Two new apartment buildings are rising in the view from my 3rd floor Whittier apartment. I was often enamored with the landscape I could witness but now the feeling is gone, ruined by these housing units. The building immediately adjacent to mine stands six stories tall, towering over my home by two floors. It has taken away probably half of the afternoon’s direct sunlight, jeopardizing the vitality of some of my plants and my vitamin D absorption. Also, it has created many more potential opportunities to make awkward eye contact across the alley with new neighbors. The second building has not had much of an effect on my day-to-day because it is across the street and now out of view, it more so doubles down on the penalty this area is receiving for postponing increased development for so long. Though these changes will take some adjusting too, I am sure to be fine and the city will prosper.
The past year has certainly been unpleasant. When the process began in June of last year with the tear down of the Mortimer’s annex and the parking lot, I knew it was going to be rough. I would find out shortly just how rough when the large construction trucks ran consistently from dawn till noon just removing dirt and packing sand into the ground for more than 4 weeks. It was unlucky to draw the short stick with the morning shift. They couldn’t have at least alternated from week to week? It took about three months for the exterior to be completed and now the noise is limited to short sessions of buzz sawing and dropping waste materials multiple floors into the dumpster in the alley. Though this project has disrupted my beauty sleep, I am optimistic that this is the right move for the area.
The Franklin and Lyndale intersection (#Frankdale) is ripe for more housing investment. It is a neighborhood between neighborhoods, sitting at the corners of Whittier, Lowry Hill East, as well as major access to downtown and I-94. The transit availability is vast with high frequency bus routes on Lyndale, Franklin, and Hennepin (4, 2, and 6). There is quick access to the University of Minnesota with three routes that operate at select times during the morning and afternoon (113, 114, and 115). The 113 for instance will take you from #Frankdale to Wiley Hall on the University campus in less than ten minutes on normal mornings. From there, you can board the Green Line at East Bank Station. The added density with these new and future units could allow Metro Transit to increase service for an area that very much deserves it.
#Frankdale is a hub of bustling businesses. I am sure you have been blocked driving south by someone trying to turn left into the Wedge Co-op parking lot during busy traffic. With a liquor store, dry cleaners, pet store, pharmacy, several bars and more within the space, new residents will immediately have access to many amenities within walking distance. Though the area feels congested already, these new apartment buildings will not affect that much as most residents will be able to live in and enjoy the area easily by foot.
Lest we forget the bikes, #Frankdale sits within mere blocks of a few of the cities best bikeways. It is two short blocks to the Bryant Bike Boulevard. It’s just seven blocks to the Midtown Greenway, passing 26th Street and 28th Street on the way. It is four short blocks from the Blaisdell One-Way. Adding better biking infrastructure on Franklin could make this area of Whittier and the Wedge the best for biking in Minneapolis. Any way you shake it, the triangle is a great place to live. There are other locations like #Frankdale across Minneapolis but access can be restricted if the city blocks housing. The change will take some adjusting to and the process of change can be just downright burdensome, but the city is getting it right here. I am willing to put up with the turmoil of change knowing everything will be fine in the end, and I hope you will too.
Not so sure about Frankdale. How about Lynlin?
Why not Frank-Lyn? When you split it like that, you can recreate both street names as portmonteaus
Just add an “en.”
Admittedly, I am trying to create a new hashtag. I’m open to other options. I don’t like Frank-Lyn though cause that just sounds like Franklin.
I can’t tell how much of you exposition is supposed to be sarcastic and how much is to be taken at face value. The first paragraph seems sarcastic, while the second appears genuine.
Not that I am interested in judging either viewpoint, I just honestly can’t tell the difference.
The experiences and feeling expressed in the first paragraph are real but also superficial so I did mean to add an air of sarcasm.
FACT CHECK: your bio says Wedge, but your post says Whittier. Pick a side.
Oh my, I knew you’d be looming with a fact check. I’ll need to update my bio. I choose Whittier all the way.
I’ve only ever heard “Frank-Lyn”, which I think makes more sense. Nice post, although this sort of jumped out at me:
“Lest we forget the bikes, #Frankdale sits within mere blocks of a few of the cities best bikeways. It is two short blocks to the Bryant Bike Boulevard. It’s just seven blocks to the Midtown Greenway, passing 26th Street and 28th Street on the way. It is four short blocks from the Blaisdell One-Way.”
It’s good to have a positive attitude about your neighborhood, but let’s get real here… Blaisdell and Bryant are not the “cities best bikeways”. Bryant is simply a side street with no helpful traffic control across 3 busy streets in the space of a mile (Franklin, 26th, 28th) — it’s arguably even worse to bike on than a regular side street because of the speed bumps every hundred feet. This section of Blaisdell has a tight 5′ gutter lane jammed next to high-speed traffic exiting downtown. And even that’s an upgrade for many from just a couple blocks north, where bikes have an “enhanced sharrow” on LaSalle.
And Franklin, as you note, has nothing at all except sidewalks or a lane to control. High-density development like this highlights the need to add bike facilities on Franklin and to drastically improve the existing bikeways.
(No complaints about 26th or 28th — those are well-done)
One thing I’ve learned in the hubbub over 26th and 28th is that they aren’t really all that busy over by Bryant (they are farther east), but yeah, a stop sign would be good.
The main advantage to Bryant between the Greenway and downtown, though, is that it gets enough rush hour bike traffic for there to be some safety in numbers. Maybe critical mass can overcome subpar infrastructure (assuming you can somehow induce it anyway).
I second this challenge, Sean, as someone who lives nearby and uses all these bike “facilities.”
Out Streets’ downtown bikeway group is working to get the LaSalle/Blaisdell and 1st Ave protected bikeways in the city’s bike plan implemented, and that has to address the problem of sharrows on LaSalle.
Bryant is pretty decent as bike boulevards go north of 26th. There are speed bumps, and while I only am through there maybe 10 times per year, drivers are pretty chill about bikers there.
“Strolling” up that section Bryant on street view is pretty fun. Lots of people, not may cars.
As someone who rides the Bryant stretch north of Lake Street and north of 26th, drivers are mostly chill, but I get buzzed and harassed more than one might think. If I were riding with a young child, I might choose Aldrich or Colfax over Bryant, because Bryant has fewer stop signs and therefore gets used as a cut-through for impatient drivers. It’s fine but not great.
Bike Boulevards are by no means ideal bike infrastructure but of the one’s available, I’d say Bryant through the Wedge has some of the best design elements. The streets are narrow enough so that two cars cannot pass each other comfortably. I do like that there are not stop signs as you cross 22nd and 27th, giving some priority to the bike way, though local car traffic might abuse that privilege despite the speed bumps. Other Boulevards I’ve seen in the city are wider and don’t have speed bumps.
Blaisdell has a lot of utility but you’re right Sean, it is not the most comfortable. Maybe one day the City will extend north the protection they have south of Lake.
Yes, I agree, it has utility, and is a fairly zippy route. I actually dislike 1st Ave (NB) more than Blaisdell SB, since it is so tightly packed with parked cars. When I’d take this route regularly, I would generally take 1st from 40th to Cecil Newman/29th, then go over to Nicollet right away. The 3-lane section was actually more comfortable than that door zone lane on 1st.
More recent project south of Lake (and older buffered laned project on 1st from 32nd to 40th) are both promising that we can do better.
Yeah Bryant Bike Boulevard is bad.
“It has taken away probably half of the afternoon’s direct sunlight, jeopardizing the vitality of some of my plants and my vitamin D absorption.”
I would be curious to know how much the heating costs will increase to the property. I would guess they would not know that information until next winter.