Districts and the Site PlanReview process.Pedestrian Overlay DistrictThe Pedestrian Overlay District is a zoning districtestablished to preserve and encourage the pedestrian characterof commercial areas and to promote street life and activity byregulating building orientation and design and accessoryparking facilities, and by prohibiting certain high impact andauto-oriented uses (City of Minneapolis September 1998 DraftZoning Code, Chapter 551, Article II). Among other things,this district prohibits the establishment of drive-through facili-ties and auto services uses. In addition, it prohibits some typesof on-premise signs (such as pole signs, back-lighted awningand canopy signs, and back-lighted insertable panel projectingsigns) and encourages shared parking. Criteria to be consid-ered in establishing a pedestrian overlay district include: the level of pedestrian interest and activity; the variety of retail sales and services; the extent to which properties have limited orno front setback;and the availability of public transit service.Corridor Wide RecommendationsUrban DesignPedestrian Environments andCrime Prevention ThroughEnvironmental DesignThe term pedestrian-friendly appearsthroughout this report. What does itmean and what can be accomplished byit? A pedestrian-friendly environment isan environment of safety and comfortthat attracts pedestrians, raises theactivity level of an area, and furtherenhances safety (which attracts morepedestrians, even further enhancingsafety). A virtuous cycle is established.Elements that contribute to pedestrianenvironments are firmly rooted in CrimePrevention Through EnvironmentalDesign principles (CPTED, pronouncedsep ted).CPTED principles are based on thetheory that the proper design andeffective use of the built environment canlead to a reduction in the fear andincidence of crime and an improvementin the quality of life. CPTED is based onthree overlapping strategies: 1) naturalsurveillance; 2) natural access control;and 3) territorial reinforcement. Thesestrategies can be applied to an individualbuilding as well as to an entire neighbor-hood (Planning Commissioners Journal,Fall 1994).Natural SurveillanceThe primary goal of natural surveillanceis to facilitate observation. This includesthe ability to observe others, as well asthe ability to be observed by others in thecourse of normal everyday activities.Safety is enhanced when lines of sightare open and people can be easilyobserved. If criminals can be seen, theywill be less likely to commit a crime. An appropriate level of uniform lightingenhances natural surveillance and canalso improve the aesthetics of an area.To encourage pedestrians to use anarea, lighting should not be too brightand lamp posts should be at pedes-trian-level heights in order to illuminatethe sidewalks and other areas wherepedestrians gather. Providing lightingfrom several sources is most effective.Nicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 200024Special Service DistrictsSpecial Service Districts (City Charter, Chapter 4, Sec-tion 5) are districts in which additional taxes are levied toadjacent property owners to pay for the provision of publicservices. These public services most often include mainte-nance of streetscape elements such as lighting, benches, treesand landscaping, and sidewalks. If requested, special servicedistricts can also provide for snow removal, installation oftwinkle lights in trees, graffiti and litter removal, and manyother services. A special service district currently exists alongEat Street between Grant and 29th Streets.Site Plan ReviewRather than applying to a geographic area, the Site PlanReview process (City of Minneapolis September 1998 DraftZoning Code, Chapter 530, Article I) applies to individual usessuch as auto services uses, drive-through facilities, food andbeverage uses, and buildings of 20,000 or more square feet.These and other specified uses are required to have their siteand building plans reviewed by the City Planning Commissionbefore development or expansion approval can be granted.Elements of the site plan that are reviewed include buildingsetback, parking lot placement (to the side or rear of the build-ing), height, scale, window coverage, provision of architecturaldetail, and compatibility of exterior materials among others.The Planning Commission has the ability to require improve-ments such as enhanced landscaping, improved buildingorientation or design, parking lot landscaping and screening,and compliance with CPTED principles.While the majority of areas along the corridor couldbenefit from improvements which would enhance the pedes-trian environment, the areas that would provide the biggestbang for the investment buck are the commercial nodesidentified in Strategy #1. These areas of identity and commer-cial concentration have the greatest potential to attract peopleand dollars from outside of the local area. There is a directcorrelation between profits and property maintenance improve-ments. Therefore, as profits at these nodes increase, businessowners become better able to maintain their properties. Forthis reason, it is recommended that investments be targeted towell-defined commercial nodes.3 RecommendationsUrban Design and Pedestrian Environments3.1 Encourage a pedestrian-friendly environment along theentire stretch of Nicollet Avenue, but focus streetscape,Corridor Wide RecommendationsUrban Design Windows facilitate observation andcreate eyes on the sidewalk or eyeson the street which promote safety.Windows can also contribute tocommercial vitality by allowing potentialcustomers to see shopkeepersproducts which might then entice themto enter the store. Place safe activities in unsafe areas toincrease the number of people andeyes in areas vulnerable to crime.Similarly, creating 24-hour activity bylocating residential land uses adjacentor within other land uses (such ascommercial or office) can improveround-the-clock observation.Locate gathering spots (benches,phones, bus stops) in areas where theycan be observed.Natural Access ControlNatural access control is about guidingand controlling movement of people onsite and within buildings. Locate buildings with limited setbacks,landscaping, sidewalks, lighting, andfencing to clearly guide people on andthrough the site and to control andrestrict access to appropriate locationson the site. Public access should bediscouraged from unmonitored, isolatedor dark areas.Nicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 200025building design and maintenance, and site design andmaintenance investments (public and private) atcommercial nodes. New streetscape plans along Nicolletshould consider existing streetscape elements but designshould be allowed to vary according to different needs andcharacter along the avenue.3.2 Establish pedestrian overlay districts at nodes with highpotential for pedestrian activity. The Task Force recom-mends that pedestrian overlay districts be established atappropriate locations between 14th Street and 31st Street, at38th Street and between 42nd and 43rd Street (mid-block).3.3 Modify parking regulations to allow for greater sharedparking and minimize parking requirements, particularly inthe pedestrian overlay district3.4 Accompany requirements for improved site and buildingdesign with assistance (in the form of grants, loans, expe-dited city processes or pre-approved site and buildingdesigns) to enable businesses to remain in the area, but tooperate as better neighbors3.5 Provide an educational program for businesses and residentson Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design(CPTED)Maintenance and Property Improvement3.6 Establish special service districts in conjunction withstreetscape improvements in order to provide for mainte-nance of streetscape elements. Provision of public amenitiessuch as drinking fountains, public lavatories, and phonesshould be considered on a case by case basis and only inconjunction with a the establishment of a special servicedistrict to ensure regular management and maintenance.3.7 Streamline City procedures for special service districtmaintenance