Updates

Hennepin Avenue Listening Session January 20th at 5 PM. Join elected officials online to share your experiences and what matters to you! Share your thoughts on Public Works' multimodal layout. What are your experiences on Hennepin Avenue right now? What kind of community corridor do you dream it can be?

Listening Session

Share your experiences and hopes for the future with elected officials this Thursday, January 20th! We’re co-hosting a Hennepin Avenue online listening session with Move Minnesota.

This is your chance to tell policymakers what you think.

Are you looking forward to a faster commute with 24/7 bus lanes? A safer biking experience to access all the great local businesses on Hennepin Avenue? A more livable neighborhood? Sidewalk dining where you can actually hear the other people at your table? Safety features for pedestrians? A better driving experience? We know the current street doesn’t work for people who walk, bus, roll, bike or drive. It’s important that your voice is heard. The opposition is making plenty of noise.

For meeting link, sign up for our email list.

Hennepin for People supports city's proposed plan for Hennepin Ave. South

Q&A with Hennepin for People

One of our co-founders answered questions from the SW Connector:

Question: Please talk about who you are, how you are connected to this area, and how you use Hennepin Ave. 

Answer: I’ve lived in the Wedge neighborhood (just east of Hennepin Ave) for almost 10 years. I choose to live here because it’s walkable to grocery stores, shops and other destinations. It’s also served well by transit and has good biking infrastructure. I mainly experience Hennepin on foot or transit to access all our local businesses and to get to Lake of the Isles, Bde Maka Ska, Loring Park and the Sculpture Garden. I co-founded Hennepin for People because as a woman of color I know how our streets don’t serve everyone well. For generations, city streets were built solely with car travel in mind, at the expense of the Black, brown, and Indigenous communities who experience the most traffic related fatalities (followed by seniors and children). I want a reconstructed Hennepin that ensures safe and comfortable passage for everyone who uses the street on a daily basis, no matter how they travel . And if you depend on your car, I care about your safety too. Nobody is served well by the high speeds and reckless behavior encouraged by the existing design of this street.     

Question: How has the first half of the Hennepin Ave. reconstruction project been for your/self/family/business? What parts do you like and what don’t you?

Answer: My preference was for a more ambitious design for Hennepin south of Lake Street  but it was implemented before the Transportation Action Plan was adopted. I appreciate the pedestrian improvements and the inclusion of bike lanes. It would have been better for the bike lanes to have been concrete protected or at sidewalk level to deter drivers from parking in the bike lanes. I would like to see more greenery, public seating, and dedicated bus lanes.

Question: How would you describe the proposed plan for the second half of the Hennepin Ave. reconstruction project?

Answer: In the recommended layout for Hennepin Avenue I see a street that values people who walk, roll, bus, bike, and drive. Based on crash data, the city has designated Hennepin Avenue as a high injury street; the current layout doesn’t serve anyone well. I am excited about the recommended layout especially with the future E Line Bus Rapid Transit. During rush hour, 49% of the people in vehicles on Hennepin are in buses; this is why 24/7 bus lanes are absolutely essential – transit riders deserve priority. Our population is growing and we should use the limited space we have efficiently. We can’t compete with suburban shopping centers on parking availability. But we can and should embrace what makes this area special: the density of people and destinations, and the choices we have for how to travel.

Question: What do you appreciate about the plan and what worries you?

Answer: In the plan I see that the City of Minneapolis takes seriously their adopted climate and transportation policies like Complete Streets, Vision Zero, and the Transportation Action Plan. It’s easy to say what your values are – much harder to act. By following through on implementing these policies it helps build public trust. Also reflected in the plan is a city that takes climate change and racial equity seriously. Dedicated 24/7 bus lanes, pedestrian improvements, a bike route for access to our many Hennepin Ave businesses –  these are all supported by existing city policies. I want to see the recommended layout fully implemented as proposed. This will be up to the City Council and the Mayor. This is an opportunity for the City Council and Mayor Frey to show climate leadership. While Hennepin is a city-controlled street, what happens with this street can set a precedent and shape the redesign of dangerous county-controlled streets across our city.  

Question: Hennepin Ave. is used by businesses, residents, walkers, transit, etc. In what ways do you think this plan balances the needs of those users and in what ways doesn’t it?

Answer: It’s important to begin by noting that the current design of Hennepin Avenue reflects generations of prioritizing fast car travel over the needs of people and neighborhoods. The recommended layout is an inclusive design that redistributes space in a way that considers the needs of everyone who uses the street. The current design of Hennepin Avenue is a pass-through street that encourages speeding. The recommended design will bring more people to the area. It can become a place to gather, linger, shop, and dine at our great local businesses. The most important change brought by this design is that no matter how people get around, they can do so safely.   

