The City of Minneapolis and Hennepin County are partnering to improve the pedestrian space along Cedar Avenue in the West Bank neighborhood. Project elements include the following:
- Reconstruct sidewalks from 3rd Street S to 7th Street S - replacing curbs on the west side of the street to expand sidewalk space
- Save the existing trees whenever possible, but plant new trees as needed
- Replace tree grates
- Install pedestrian lighting
- Reconfigure Cedar Avenue from a 4-lane to a 3-lane roadway, adding parking to the west side of the street
The Mineapolis City Council's Transportation and Public Works Committee approved the layout for the project at their April 1, 2014 meeting. Additional actions taken on the project such as assessments and additional funding can be found on the July 8th and July 22nd Transportation and Public Works Committee agendas.
In 2010, the City of Minneapolis applied for and was awarded a Transit Oriented Development grant by Hennepin County with the intent to improve the pedestrian space along Cedar Avenue. The main goals of the project were to support businesses and pedestrians leading up to the opening of the Green Line West Bank light rail station by addressing the poor condition of the sidewalks.
The City Council approved matching funding for this grant in early 2012, which allowed for preliminary design to begin on the project. In the early stages of work on the design it was discovered that grades on the sidewalk and condition of the existing curb made it difficult to design a sidewalk that met current safety standards. County and City staff spent much of 2012 and early 2013 considering design solutions that would allow for a safe design for pedestrians.
The result of that work can be seen in the "materials" section above. The County and City are converting Cedar Avenue in this area from a 4-lane + one side parking configuration to a 3-lane + one side parking configuration (from approximately 3rd Street S to 7th Street S). This allows for the expansion of the sidewalks on the west side of Cedar Avenue to be approximately as wide as the sidewalks on the east side of the street. It also allows for a gentler grade on the sidewalk, which is required by safety standards.
City staff organized and attended several meetings over the past several years to develop the scope and nature of the project. The West Bank Community Coalition, Cedar Riverside Partnership, West Bank Business Association, and Pedestrian Advisory Committee all offered important feedback throughout the planning process for this project.