After outcry, committee pauses plan to alter vehicle traffic on Minnehaha Parkway

At a tense meeting that exposed neighborhood opposition to long-term plans for redeveloping Minnehaha Parkway, a citizen-led committee decided Tuesday night to suspend its work to allow time for new studies to help determine if vehicles should be allowed to use the scenic boulevard as they do now.

The Citizen Advisory Committee, which is under the purview of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, made the move Tuesday in response to criticism of early versions of the Minnehaha Regional Trail Master Plan, which called for new concrete medians at four key intersections — at Nicollet and Lyndale avenues, as well as both places where the roadway intersects with 50th Street near Portland Avenue — to force drivers to turn right off the parkway and onto nearby residential streets. 

The proposal aimed to reduce traffic volume to give priority to bicyclists and pedestrians, essentially by eliminating the option to drive continuously along Minnehaha Creek, and spurred opposition from people who said it would cause them inconvenience or detract from allowing everyone — even motorists — to experience the park. 

But now the committee wants to scale back those plans. It will now partner with an outside consulting firm to study traffic on the parkway over the summer and then use that information to reconvene in the fall. The committee will ultimately recommend a version of the master plan — which will guide development of the parkway over the next 20 to 30 years — to the Park Board, which will have the final say on the document. 

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"After outcry, committee pauses plan to alter vehicle traffic on Minnehaha Parkway"; By Jessica Lee; MinnPost; July 10, 2019

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