in order to improve efficiency and lower costsof special service districts.3.8 Target public realm improvements to stimulate privateinvestment and improve the the environment for investmentgenerally3.9 Increase the pool of capital available to businesses in orderto encourage the commercial reuse of buildings. Exploreoptions through the Minneapolis Community DevelopmentAgency (MCDA), neighborhood revolving loan funds, andcharitable foundations As a general rule, fencing should beno higher than 3 feet so that lines ofsight are maintained. Picket fencesand short brick or stone walls lookpleasant and dont limit visibility,although solid surfaces can invitegraffiti. Similarly, shrubs should be notaller than three feet and tree limbsshould be pruned to six feet above theground to facilitate observation. Access problems in parking lots poseparticular problems. Parking lots areareas of semi-private space and areasof combined pedestrian and vehicularactivity. Access to parking lots shouldbe limited and areas of pedestrian andvehicular travel should be clearlydefined.Territorial ReinforcementTerritorial reinforcement is about clearlydelineating ownership and appropriatebehavior for all spaces. Criminals dontlook out of place in an area of dilapi-dated buildings, unkempt lawns,overgrown shrubbery, trash and graffiti.In these areas, criminals are less easilyspotted committing crimes. The more aproperty line is defined and propertyownership is identified, the more acriminal will stick out. Indications ofownership include: improvements to the front, sides, andback of buildings such as the additionof windows and awnings landscaping, planters, or flower boxes maintenance of building and surround-ings by caring for and trimminglandscaped areas, keeping up withrepairs and painting, and removinggraffiti and trash.Corridor Wide RecommendationsUrban DesignNicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 2000263.10 Increase awareness of MCDA grants and loans (such asNeighborhood Economic Development Fund, Two PercentLoans, and Capital Acquisition Loans) as well as NRPmatching funds available to businesses for property im-provements and investments3.11 Increase awareness of MCDA and NRP home improvementfunds available to homeowners.3.12 Improve enforcement of City requirements for propertymaintenance including litter pickup, painting, and graffitiremoval by notifying the City Inspections Department ofmaintenance issues3.13 Conduct an educational presentation about Crime Preven-tion Through Environmental Design. Incorporate informa-tion about property maintenance, particularly litter pickup.3.14 Continue support of the Citys Committee on UrbanEnvironment awards to encourage pride in the city environ-mentGreening the Avenue3.15 Widen the green boulevards along Nicollet Avenue3.16 Restore the tree canopy by planting additional trees andreplacing diseased or ailing trees3.17 Use hardy, salt-resistant tree and grass species to better theirchances for survival and improve their appearance3.18 Consider alternative ways to green the avenue includinginstallation of flower boxes and hanging planters3.19 Continue support for the Citys Blooming Boulevards awardprogram to encourage beautification of the City.3.20 Consider developing a commercial Blooming Boulevardsprogram to encourage business owners to beautify theirpropertiesPublic Art3.21 Pursue opportunities for public art on human scaleelements such as sidewalks, bus stops, seating areas, treegrates, trash bins, retaining walls, fences, bridges, andgateways3.22 Encourage public funding of public art projectsCorridor Wide RecommendationsUrban DesignOther Pedestrian EnhancementsThe CPTED principles mentioned abovelay the foundation for a safe pedestrianenvironment. Pedestrian environmentscan be further enhanced by considerationof two additional elements: scale andamenities. People generally feel morecomfortable in human-scaled surround-ings. Two- to four-story buildings, low-level lighting, and awnings all help tomake pedestrians feel more a part oftheir environment. Appropriately-placedamenities such as benches, newspaperdispensers, trash cans, and bike rackscan make people feel more comfortableand make them want to linger in an area.Artistic elements on sidewalks, benches,and bridges enhance this mood byimplying that there is time to move at aslower pace and time for reflection.Sources:Safe Environments, Southwest Journal,v10, n17, page B6;Crowe, Timothy, The Secure Store: AClean, Well-Lighted Place;City of Saint Paul, Design for PublicSafety, December 1993Nicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 200027BackgroundDesign Guidelines and Historic PreservationThe Site Plan Review process discussed earlier can helppreserve a few of the architectural or historical features of somebuildings and their sites (basically only those buildings contain-ing uses that are required to go through Site Plan Review, suchas auto-oriented uses and transportation-related uses). Designelements on buildings that are not targeted under Site PlanReview will most likely not receive protection or preservation,unless they are designated historic structures. Many buildingshave interesting architectural features (such as facades, win-dows, or setbacks) but may not be worthy of historic designa-tion. For this reason, preservation of those features may bemore difficult.The development and application of design guidelinescould address the issues raised above. Guidelines could bedistributed by the City prior to demolition, redevelopment orremodeling. These design guidelines should be based uponprinciples, such as CPTED principles, that promote publicbenefits such as crime prevention, commercial vitality, andhistoric preservation. Design guidelines could apply to dis-tricts, entire buildings, or elements of buildings such as thefacade, entrance, setback. If applied to individual buildings, alarge identification process would need to be undertaken todetermine which buildings have preservation-worthy ele-ments. Guidelines could be either voluntary or mandatorydepending largely upon the resources available to apply andenforce them.Recommendations3.23 Conduct an educational presentation for businesses andresidents on Crime Prevention Through EnvironmentalDesign (CPTED)3.24 Encourage business associations to disseminate culturallyappropriate (i.e., translated) information on CPTED andfunding sources for property improvements to immigrantbusinesses3.25 Develop design guidelines for uses or design elements notcovered under Site Plan Review3.26 Develop design guidelines that identify historical orarchitectural elements (such as faade, entry, windows,setback, etc.) or significant artistic elements that mightwarrant preservationCorridor Wide RecommendationsUrban DesignBuildings that are not necessarilyhistoric structures may still havearchitectural elements (such as thefaade, windows, and setback) thatshould be preservedNicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 2000283.27 Work with the Heritage Preservation Commission andneighborhoods to identify districts, buildings, or buildingelements with historic or architectural integrity and generatea list which could be used by the City to determine whendesign guidelines should be applied.3.28 If guidelines are voluntary, encourage compliance with themby pursuing adoption by the City Planning Commission,distributing them with applications for redevelopment orremodeling of identified properties, and providing grantsor loans to business owners who agree to preserve or restoredesign elements3.29 Work with the Heritage Preservation Commission todevelop a looser definition of historic preservation to allowfor partial restoration, preservation of historic or architec-tural elements, and maintenance of buildings with historic orarchitectural integrity that are not technically on the HistoricRegister3.30 Identify funding sources to provide monetary incentives toencourage preservation rather than tear-down/re-buildprojectsCorridor Wide RecommendationsUrban DesignNicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 200029Strategy #4: