The plan to remake Minnehaha Parkway in southwest Minneapolis keeps drawing the ire of neighbors.
First, there was a controversial proposal for medians to block some intersections and divert traffic. That’s been scrapped.
Then, a group of neighbors raised concerns — and planted “Preserve the Parkway” signs — in response to proposed changes near Nicollet Avenue and at the east end of the parkway.
Now, another group of neighbors to the west is gathering signatures on a petition in hopes of blocking plans to close a portion of the parkway near 50th Street.
A recent traffic study supports the plan to close a segment of the parkway just south of 50th Street where it crosses Minnehaha Creek near the Lynnhurst Recreation Center. The study suggests 1,900 vehicles a day would be affected and a majority of drivers would simply reroute a block west to James Avenue, then take 51st Street to rejoin the parkway.
“I’m horrified,” said Beth Ashbrook, who lives near 51st and James.
Neighborhood streets already handle the traffic of parents dropping kids off at nearby Burroughs Elementary School and people going to Sunday services at Mount Olivet Lutheran Church. Bringing more traffic to the neighborhood would put kids, bicyclists and pedestrians in even greater danger, she said.
“It’s a death trap,” Ashbrook said. “Nobody wants this.”
Tensions in the Lynnhurst neighborhood have been rising since the traffic plan was formulated by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s Community Advisory Committee, which is charged with shaping the Minnehaha Parkway Regional Trail Master Plan.
Ashbrook says the committee isn’t listening to residents. She started an online petition that had almost 500 signatures by late Sunday, a last attempt to get the committee to change its mind before a January vote.
“I am trying to raise awareness of the issue and the implication to those who live here,” Ashbrook said. “We love the parkway like it’s our own yard, and we take care of it. We don’t need new infrastructure.”
New Hourcar options
Electric scooters and Nice Ride bikes have been picked up for the season, and that limits transportation choices for those who don’t own a car.
Hourcar hopes to fill the void with its new flexible “Wintercar” option. The four-month membership allows users access to vehicles from December to April for $100. The membership is available only for new members.
With winter driving in mind, Hourcar has added more all-wheel-drive vehicles to its 55-vehicle fleet, and last week the company finished putting snow tires on all two-wheel-drive cars, said Hourcar CEO Paul Schroeder.
Electric vehicles are eventually coming to Hourcar, too. It plans to add 150 electric vehicles in 2021, Schroeder said.
Hourcar will expand to Rochester starting Dec. 9. It will station five vehicles in downtown ramps with the goal of having 10 cars available in three years.
“Rochester has been a destination we have been eyeing for a while,” Schroeder said. “Growth is happening, and there is a need for transportation options as congestion and parking congestion are increasing.”
The city hopes car sharing will help it cut the number of trips made by cars carrying only one person by 20% over the next 20 years.
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