GIF of the Day: Hennepin-Lyndale Bottleneck Through the Years

Reconstruction of Minneapolis’ Hennepin/Lyndale bottleneck has begun. There will be traffic tweaks and some much needed bike/pedestrian improvements, but this reconstruction won’t be a radical makeover of the kind Scott Shaffer proposed over a year ago. Scott suggested we “drop the spaghetti bowl” (a “mess of undulating streets and arcing flyover ramps to and from the freeway, and wide swaths of dirty, grassy land between and underneath them”) and fill it in with businesses, homes, and people.

There was such a time, before the spaghetti bowl, and I have GIF’d it (using maps from this archive).

animated gif of hennepin lyndale bottleneck through the years

For those susceptible to GIF-induced seizures:

Hennepin Lyndale Bottleneck 1938-2015

They didn’t have spaghetti bowls or GIFs back in 1938. is a non-profit and is volunteer run. We rely on your support to keep the servers running. If you value what you read, please consider becoming a member.

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11 Responses to GIF of the Day: Hennepin-Lyndale Bottleneck Through the Years

  1. Mike Sonn
    Mike Sonn September 4, 2015 at 8:36 am #

    1961-1967 breaks my heart.

    • Adam Miller
      Adam Miller September 4, 2015 at 9:51 am #

      And a huge chunk of city.

    • Lindsey Wallace
      Lindsey Wallace September 4, 2015 at 12:38 pm #

      Ugh, me too. Think about how walkable and accessible the area between Whittier/Steven’s Square/Loring Park would be without that dang freeway.

    • Justin September 15, 2015 at 10:04 pm #

      Constantly amazed at what passed for progressive, smart city planning back in the 60s. What a tragic move. That corridor isn’t exactly an efficient drive thru area anyways.

  2. Eric Anondson
    Eric Anondson September 4, 2015 at 9:06 am #

    That’s a lot of valuable land liquidated for pass through convenience.

    An interesting hypothetical would be adding up value of the lots, speculating on demographic trends, no street car removal, etc., what the revenue was (could have been) that the city lost by the inner city freeway scars.

    • Matt Steele
      Matt Steele September 4, 2015 at 11:02 am #

      I think Alex Cecchini did that, though I can’t find the post. It’s over 10% of the tax base that was lost in making Minneapolis a place to drive through rather than a place to be.

  3. Nick Sortland
    Nick Sortland September 4, 2015 at 3:26 pm #

    All it is, is a glorified on and off ramp for the freeway. I think the firm hired over engineered it for the money they got from the job. Just get rid of all of it, re-striping is not enough. Plus the city would get more taxable land returning it to parcels that are then able to be developed.

  4. Nick Sortland
    Nick Sortland September 4, 2015 at 3:39 pm #

    Also I think its an embarrassment how we treat The Walker there. We got ‘star-chitects’ to design the new museum, and we have it next to freeway grade giant signs, an ugly huge roadway, complete with cobra street lamps. Way to go DOT, destroying calm environments and keeping the pedestrian down seems to be what they are good at.

  5. David Markle
    David Markle September 4, 2015 at 7:06 pm #

    Not to mention the empire-building Walker’s own insensitive treatment of their environment by successfully pushing the demolition of the Rapson-Guthrie designed theater. (And the insensitivity of the like-minded Guthrie board who earlier put that glass canopy on the theater.)

  6. Arthur Himmelman September 8, 2015 at 8:33 am #

    Speaking of wanting to avert your eyes, only the “new” Walker perfectly compliments the freeways running through what used to be an appealing part of Minneapolis. Ugly found ugly on for buildings and roads.

  7. John Dillery September 8, 2015 at 11:25 am #

    I appreciate this visionary discussion of making these points in the urban core more for people again. I am troubled by a missing element though. Transit right of way. The bottleneck is one of the most important transit corridors in the whole state. Let’s talk about how some of the space liberated from I-94 access / egress ramps can be re-used for an elevated transit-way to avoid congestion in the bottle neck and with appropriate station locations, convert thousands of trips in the area to transit! Bikes can’t do it all. Think truly big picture, please.

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