Walk the Talk: Street Reconstructions Abound

Editor’s noteWalk the Talk is Streets.mn’s carefully curated, highly partisan collection of both serious and fun-loving events, community meetings and opportunities for engagement that we think will interest our readers. Email your ideas to Hawken Habig, one of our daily editors, at hawkenhabig@gmail.com.

Olson Memorial Highway Design Alternatives — meeting, Tuesday, March 26; survey, through April 9

Design Alternative 4 for Olson Memorial Highway. Courtesy of MnDOT.

We have covered the Olson Memorial Highway project quite a lot in this series, presenting the innumerable steps of development along the way. Now, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) has released its four design alternatives for the highway, available through this survey. The different designs vary considerably: all of them have some sort of bike facilities, but only three have dedicated right-of-way for buses; some are symmetrical, whereas others have space for different modes on opposite sides of the corridor. Notably, none of the options presented would decrease the footprint of the corridor. If you use the corridor in any capacity, I highly encourage you to let MnDOT know your thoughts on the design alternatives. The survey will be open until April 9.

Additionally, MnDOT will host a community workshop at Summit Academy OIC on Tuesday, March 26, at 4:30 p.m., where participants can provide further feedback on the choices. Check it out if you can!

Purple Line Community Engagement Meetings — March 28 and April 2

Potential lane configuration for the Purple Line along part of its White Bear Avenue alignment. Courtesy of Metro Transit.

In the last edition of Walk the Talk, we covered recent updates for the Purple Line in the east metro, including a brief mention of upcoming community events. As a reminder, here is a list of those engagement sessions:

  • Thursday, March 28, 12-1:30 p.m., virtually over Microsoft Teams
  • Tuesday, April 2, 5-7 p.m., Ames Lake Community Room in St. Paul

More information on the Purple Line may be found here, where you can also sign up to receive future updates on the project.

Move Minneapolis Webinar: Expanded Staff on Public Transit —Tuesday, April 2, 12-1 p.m.

Metro Transit has been the subject of increased concern due to safety issues over the past few years, as unlawful incidents have increased across the system, particularly on the region’s light rail lines. In response, Metro Transit acquired funding to roll out its Safety and Security Action Plan last year. The latest step of the initiative came last month, when the agency debuted its team of 24 Transit Rider Investment Program (TRIP) agents. The team will inspect fares, help riders with information and provide a “visible, official presence” for “safe, welcoming system,” according to Metro Transit General Manager Lesley Kandaras. In light of these recent developments, Move Minneapolis will be hosting an online webinar with Kandaras, as well as TRIP Program Manager Leah Palmer and Senior Manager of Equity & Inclusion Celina Martina, for a review of Metro Transit’s new program.  Click here to find out more and register for the event.

Minnesota State Rail Plan Update

MnDOT has initiated a public engagement campaign for the new State Rail Plan, which I mentioned earlier this year was in development. Well, now there’s a new plan! That includes a brief online survey, where respondents are queried on multiple facets of passenger rail (safety, frequency, potential new routes) so that MnDOT may determine priorities moving forward. Also available is an online, interactive map, where you can drop comments about crossings, stations, needed repairs and more. Details about the new State Rail Plan may be found here.

Canvass to Build Support for Livable Lyndale — Saturday, March 23, 1-3 p.m.

Lyndale Avenue South is up for reconstruction in 2026 — and Hennepin County is currently in the process of choosing a design. The street received an impactful upgrade last year, when the city converted its four lanes of travel into two, with a center turn lane. But the county has the ability to expand on that design, by emphasizing multimodal transportation in the form of expanded sidewalks, bicycle paths and better service for transit. That is where the Livable Lyndale initiative comes in: The group of advocates, in partnership with Move Minnesota, are pushing the county for a better design on Lyndale. Hennepin County is expected to release design concepts within the next month, but there is still a need to demonstrate commitment on behalf of Lyndale, which is why there will be a canvassing session in support of Livable Lyndale on Saturday, March 23. You can also sign your name to the campaign’s petition.

For a more in-depth look at Lyndale Avenue and the push for better multimodal transportation along the corridor, check out this excellent article by Andrew Jewell!

About Hawken Habig

Hawken is a student of Urban Studies at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and a copy editor at Streets.mn. He also composes Streets.mn's bi-weekly event listing "Walk the Talk;" email any ideas for events or opportunities to hawkenhabig@gmail.com!