Manage traffic flow andreduce traffic speedBackgroundThere are four main issues regarding traffic alongNicollet Avenue: traffic volume, traffic efficiency, traffic speedand roadway conditions. Both sections of Nicollet north andsouth of Lake have concerns with these issues. The degree towhich the issue is a problem, however, varies with the area.Traffic volumeCurrent traffic volumes on Nicollet Avenue range from7300 average annual daily traffic (AADT) counts just north of15th Street, to 14,900 AADT just north of 61st Street (VehicularTraffic Flow Map, Minneapolis Public Works, 1998). With theexception of 61st Street, all traffic count locations experienced adecrease in traffic after the construction of Kmart on Nicollet atLake Street. At this time, all traffic count locations havereached or exceeded pre-Kmart traffic levels except for pointsnorth of Franklin Avenue and 31st Street.In general, traffic volumes do not pose many problems onthe avenue. In fact, neighborhoods and businesses would liketo attract more traffic to Nicollet, particularly north of LakeStreet where land use patterns are less residential. This desirewill be fulfilled easily if Kmart is reoriented and Nicollet isreopened at Lake Street, because traffic volumes along Nicolletwill increase substantially. Other means of attracting traffic toNicollet should be explored, in the event that the Nicolletreopening project is unsuccessful.While the Task Force supports attracting traffic toNicollet, they are opposed to the idea of creating a three- orfour-lane thoroughfare. They fear that a thoroughfare willdetract from the avenues commercial vitality by removingparking and by increasing already high traffic speeds. Asexamples, consider shopping patterns along Excelsior Boule-vard in Saint Louis Park versus Grand Avenue in Saint Paul orUpton Avenue in the Linden Hills neighborhood of Minneapo-lis. The two latter examples are more likely to get people outof their cars to shop for a variety of goods and services at anumber of locations. Rather than Nicollet, Interstate 35Wshould be promoted as the primary transportation corridormoving commuters into and out of the city. On Nicollet, theTask Force supports the existing condition (with minor adjust-ments) of one driving lane in each direction and a parking laneon each side of the avenue as a means of promoting commer-cial development.Corridor Wide RecommendationsTrafficNicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 200030Interstate 35W AccessThe ongoing work of the Phillips Partnership has thepotential to influence traffic on Nicollet between 26th and 38thStreets. With leadership from Honeywell and Abbott North-western executives, The Phillips Partnership is a diverse groupthat was set up to explore opportunities to improve the qualitylife for residents and workers in the Phillips Neighborhood.The recent work of the Partnership has focused on improvingaccess to and from I35W near Lake Street. Several alternativesare being considered including southbound entrance and exitoptions around the 26th/28th Street area and northbound entranceand exit options around the Lake/28th Street area. If Lake Streetis chosen as the logical freeway access point, the MinnesotaDepartment of Transportation (MnDOT) will move freewayaccess from 35th and 36th Streets to 38th Street.Traffic EfficiencyWhere problems along Nicollet Avenue appear to beconnected with traffic volume, they are more likely problems oftraffic efficiency. Traffic can back up behind people makingleft turns where no left turn lane exists. In addition, the highlevel of bus service along the avenue, while providing a tre-mendous benefit to the area, can complicate right hand turnsbehind bus stops which are located on the near side (as op-posed to far side) of the intersection. Along Nicollet, bus stopsexist at almost every intersection and most of them are near-side stops. No right turn on red signs might unneccessarilyprohibit right turns at some points along the avenue and de-crease the efficiency of traffic.Traffic SpeedProbably the biggest problem south of Lake Street istraffic speed. While the speed limit is posted at 30 miles perhour, drivers can easily reach 40 or even 45 mph, creatingsafety problems for other drivers as well as people on side-walks and crossing streets. This is, in large part, due to theexcessive width of the street. Nicollet Avenue is 50 feet wide.This allows for two 10 foot parking lanes and two 15 drivinglanes. Twelve feet is the typical driving lane width recom-mended for this roadway classification. As a result, the streetappears to be too wide for two lanes but not quite wide enoughfor three lanes. This perception of excess room creates anadditional safety problem as drivers attempt to pass slowermoving traffic. This issue is not only a safety problem. Hightraffic speeds do not foster commercial activity. It is difficult toascertain what goods and services are available when drivingby at 45 mph.Corridor Wide RecommendationsTrafficMoving bus stops to the far side ofintersections where feasible couldfacilitate right hand turnsSouth of Lake Street Nicollet Avenuehas not been repaved since 1954Nicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 200031Roadway ConditionsThe final traffic-related issue along Nicollet relates to theroad surface itself. North of Lake Street, Nicollet Avenue wasre-paved in 1997 when the streetscape improvements weremade and Eat Street was created. Nicollet Avenue south ofLake Street hasnt been re-paved since 1954. Poor road condi-tions and illegible lane markings exacerbate safety problems.4 RecommendationsTransportation corridors4.1 Promote 35W as the primary transportation corridor by:4.1.1 Encouraging carefully selected improvements to 35W suchas improved access and car pool lanes4.1.2 Encouraging light rail transit in addition to other transitalternatives along the 35W corridor4.1.3 Supporting transit incentives such as selling discountedtransit passes to employees, decreasing parking require-ments in pedestrian overlay districts, providing bike lanesand racks, and encouraging businesses to advertise transitaccess options to their establishments4.2 Consider alternative sites for the transit hub proposed to belocated at 42nd Street and 35W. In general, locate the transithub away from a park or residential area.4.3 Monitor the progress of the Phillips Partnership in discuss-ing alternative access points to 35W in the vicinity of LakeStreet4.4 Support 35W access alternatives which have minimal directimpact 26th Street. Preferable options include southboundexits at Lake or Nicollet (assuming reoriented Kmart). Anyaccess scenario at 38th Street, if necessary, should maintainand improve parking (primarily west of 35W along 38th),traffic calming, and landscapingRoadway improvements4.5 Where feasible, narrow the roadway to 48 feet in order toslow traffic and widen the boulevards to create a greener,more pedestrian friendly avenue, but recognize that theremay not be a uniform solution along the entirety of NicolletAvenue. Maintain street width within blocks and theperception of consistent width between blocks.Corridor Wide RecommendationsTrafficLaSalle/Blaisdell Avenue, which isone-way to 40th Street, carries a highvolume of traffic out of the cityNicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 2000324.6 Re-pave the street, redo curb and gutter, and repaint lanelines to reduce lane ambiguity, and improve safety andaesthetics. Re-paving and installation of streetscapeelements should be coordinated.4.7 Allow parking on both sides of street in order to promotepatronization of businesses along the avenue, increasepedestrian safety, and slow trafficEncourage use Nicollet Avenueby calming traffic elsewhere4.8 Explore the feasibility of traffic calming on Blaisdell andFirst Avenues. Strategies could include converting Blaisdelland First Avenues to two-way streets, striping a bike lane, orstriping a parking lane in order to slow traffic4.9 Use well-designed directional signage to entice pedestriansand motorists to patronize businesses along Nicollet Avenue4.10 Create easily