Minnehaha Avenue reconstruction: Details from Hennepin County public input meetings


Thursday night (7/11/13), Hennepin County held two meetings to discuss the Minnehaha Avenue reconstruction – an afternoon meeting was held for business owners, and an evening meeting was held for residents.

Both meetings started with presentations by Nick Peterson from Hennepin County and CJ Fernandez of LBH. They were followed by an open forum – a time for attendees to voice concerns and ask questions. While some of the questions were answered at the meeting, Hennepin County plans to address the more in-depth questions online as well as at the next community meeting (not yet scheduled).

This is the first of two articles on the Minnehaha Avenue Reconstruction meeting, it will cover the details presented at the meetings. The second article will cover the forum portion of the meeting.

Roadway concepts illustrate the two options: bike lanes (top) and cycle track (below). Image courtesy of Hennepin County.

Minnehaha Avenue Reconstruction Details

Current Stats:

  • 9,000-12,000 cars travel Minnehaha Avenue per day, with 11,000-14,000 cars projected to travel the Avenue in the next 20 years.
  • 200-500 cyclists use the roadway daily (approximate number). Projected cyclist numbers are not available.
  • 200-400 pedestrians use the roadway daily (approximate number). Projected pedestrian numbers are not available.


  • The roadway was recently found to be the third safest arterial corridor for cyclists in a bike crash study by the city.
  • The roadway has elevated vehicle crash rates up and down the corridor.
  • There have been five pedestrian crashes in the last three years.

Bump Outs:

  • Shorten the crossing distance by approximately 20 feet up and down the corridor.
  • Help control vehicle movement (cars will be unable to pass left-turning cars on the right side of the road).
  • Increase pedestrian visibility.

Bike Lanes:

  • Offer continuity with existing bike lane facilities at each end of the corridor.
  • Parallel the roadway condition (wouldn’t need additional plowing in the winter).
  • Would require an estimated removal of 49 trees, 1/3 of which would happen at 46th Street. Trees would be replaced; however, the County doesn’t know how many trees would be replanted.
  • Loss of 175 parking spaces out of 700 spots currently.
  • It is possible to add a buffer to the bike lane, it would not need to be designed the way it is currently.

Cycle Track:

  • Transition would be needed at each end of the corridor to move cyclists from bike lanes to the cycle track.
  • Would require an estimated removal of 97 trees. Trees would be replaced; however, the County doesn’t know how many trees would be replanted.
  • Loss of 230 parking spaces out of 700 spots currently.

Bus Stops:

  • Size and design is based on recommendations by Metro Transit and ADA guidelines.

Area Enhancements:

  • The County has also begun to consider area enhancements, such as additional green spaces, pocket parks, and improving the triangle parks. These enhancements would be a place for gathering, community art, and a way to manage storm water.
  • These enhancements are based on the results of the Minnehaha-Hiawatha Strategic Investment Framework.
  • This portion of the project is just in the initial stages of consideration.


  • Since the roadway is designated a pedestrian-priority corridor, pedestrian-level lighting will be installed.
  • This cost will not be assessed to property owners or businesses on Minnehaha Avenue.


  • Hennepin County does not yet have estimates for the cost of this project.
  • The fee that home owners and businesses will be assessed is based on a rate set by the City Council, called the uniform assessment rate. This rate is set yearly, and in 2013 the construction rate per square foot for residential property was $0.80 and $2.39 for businesses.

Final Recommendation:

The County recommends that bike lanes be installed on the roadway due to the number of intersections and visibility issues. The County believes that pedestrians and cyclists would not be as visible with cycle tracks. The most recent bike crash report from the City found that 81% of crashes happened at intersections and that a significant portion of the crashes were due to limited visibility. The County also recommends bike lanes because of the impact that the cycle track would have on parking and the trees.

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