Thinking ahead to what the results would be of a new Streetcar system in the Midtown Greenway and envisioning strategies to meet those results before it becomes reality was the topic of a study by four CURA students from the Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota.
Blending Midtown Greenway Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Streetcar Traffic with existing Lake Street businesses, traffic and culture
Jeremy Jones, Simon Blenski, Nicole Doran, and Kyle Weimann presented the results of their study recently to a combined meeting of the Boards of the Midtown Greenway Coalition and the Lake Street Council. Here are their recommendations on connecting a new Midtown Greenway streetcar line with the existing Lake Street and vicinity business community and activity:
- Small businesses must be actively engaged
- to ensure the business ecosystem is not disrupted
- so that businesses are not priced out of the market.
- Encourage and support more commerce in the Greenway trench, such as the Freewheel Bike Center.
- Consider implementing a larger Greenway-Lake Street Improvement District
- to assist with maintenance and
- consistent branding.
Development at Streetcar Stations
At the various stations, they recommended:
- branding with icons to reinforce identity and memory
- preserving the Greenway character,
- a business node presence,
- and connections to various transit, biking, and pedestrian options clearly marked.
Uptown Station; land use that is mixed use, mixed density, and transit oriented. Buildings should be aligned to engage the Greenway.
Chicago Ave. Station; be placed for close connection to the Midtown Greenway stairs up to Lake Street. Chicago & Lake already has several positive attributes for a streetcar connection, including a mix of local & regional destinations and the Chicago-Lake Transit Station.
Bloomington Ave. Station; a transformation into an interactive neighborhood space. The connection to and from Lake Street could be enhanced with lighting and public art. They also suggested creating a neighborhood destination near this Greenway streetcar stop, such as an amphitheater.
The students briefly touched on recommendations for other streetcar stations as well, including wayfinding, pedestrian, and aesthetic considerations, and redevelopment of Nicollet Ave.
The students ended with recommendations for the future:
- ensure plans are compatible with the Greenway Corridor rezoning,
- develop strategies for small businesses,
- engage stakeholders,
- and work toward a vision of a cohesive Midtown corridor that includes both the Greenway and Lake Street.