identified crosswalks (colored pavers, paint,or patterned pavement)Improve traffic efficiency4.11 Pursue the creation of left turn lanes at Franklin Avenue, 26thStreet, 28th Street, Lake Street, 31st Street, 35th Street, 36thStreet, 46th Street, 50th Street, Diamond Lake Road, and 60thStreet4.12 Identify intersections where it would be feasible to movebus stops to the far sides of intersections in order tofacilitate right hand turns. Considerations should includewhether adjoining property is commercial or residential and,if commercial, the amount of parking that will be lost infront of the businessCorridor Wide RecommendationsTrafficNicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 200033SECTION-SPECIFICRECOMMENDATIONSGRANT STREET TO 29TH STREETSee map page 38BackgroundThe August 1999 edition of Mpls St. Paul Magazinedescribed Eat Street (Nicollet Avenue between Grant Streetand 29th Street) as a worldly ethnic feast for the senses. Suchhigh praise is an indication of just how far Nicollet Avenue hascome. The appearance of ethnic restaurants, grocery stores,and entertainment venues have helped this once-struggling areato emerge as a destination for people who want to experiencethe tremendous ethnic diversity of the City.StrengthsMany elements have fostered the development of thisethnic eatery along Nicollet. First and foremost, the hardwork of many small business owners who take pride in theirproduct and place of business contributes greatly to the successof the area. Many of these businesses offer a unique productand experience that can not be replicated elsewhere. In addi-tion, the Eat Street marketing campaign has been successfulin attracting customers to the avenue and streetscape improve-ments have softened the pedestrian environment and lessenedpeoples concerns about safety. Finally, the avenue has anumber of inherent pedestrian-friendly characteristics such asthe early 1900s one to two story brick or stucco structures withlimited setbacks and large front windows. These structuresserved as a strong backdrop for the streetscape improvementsthat were made.ChallengesDespite these strengths, this section of the avenue stillstruggles to promote its pedestrian environment and attractcustomers. Customers are intimidated by persisting vagrancy.Underutilized buildings and an overabundance of surfaceparking lots create a gap-toothed appearance along theavenue. While Loring Park, Stevens Square Park and FairOaks Park are only several blocks off of Nicollet, good,green linkages to these three parks do not exist and there areno public gathering spaces along the avenue itself. In general,the green environment, including landscaping, along thisstretch of the avenue needs improvement. All of these factorsdetract from the avenues potential as a destination and publicdraw.Section-specific RecommendationsGrant Street - 29TH StreetThe Music Box Theater is one ofseveral entertainment venues alongthe avenueStreetscape improvements havesoftened the pedestrian environmentalong Nicollet north of Lake StreetNicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 200034Nicollet has begun to market itself as a commercial area,but it must be constantly vigilant in doing so. Low rents alongNicollet, while providing opportunities for start-up businesses,have led to a concentration of schools and social service usesalong Nicollet and in the surrounding area. While no one use isnecessarily a problem, in concentration they have detractedfrom the overall commercial vitality of the avenue.Attracting People Back to NicolletA critical means of increasing the commercial vibrancyof this section of the avenue is to attract people back to thearea. Over the years, traffic levels along Nicollet have declinedfor a number of reasons. First, the construction of Interstate35W removed commuter traffic. Then, the one-way pairedstreets of Blaisdell Avenue and First Avenue further reducedcommuter traffic on Nicollet. Eventually the placement ofKmart on Nicollet at Lake Street created a barrier betweensouth Nicollet and downtown.Routing traffic back to Nicollet (as was done whenaccess to 1st Avenue was limited) can restore some of theoriginal traffic volumes and create a greater customer base.Of course the greatest way to achieve increased traffic levelson Nicollet would be to reopen Nicollet at Lake. Barring thischallenging solution, other means of encouraging traffic to useNicollet should be pursued. Traffic efficiency and safetyimprovements should be made in conjunction with increasedtraffic volumes to ensure that traffic flows smoothly and thatcongestion is minimized. Any changes to I35W access (seeStrategy #4) should take into account impacts on 26th and 38thStreets. Public transportation, which is currently strong alongthe avenue, should continue to be supported. Connections tothe expanding markets of the convention center and downtown,as well as local institutions such as the Minneapolis Institute ofArt, Loring Park, and the Minneapolis College of Art andDesign could also be strengthened. Providing more housingoptions, both in terms of style and price, is another means ofattracting people back to the avenue. Multiple opportunitiesexist for increasing housing density by incorporating commer-cial/residential mixed use concepts into the overall land usepattern.Section-specific RecommendationsGrant Street - 29TH StreetThe placement of Kmart on Nicolletat Lake in the late 1970s created abarrier between southwestMinneapolis and downtownThe Franklin Avenue intersection isan appropriate investment areaNicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 2000355 RecommendationsInvestment/Redevelopment5.1 Invest in commercial development from Grant to Lake withnodes at Franklin, 26th, and Lake5.2 Redevelop the area between 15th Street and 19th Street as anarea of mixed commercial and residential developmentUrban Design/Pedestrian-FriendlyEnvironments5.3 Apply a Pedestrian Overlay District at appropriate locationsalong Nicollet between 14th to 31st Streets5.4 Expand the Special Service District currently existingbetween Grant and 29th Streets to encompass the portion ofNicollet from 29th to 31st Street5.5 Work with members of the existing special service district(along Nicollet Avenue from Grant to 29th) to assist theirefforts in maintaining the avenue5.6 Encourage reuse and development of multi-story mixed usebuildings5.7 More clearly identify cross walks for pedestrian crossings5.8 Support police in vigorously enforcing low-level livabilitycrimes (such as panhandling, public consumption ofalcohol) with the CODEFOR program, for example5.9 Address issues resulting from the placement and operationof alternative schools5.9.1 Initiate discussions with School Board officials5.9.2 Pursue management standards through licensing require-ments5.9.3 Pursue changes in the Citys Liquor and Beer Ordinance toallow liquor, wine or beer licenses to be granted to estab-lishments along Nicollet Avenue that are closer than thecurrently required 300 foot distance from a school5.9.4 Pursue the option of reserving parking for business usethrough City Public Works Department to deal with theproblem created when school buses take up parking spaceson the street5.9.5 Consider establishing a review process or spacing limits forschools and social service uses5.10 Incorporate a public gathering and green space in theredevelopment project between 15th and 19th StreetsSection-specific RecommendationsGrant Street - 29TH StreetThis parking lot at 15th Street may bea good place to redevelop or tocreate a green linkage from theConvention Center to NicolletNicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 2000365.11 Consider pursuing an exit from the west side of the Conven-tion Center to connect the Convention Center to NicolletAvenue.5.12 Convert the metered parking lot at Nicollet and 15th Street toa green pathway from the Convention Center to NicolletAvenue (and potential future link to Loring Park) orredevelop the site as a mixed commercial/residentialdevelopment5.13 Develop a gateway to Nicollet Avenue from Nicollet Mall5.14 Use signage to preserve and