It’s Time to Make Lyndale Avenue More than a Corridor for Cars

Recently, I talked to someone who moved back to Minneapolis from Oregon after many years away. They were looking for apartments on Lyndale Avenue and shared: “I never would have considered living there in the past. Who wants to live next to what is basically a highway?” Thanks to recent reconstruction, Lyndale has started to transform from a dangerous arterial to a livable corridor. 

In 2022, Hennepin County reduced a stretch of Lyndale from four travel lanes to three, with one dedicated turning lane and pedestrian islands at key intersections. With average driving speeds dropping from 39 miles per hour to 29 miles per hour, the street has become dramatically safer. People walking feel more comfortable. Businesses along the corridor are expressing support for the changes. Lyndale is becoming an enjoyable destination for residents and visitors alike.  

But this is just the first step in a much longer journey. While Lyndale is much safer to walk and drive down, it has a long way to go. Lacking dedicated bike or bus lanes, the street is dangerous, unwelcoming, and inaccessible for those outside a vehicle. While easier to cross than before, Lyndale’s narrow sidewalks make it less pleasant to walk along than one of the most vibrant commercial corridors should be. 

Screenshot of an episode of The Wedge Live Podcast from July 5, 2023
showcasing the new median at the intersection of Lyndale Avenue South and 27th Street

Right now, we have the chance to create long-term change for this important street. Hennepin County is reconstructing Lyndale from Franklin Avenue to Lake Street in 2026 — a process where the entire road is rebuilt from scratch. This presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to redesign this section of Lyndale in a way that better reflects the community’s priorities

We need a truly inclusive, accessible street that accommodates all the different ways our communities want and need to get around. A thoughtful design with protected bikeways, convenient bus rapid transit service, and a walkable, accessible streetscape will ensure all of us can get where we need to go.

Here’s what that could look like for transit, biking and walking, as well as for businesses and, of course, climate change:


Lyndale Avenue deserves dedicated bus lanes and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) stops, for fast and frequent public transit access. The existing Metro Transit 4 line would make for an amazing BRT corridor, with convenient transfers to the B Line along Lake Street (scheduled for completion late in 2024) and the E, F, Blue and Green lines running through downtown Minneapolis. Huge swaths of the city — not to mention St. Paulites — could be given fast, convenient access to Lyndale Avenue.

Remember when you had to cross four lanes of traffic?
31st and Lyndale by jpellgen CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


Lyndale Avenue deserves a dedicated, separated bike lane. Cycling culture is strong in south Minneapolis, yet people who bike on Lyndale are forced to either ride in dangerous conditions on the road or endanger pedestrians on the sidewalk. Cars driving along Lyndale pass at unsafe distances, forcing cyclists to ride too close to parked cars and endure the constant threat of getting doored.

People on bikes who take the full car lane infuriate drivers, who illegally pass in the turning lane. A dedicated, curb-height bike lane would bring people on bikes to local businesses along Lyndale rather than cyclists bypassing them altogether by diverting to safer accommodations on Bryant Avenue.

Lyndale Avenue is still missing a bike-friendly connection from Franklin Avenue to the Loring Greenway.

Lyndale is an especially choice target for a separated bike lane because it connects the Midtown Greenway with the Loring Greenway. As St. Paul’s Capital City Bikeway notoriously illustrates, a bike lane is only as good as its connectivity with a wider, high-quality bicycle network. Lyndale Avenue is a critical missing piece to our city’s bikeway puzzle.


Lyndale deserves expansive sidewalks. Whether we bike, bus, drive or roll, we all need to use the sidewalk at some point in our journey. A wider sidewalk would give people who walk and roll a level of dignity that a major city like ours can and should provide. 


Lyndale deserves thriving businesses with abundant customers of all backgrounds. There’s no arguing that making a street more accessible to different types of travel creates numerous benefits. Bus riders contribute significantly to the local economy. In study after study after study, research has shown that bicycle infrastructure brings increased business to commercial districts. 

Yet business owners often point to empty bike racks. This does not need to be the case. The lack of bike traffic is a direct result of a lack of infrastructure. After all, who wants to bike down a street as crowded, car-choked and unsafe as Lyndale? 

Avenue Mont-Royal in Montreal is a lively, car-free commercial corridor (author photo).

Businesses shouldn’t have to rely on people who drive. We can make our streets safe for families to walk to shops with their children or ride their bikes from adjacent neighborhoods for happy hour. Our current street design deprives our businesses of local dollars by falsely conflating customers with parking spots. If we give people more choices, more people will patronize our businesses.

Better Choices

Regardless of whether we own a car, all of us deserve to have access to and along Lyndale Avenue. We know that people choose not to drive when presented with other, better options. Research has shown that reducing space for cars and making space for people using other modes of transportation reduces congestion. Lyndale Avenue is already a great example: Traffic has stayed more or less the same despite the number of car lanes being cut in half.


Lyndale Avenue deserves to be a model for meeting our city — and state — goals for a healthy climate. Reducing driving is essential to curbing climate pollution and ensuring we all have healthy air to breathe. Every day, here in Minneapolis and across the globe, our car-centric transportation is causing devastating harm with catastrophic consequences. With Lyndale Avenue, we can create a better future. 

Join Us to Advocate for a Livable Lyndale

Hennepin County has a useful webpage on the reconstruction and is looking for community input. If you care about Lyndale’s future, now is a great time to get involved and speak up.

  • Take the survey on the project website.
  • And attend the open house this Thursday, August 24, 4 to 6 p.m. at the Jungle Theater just north of Lake and Lyndale to provide feedback on the reconstruction.
Livable Lyndale logo courtesy of Move Minnesota

This redesigned Lyndale Avenue South will stay in place for decades, so it’s important we seize the moment to get it right. Together we can envision and fight for a Lyndale where it’s easy to walk, roll, bike, and bus. A Lyndale that is welcoming for people of every age, race, and ability. A Lyndale that is climate-friendly.

Learn more about the Livable Lyndale campaign to be part of this transformation!

Photo at top of Open Streets Lyndale 2016 is by Fibonacci Blue CC BY 2.0

About Jeremy Winter

Hey! I'm Jeremy; I live in Powderhorn, Minneapolis and I like bikes, buses, local history, and politics. Transportation and land use are important political and historical topics! I contribute to the Streets.MN podcast as my own small way of building urbanist rapport in the Twin Cities. I find joy through a car-lite life and hope to spread that joy as best I can!