strengthen connections toexisting and proposed green space (such as the MidtownGreenway/29th Street Corridor, Stevens Square Park andFair Oaks Park)5.15 Work with the existing Minneapolis College of Art andDesign public art program to create public art on human-scale elements such as sidewalks, bridges, fences, andparking lot edges5.16 Support the efforts of area business associations (includingthe Nicollet Avenue Business Association and the WhittierBusiness Association) to revitalize this section of NicolletAvenue5.17 Conduct an educational presentation on Crime PreventionThrough Environmental Design (CPTED) for neighborhoodbusinessesSection-specific RecommendationsGrant Street - 29TH StreetNicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 200037Other5.18 Create left turn lanes at Franklin, 26th, and 28th5.19 Explore the feasibility of traffic calming on Blaisdell andFirst Avenues. Strategies could include converting Blaisdelland First Avenues to two-way streets, striping a bike lane, orstriping a parking lane5.20 Monitor the progress of the Phillips Partnership in discuss-ing alternative access points to 35W in the vicinity of LakeStreet5.21 Support 35W access alternatives which have minimal directimpact 26th Street. Preferable options include southboundexits at Lake or Nicollet (assuming reoriented Kmart). Anyaccess scenario at 38th Street, if necessary, should maintainand improve parking (primarily west of 35W along 38th),traffic calming, and landscaping5.22 Encourage people to use Nicollet Avenue by providingdirectional signage to Nicollet5.23 Construct shared parking structures in existing parking lotsto support parking demand5.24 Build a good bike and pedestrian connection to the futureMidtown Greenway (29th Street rail corridor)5.25 Create bike lanes on First Avenue and LaSalle/BlaisdellAvenuesSection-specific RecommendationsGrant Street - 29TH StreetNicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 200038Nicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 20003929TH STREET TO 33RD STREETSee map page 42BackgroundChallengesThe Nicollet-Lake intersection typifies the incongruitythat can result when a suburban development pattern is forcedonto an urban setting. The scale and form of the commercialand institutional buildings that characterize this section cater toautomobile traffic but are inconsistent with the high level ofpedestrian traffic and transit service that exists here. Largeparking lots, which facilitate auto access, can make for a poorpedestrian environment. These parking lots poorly define thestreet edge, and, in essence, erode the north and southeastcorners of the intersection. Several vacant or underutilizedcommercial structures further detract from the pedestrianenvironment in this section of the avenue.To better understand the challenges faced at this intersec-tion, contrast the situation at Nicollet and Lake with conditionsat the Hennepin-Lake intersection or Lyndale-Lake intersec-tion. In these locations, high density and high amenity devel-opment exists in unique two- to four-story buildings that clearlydefine the street and sidewalk edge. These intersections areheavily populated with both pedestrian and vehicle traffic andparking demand is accommodated (to some degree) in a park-ing structure. The Nicollet-Lake intersection could be greatlystrengthend by improved building orientation, reduced parking,and an enhanced pedestrian environment.OpportunitiesWhile the area faces some redevelopment challenges anda bleak pedestrian environment, there are signs of the potentialfor change in the area. A tenant (Kickboxing Studio) will soonoccupy the vacant building on the northeast corner of Nicolletand 32nd. The newly constructed 5th Police Precinct and MTCbus garage are attractive and could serve as catalysts for higherquality, pedestrian-friendly development in the area. Slowlybut surely, the tree canopy west of the bus garage is beingestablished. Investments which complement these existingamenities, such as restoring the urban tree canopy, providingpedestrian-level lighting, boulevard enhancement and sidewalkrepair and replacement could make this section of the avenuemore pleasant. These investments should be made regardlessof whether or not reorienting Kmart and reopening Nicollet atLake Street proves feasible.Section-specific Recommendations29TH Street - 33RD StreetLooking north on Nicollet towardsthe Nicollet/Lake intersectionThis building at the corner of32nd Street has been vacant for anextended period of timeNicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 200040The Nicollet/Lake ChallengeWhen Kmart was built on Nicollet Avenue at Lake Streetin the late-1970s, it was part of an economic developmentstrategy for the intersection and the surrounding area. TheKmart store has been successful and provides a needed dis-count retail service to the surrounding population. Ironically,however, this economic development strategy turned its backon Nicollet Avenue, effectively placing a tourniquet on the flowof consumer traffic to the Nicollet-Lake intersection and alongNicollet generally.While committed business owners have helped bringabout a renaissance on the avenue north of Lake Street, thetermination of Nicollet at Lake is still a major obstacle tocommercial vitality. Reorienting Kmart and reopening NicolletAvenue would be a tremendous boon to the area. It would notonly revitalize Nicollet Avenue, but would also contribute tothe success of redevelopment efforts along Lake Street andalong the 29th Street Greenway. For these reasons, Task Forcemembers believe that reopening Nicollet at Lake is thesingle most important element in revitalizing NicolletAvenue.Section-specific Recommendations29TH Street - 33RD StreetThe back side of Kmart creates athreatening environment on the southend of Eat StreetNicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 2000416 RecommendationsInvestment/Redevelopment6.1 Reopen Nicollet and invest in well-designed commercialdevelopment that improves the pedestrian environment atLake Street6.2 Retain Kmart on the site by reorienting the structure6.3 Encourage the redevelopment of nodes at 32nd and 33rd as amixed commercial/high density residential use6.4 Expand the existing Nicollet Business Association (GrandAvenue to 2nd Avenue between 29th and 32nd Streets) toencourage dialogue with other businesses along NicolletAvenueUrban Design/Pedestrian-FriendlyEnvironments6.5 Incorporate urban design and pedestrian friendly elementsin the reorientation of Kmart, including reduced parking,limited building setback, landscaping and other amenities6.6 Improve landscaping and painting/screening of electricalcabinets and the bus fueling station at the Metro Transit busgarage6.7 Design an integrated bus shelter and building canopyextension that extends out to the street at the 5th PrecinctPolice Station6.8 Improve the urban tree canopy between 29th and 33rd Streets6.9 Provide information on grants and loans for painting andfixing up propertiesSection-specific Recommendations29TH Street - 33RD StreetNicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 200042Nicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 200043Section-specific Recommendations 33RD Street - 40TH Street33RD STREET TO 40TH STREETSee map page 46BackgroundChallengesOf all of the sections along Nicollet Avenue, the sectionbetween 33rd and 40th is the area with the least-defined identity.With a few key exceptions, there are no strong distinguishingfeatures in the area: no topographical features, no historicsites, no landmarks, no substantial institutional anchors, and nonoticeable public realm. In addition, there are no clear land usepatterns: rather than mixed-use, there is a generic mix of uses some single family residential, a bit of multi-family residential,scattered commercial, and a few institutional uses. To com-pound the problem, the majority of the commercial and resi-dential structures along this stretch of the avenue were builtprior to 1920. As a result, many of these buildings are in needof renovation and repair which is sensitive to the preservationof the decorative detail and character that they possess.OpportunitiesDespite the difficulties, there are real opportunities tocreate urban amenities in this section. For example, there areexciting things happening at Nicollet and 38th Street. Severalyears ago the Nicollet Lanes bowling alley was converted to avery nicely managed Ace Hardware which serves as a neigh-borhood gathering spot. The Theissen building, while housinga rather nondescript business, could be a lovely commercialbuilding with some faade improvements such as reopening thebricked-over windows. Finally, and perhaps most noticeablyare the number of Latino-serving businesses which are congre-gating at this intersection.While housing quality along this stretch of the avenue isgenerally moderate to poor, there is an opportunity to create ahigh quality residential development on the vacant lots between33rd and 34th Streets. Such a development could incorporate agarden or plaza which could capture some of the open andgreen quality of the existing lots and create a strong urbanstatement. Buildings in general would benefit from enhancedmaintenance and renovation. Grants for painting and fixing upproperties could be put to good use in this section.Assuming that I35W access points remain at 35th and36th Streets (see Strategy #4) these streets may have the capac-ity to capitalize on I35W freeway access and maintain highquality urban form. The recently renovated building on thenorthwest corner of 36th Street is an excellent example. ThisThis Ace Hardware at 38th Streetserves as a neighborhood gatheringplaceMarissas Bakery is one of severalLatino-serving businesses at the 38thStreet nodeNicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 200044building will soon house the Lyndale Neighborhood Associa-tion Business Incubator. A particular challenge faced at the 36thStreet intersection is the extensive no mans land created byexcessive surface parking located in front of buildings with nodefinition provided by landscaping, trees or fencing. In gen-eral, trees and green boulevards are virtually non-existent alongthis stretch of Nicollet. Public realm improvements (such asincreased tree cover, pedestrian-level lighting, sidewalk repairand replacement, and boulevard enhancement) could accom-plish a lot in this area. Martin Luther King Park, which beginsat 40th Street, provides a tremendous green amenity. Similarly,the Werness Funeral Home and the Mormon Church, while notpublic spaces, help green the avenue to a significant extent. Byconsolidating uses and capitalizing on every asset that exists, asense of place can be created along this section of Nicollet.7 RecommendationsInvestment/Redevelopment7.1 Encourage the redevelopment of vacant lots between 33rdand 34th Streets as multi-family residential which matchesthe character of the adjacent three- to four-story, brownstoneapartment buildings7.2 Encourage the redevelopment of the node at 34th Street asmixed commercial and residential, including live-workhousing types and preserving the older commercial build-ings, building setbacks, and historic character.7.3 Support and invest in commercial development of the areabetween nodes at 35th and 36th Streets in order to capitalizeon 35W access (assuming that freeway access remains inthis location)7.4 Monitor the progress of the Phillips Partnership in discuss-ing alternative access points to 35W in the vicinity of LakeStreetSection-specific Recommendations 33RD Street - 40TH StreetThe northwest corner of 36th Street inthe fall of 1999and after being renovated in thespring of 1999The vacant lots between 33rd and 34thStreets could be a good location for aresidential developmentNicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 2000457.5 Support 35W access alternatives which have minimal directimpact on 26th Street. Preferable options include south-bound exits at Lake or Nicollet (assuming reorientedKmart). Any access scenario at 38th Street, if necessary,should maintain and improve parking (primarily west of35W along 38th), traffic calming, and landscaping7.6 Encourage the redevelopment of the underutilized commer-cial uses at the 37th Street node. Encourage improved siteand building design in the short-term. In the long-term,redevelop the site as low- to mid-density residential (tomatch the character of surrounding residences) Capitalizeon the existing quality residential neighborhood7.7 Support and invest in commercial development at 38th Streetto encourage emerging ethnic businesses in the area.Promote faade and signage improvements at the intersec-tion7.8 Encourage the long-term redevelopment of the auto-oriented businesses at the 39th and 40th Street nodes asresidential to capitalize on the neighboring park and qualityresidential environment.7.9 Create a business association encompassing nodes at 35th,36th, and 38th to promote unification, to improve representa-tion, and to facilitate the exchange of information and ideasUrban Design/Pedestrian-FriendlyEnvironments7.10 Preserve appropriate architectural design elements of thetwo-story, brick commercial buildings at 35th Street(Js Furniture)7.11 Encourage faade and signage improvements at the 38thStreet node.7.12 Improve the urban tree canopy in the segment from 33rd to40th Streets, and on the 3500 block in particular.7.13 Improve landscape maintenance around the Martin LutherKing Park building.Section-specific Recommendations 33RD Street - 40TH StreetUnderutilized commercial uses at37th Streetand 40th Street should be redesigned orredevelopedJs Furniture at 35th Street has somequality architectural elementsNicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 200046Nicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 20004740TH STREET TO 47TH STREETSee map page 49BackgroundCommercial and residential uses are generally betterdefined in this section than in the section from 33rd to 40th.The same mix of residential and commercial uses exists, butthe commercial nodes are better delineated and the residentialareas appear to be more stable.One area with a particularly strong neighborhood-servingcommercial flavor is the intersection of Nicollet and 43rd.Unique businesses, such as Anodyne Caf, Lufranos Restau-rant, Road Runner Records and the Odds-n-Ends shop, operatearound this intersection. This area has great potential to attractpedestrians because of its friendly pedestrian environment. Thehuman scale of the buildings, limited setbacks, and large shopwindows are inviting and create a sense of safety. Improve-ments to this area (such as pedestrian level lighting, awnings,improved tree canopy and other greenery) would serve to makethe area even more identifiable. 46th Street is the other strongcommercial node in this section. The Brueggers Bagel shop isa great reuse of the old fire station that formerly existed at thislocation. This node would also benefit from streetscape im-provements.The stability of the residential areas mentioned abovemay be due, in large part, to the presence of Martin LutherKing Park which covers four full city blocks between Nicolletand Stevens and 40th and 42nd. The park is the largest expanseof green along the entire Nicollet corridor. The amenity valueof the park combined with increasingly interesting topographyin the area creates a more pastoral residential environment.The edge of the park along Nicollet may be a good place for aseries public art installment that would create visual interestfor pedestrians and drivers. Buildings in this section aregenerally in good repair; however, most were constructed priorto 1930 and will need repair and maintenance.8 RecommendationsInvestment/Redevelopment8.1 Support and invest in the commercial node between42nd Street and mid-block south of and 43rd Street8.2 Encourage a mix of commercial and residential usesbetween 42nd and 43rd8.3 Establish a pedestrian overlay district between 42nd and43rd Streets (mid-block)Section-specific Recommendations40TH Street - 47TH StreetShops between 42nd Streetand 43rd Street are unique,pedestrian-friendly destinationsNicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 2000488.4 Encourage redevelopment of the underutilized commercialsite (currently a garage/workshop) on the west side of the4400 block as low-intensity commercial or residential.8.5 Encourage a light commercial/retail use to locate in theformer Kentucky Fried Chicken on the east side of Nicolletin the 4500 block8.6 Support and invest in commercial development at 46th Streetin order to capitalize on 35W access8.7 Create a business association encompassing nodes at 43rdand 46th Streets to promote unification, improve representa-tion, and to facilitate the exchange of information and ideasUrban Design/Pedestrian-FriendlyEnvironments8.8 Encourage storefront enhancements on the west side of the4200 block such as providing more transparent windowsand enhancing the historic quality of the block.8.9 Encourage landscape maintenance around Martin LutherKing Park Building.8.10 Rebuild retaining walls on the southwest end of the 4100blockOther8.11 Limit entrance and exit options to patrons of the shoppingcenter on the southwest corner of 46th Street intersection inorder to improve vehicle and pedestrian safety. Pursueposting entrance only and exit only signs on the northand south access points of the parking lot respectively. Posta right turn only sign at the parking lot exit.Section-specific Recommendations40TH Street - 47th StreetBrueggers Bagels is a great re-useof this old fire stationPosting entrance and exit signs andprohibiting left turns out of theparking lot at the 46th Street shoppingcenter could prevent some accidentsNicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 200049Section-specific Recommendations40TH Street - 47th StreetNicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 20005047TH STREET TO 56TH STREETSee map page 53BackgroundThis section of the avenue is packed with amenities:Minnehaha Creek meanders along the base of the gently rollinghills that comprise the Tangletown neighborhood. The top ofthe hill between 50th and 51st Streets affords a wonderful viewof downtown Minneapolis. Historic structures, such as theHarington Beard House and the Harry W. Jones House, aresprinkled throughout the area. The Lustron metal dwellings inthe 5000 block of Nicollet which were constructed in the late1940s have a unique appeal. In addition a number of institu-tional buildings, such as the Alexander Ramsey School and St.Johns Lutheran Church, contribute to the sense of place. Allof these amenities contribute to the high quality, well-main-tained and stable residential quality of the area.Problems along this section of the avenue, where theyexist, could largely be addressed by enhancing the pedestrianenvironment to a greater degree. Widened and improvedboulevards with trees and other green elements, pedestrianlevel lighting in some select areas, and fencing or landscapingalong parking lot edges could make the avenue a more comfort-able and safer place to be. Traffic speeds along the avenue alsodetract from the pedestrian environment. This problem is duein large part to the excessive road width, particularly over theMinnehaha Creek bridge. The bridge, which spans the creek atthe base of a hill has a landing strip quality which appears toencourage speeds in excess of the 30 MPH speed limit. On thebridge, a planted median strip or, at the very least, hangingflower baskets would slow traffic and greatly improve thebridges appearance.The commercial node at Diamond Lake Road (DLR) hastremendous potential to capitalize on pedestrian, bike, and autotraffic if an improved connection is made between the creekand the node. The node already receives a fair amount oftraffic from 35W. The four corners of this intersection havesome inherent pedestrian-friendly elements including human-scale buildings, limited setbacks and storefront windows.Street-side parking lots detract from this intersection. Theentire area could be assisted by streetscape improvements suchas lighting, landscaping and storefront improvements.Section-specific Recommendations47TH Street - 56TH StreetA view of the Minnehaha Creek trailfrom the Nicollet Avenue bridgeThe Harry Wild Jones house(constructed in 1887)Nicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 2000519 RecommendationsInvestment/Redevelopment9.1 Encourage site and design improvements of the neighbor-hood-serving businesses at the 47th Street node (RichfieldAuto, Last Tangle). If improved site and building designcannot be achieved, redevelopment as low- to medium-density residential should be considered9.2 Support and invest in commercial or office development atthe 48th Street node9.3 Preserve architectural or urban design elements of the two-story, brick commercial buildings at the 48th Street node.9.4 Improve pedestrian and bicycle access from MinnehahaParkway to Nicollet Avenue and the Diamond Lake Roadintersection9.5 Convert the former gas station on northeast corner of 54thStreet to a commercial/light retail use (potential sandwich/snack shop) to capture business from Minnehaha Parkway9.6 Encourage commercial development between 54th and DLRwhich incorporates urban design and pedestrian-friendlyelements9.7 Support and invest in commercial development at DiamondLake Road in order to capitalize on north and south boundaccess to 35W and improved access to Minnehaha Parkway9.8 Encourage home based businesses (particularly prominentin this section) that are compatible with residential uses9.9 Create a business association in this area to promoteunification, to improve representation, and to facilitate theexchange of information and ideasSection-specific Recommendations47TH Street - 56TH StreetThis former gas station at 54th Streetmay be a good spot for a snack/sandwich shop to serve people alongMinnehaha ParkwayThe design of the Nicollet Avenuebridge over Minnehaha Creek couldbe dramatically improvedNicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 200052Urban Design/Pedestrian-FriendlyEnvironments9.10 Provide an educational program for businesses on CrimePrevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED)9.11 When redeveloped, encourage Diamond Lake Automotive(on the southeast corner of the 54th Street intersection) torelocate with a limited front setback9.12 Improve pedestrian access to and views of MinnehahaCreek9.13 Use signage to promote improved access to and fromMinnehaha Creek and Nicollet Avenue9.14 Encourage the long-term redesign of the bridge overMinnehaha Creek by providing overlooks to the creek andtrail, pedestrian-level lighting, and landscaping9.15 To improve the aesthetics of the bridge in the near-term,encourage installation of landscaping in planters or basketsin a median strip or along the edgeOther9.16 Add bus shelters in locations where only bus stops andbenches currently exist to promote transit use9.17 Create a school bus pull-out lane at Ramsey School toincrease safety of school childrenSection-specific Recommendations47TH Street - 56TH StreetNicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 200053Section-specific Recommendations47TH Street - 56TH StreetNicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 20005456TH STREET TO 62ND STREETSee map page 57BackgroundChallengesIn terms of building character, this section of NicolletAvenue is undoubtedly the most diverse. The architecture ofevery decade from 1900 to 1990 is represented here from Jimsmens hairstyling shop on the southwest corner of 60th andNicollet (constructed prior to 1910) to Cub Foods, diagonallyacross the street (constructed after 1990). Not only is buildingcharacter incompatible, uses vary dramatically from lot to lot aswell. A prime example is the northwest corner of 60th andNicollet where Richfield Lutheran Church is located directlyadjacent to LeJeune Steel. City land use policy has shownlimited expectations for the area. The Plan for the 1980sidentified it as an appropriate area for a neighborhood shoppingfacility and light industry that would be small scale, employ asmall labor force, and have limited or no outdoor storage. The1999 Minneapolis Plan designates this intersection as a neigh-borhood commercial node.Perhaps as a result of this diversity in building types anduses and lack of clear direction, there seems to be an inabilityto commit to, and therefore invest in, any particular identity.While the primarily residential neighborhood north of 58thappears to be reasonably well-maintained, the area south of 58thStreet, where the diversity in building type and use becomesmost noticeable, is suffering. The housing stock generallyappears to be deteriorating, property maintenance is haphazard,and the litter problem is severe.Despite the abundance of high-density residences nearby(the City Limits Apartments, for example) and the likelygeneration of foot traffic, there has been little attempt to createan environment that makes pedestrians feel comfortable andsafe. In this area south of 58th Street the public space is verypoorly defined: there are no conveniently accessible greenspaces, no street trees, no boulevards, virtually no amenities ofany kind. Exacerbating this problem is the sea of asphalt thatexists in and around the Cub Foods site. Fencing and landscap-ing could help soften this bleak pedestrian environment in theshort term, but in the long term parking needs should be re-evaluated and infill development should be pursued.Section-specific Recommendations56TH Street - 62ND StreetJims Hairstyling shop (constructedprior to 1910) is an example of earlyarchitecture in this areaLeJeune Steel is located adjacent toa primarily residential area and achurchParking needs should be reevaluatedaround Cub FoodsNicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 200055OpportunitiesWhile the challenges mentioned above may seem over-whelming, there are opportunities to create an identity in thisarea. Assuming both market feasibility and a clear and strongstatement of intent for the area, this section of Nicollet couldmarket itself as a community service center. By incorporat-ing pedestrian-friendly elements and building upon uniquelocal elements (the historic 1910 commercial building, agateway to the city concept, etc), this area could serve theneeds of commuters on 35W and Highway 62 by providingservices such as a dry cleaner, a copy shop, a hair salon, andchild care services. This community service center could becreated around the amenity of the storm water holding pondwhich will be constructed at 60th Street and First Avenue Southin early 2000. Industrial uses that are well-contained andnicely designed can be consistent with this view of the future.If these improvements are not possible, the industry should berelocated.10 RecommendationsInvestment/Redevelopment10.1 Encourage improved site and building design of auto-oriented uses (Goodyear, Engfer Automotive, 58th StreetService Station) at the 58th Street node. If improved site andbuilding design cannot be achieved, the area should beredeveloped as commercial and residential mixed use,similar to that which currently exists on the northwestcorner (Diamond Lake Animal Hospital)10.2 Conduct a market analysis of the 60th Street intersection todetermine market capacity of the area10.3 Clarify city policy with regard to the 60th Street intersectionto allow for potential development of a community servicecenter10.4 Support and invest in commercial development of the 60thStreet node (Cub Foods, Richfield Lutheran Church) as acommunity service center. This center should accommo-date cars and drivers but not at the expense of pedestrians.Infill development with parking interior to the site, decora-tive fencing, landscaping, and provision of pedestrianamenities will make this area more inviting10.5 Encourage commercial/high density residential mixed usenear 60th Street10.6 Encourage the long-term relocation of Le Jeune SteelSection-specific Recommendations56TH Street - 62ND StreetThe current gateway toMinneapolis from Richfield could beimproved greatlyNicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 20005610.7 Explore opportunities to make area more vibrantcommercially10.8 Establish a new business association in the area (or reestab-lish the former Southwest Business Association) to encom-pass nodes at 58th Street, Diamond Lake Road and 60thStreet to promote unification, to improve representation,and to facilitate the exchange of information and ideasUrban Design/Pedestrian-Friendly Environments10.9 Encourage streetscape improvements at and around 60thStreet to enhance the pedestrian environment.10.10 Develop a Special Service District at the 60th street node tomaintain streetscape elements and to maintain property(litter pickup, graffiti removal, removal of posted bills, etc)10.11 Create a gateway to the city near 62nd Street that incorpo-rates design elements of the envisioned community servicecenter at 60th Street10.12 Encourage the proposed storm water holding pond at 1stAvenue and 60th Street to be developed as an amenity andpublic green spaceOther10.13 Study the impacts of the Crosstown freeway expansion andidentify ways to enhance and beautify this project, particu-larly the underside of the resulting tunnel over Nicollet10.14 Consider street redesign around 60th Street to addresspotential increased future traffic flow10.15 Improve pedestrian access to the bus stop at 60th Street nearCub Foods. This could involve the installation of a specialpedestrian crossing using decorative pavers, or patternedpavement.Section-specific Recommendations56TH Street - 62ND StreetThe design of auto-orientedbusinesses at 58th Street should beimprovedThe area around 60th Street could besuccessful as a community servicecenterNicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 200057Nicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 200058CONCLUSIONWhile this report marks the end of this planning effort, itis just the first step in actually creating positive change onNicollet Avenue. This document represents a common visionfor the future of the avenue and, as such, is a starting point.The revitalization of Nicollet Avenue as a continuous corridorwith a recognizable identity along which residents, workers,and visitors celebrate its many distinctly different and uniqueparts will require further hard work and dedication on the partof the City, neighborhoods, and businesses along NicolletAvenue. The Task Force hopes that this report will help inspirecontinued commitment to Nicollet Avenue.ConclusionNicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 200059REFERENCESBarton-Aschman Associates (for Loring, Stevens Square, and Whittier Neighborhoods), Nicollet Avenue Corridor Study: Grant St Lake Street, December 1994.City of Minneapolis Planning Department,Minneapolis Code of Ordinances, Title 20: Zoning Code,September 1998 (draft).City of Minneapolis Planning Department,The Minneapolis Plan,June 1999 (draft).City of Saint Paul,Design for Public Safety, December 1993.Close Landscape Architecture (for West Calhoun NRP),Excelsior Boulevard: Corridor Study for the West Calhoun NRP,January 1999 (draft).Crowe, Timothy, The Secure Store: A Clean, Well-lighted Place,1991.Crowe, Timothy, Understanding CPTED,Planning Commissioners Journal, n16,Fall 1994.Cuningham Group (for Lyndale Neighborhood Association),Lyndale Neighborhood Master Plan, June 1997.Damon Farber Associates (for Lyndale Neighborhood Development Corporation),Nicollet Avenue: Streetscape Design/Urban Design Planning Study,March 1997.ReferencesNicollet Avenue Task Force ReportMay 200060Economic Research Corporation (for MCDA), Market Study of Neighborhood Commercial Areas and Nodes:City of Minneapolis, June 1996.Lyndale Avenue Task Force,Lyndale Avenue: A Vision,March 1997.Kafka, Peter,Study Finds Commercial Node Overload,City Business,July 5-11, 1996.Killackey, Brent,Safe Environments, Southwest Journal,v10, n17 (September 8-21, 1999).Lunna, Rebecca,Eat Street,Mpls.St.Paul Magazine,August 1999.Martin & Pitz, (for Minneapolis Planning Department),Hennepin Avenue Strategic Plan:Sustaining the Spirit of the Avenue,March 1995.Park/Portland Task Force Report, 1996Town Planning Collaborative (for Minneapolis City Council),West Lake Street Urban Village Charrette,July 1998.References
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