Question: What is your response to those concerned about how reduced parking will affect small businesses?

Answer: What gets lost in the conversation about parking is that Hennepin Avenue itself constitutes less than 10% (342 spots) of the total available parking (3630 spots). This is all data from the city’s parking study. Cross streets provide 453 spots, parking ramps provide 1,405, and parking lots add an additional 1,430. There’s currently enough parking to go around. I’d encourage people to look at the city’s parking study showing even during the busiest times of day, 25-50% of on-street parking on the Hennepin corridor goes unused.

What I hear when I talk to my friends and neighbors is that very few of them are willing to park on Hennepin Avenue as it is. They prefer to park on a side street or interior street and walk a short distance. Hennepin as currently designed is not a street you want to step out from your car and immediately confront fast moving traffic.

I want our local businesses to have a street where they can thrive and this recommended layout will deliver. I want to walk, bike or bus to businesses on Hennepin without fearing for my safety. I want to gather with friends for a conversation on a restaurant patio without having to fight the sound of four lanes of speeding traffic. Study after study shows that making these improvements will be good for local businesses. People who walk, bike, roll, and bus, shop at local businesses more often and spend more money. This area is desirable because of the amenities and the density of people; more than 15,000 people live in the project area. I understand people can be resistant to change, but this change will be a good one.

Question: Any other comments?

Answer: With my extensive organizing with Hennepin for People I’ve had the opportunity to talk to so many of my neighbors about this project. There is so much excitement about creating a Hennepin Avenue that works for everyone who lives, works and travels the corridor. This street reconstruction will last us for at least the next 50 years. We owe it to ourselves to be ambitious and forward thinking with its design.

Winter comment drive

Our deepest thanks to our dedicated volunteers who braved the cold (yes, even on days when the temps were in the negatives) to flyer our community in January. During a Minneapolis winter! You can show your appreciation by leaving a comment to support the Hennepin Avenue recommend layout and attending Thursday’s Hennepin Avenue Virtual Open House on January 13th at 4:30 PM, hosted by the City of Minneapolis. Encourage friends, family and neighbors to comment too!

If you want our flyer file to post in your building or share with neighbors contact us at [email protected]

We have a lot of fun things planned for this round of engagement and can’t wait to share them with you!

Join the City of Minneapolis for a virtual Hennepin Avenue Open House on January 13th at 4:30 PM

Virtual Open House

Join us on Thursday, January 13th at 4:30 PM for a Hennepin Avenue virtual open house hosted by the City of Minneapolis! Meeting link can be found HERE (scroll down page).

Hennepin Ave in the News

Hennepin Avenue in its current form is a pass-through street, designed to move car traffic as fast as possible through our neighborhoods. It’s loud and hostile — with as much as the surrounding area has to offer, Hennepin itself isn’t a place you want to spend time. The city’s own Vision Zero crash study shows it to be a high-injury street that poses great risk to everyone who uses it, no matter how they’re traveling. The once-in-a-generation opportunity for change is now. The city’s recommended layout for Hennepin Avenue would create a street designed for people, where our local businesses can thrive, a better experience for transit riders using dedicated 24/7 bus lanes, protection for people biking with a sidewalk level bike path, numerous improvements for pedestrians including shorter crossing distances, left turn lanes so drivers can move through traffic safely and predictably. Not only can this be a safer street that reflects our city’s already adopted climate priorities and policies, it can be a vibrant and attractive place for people to live, gather, and visit local shops. Hennepin can be an example of what’s possible in reimagining our city’s streets.

Leave a comment to support the recommended layout HERE

Thank you! We're absolutely thrilled to see the final Hennepin Avenue design puts people. community, and planet first! Thank you to the Public Works staff for everything you do to make Hennepin Avenue a pleasant, safe, and vibrant community street! Thank you, friends, for supporting a positive vision of our city's future! Coming soon! Dedicated 24/7 bus lanes! protected bike lanes! pedestrian improvements! safer vehicle lanes!

Thank Public Works

With the Hennepin Avenue design proposal, Minneapolis Public Works has shown their commitment to city policies from climate action and racial justice to vision zero. We’re so grateful for the tireless (and often thankless) work, talent, and leadership of all the staff involved!

If you know Hennepin Avenue, whether you live on or near it, go to destinations on it, or travel along it, you know how stressful and unpleasant it is. And you know the kind of impact this design will have on not just your daily quality of life, but on our entire community!

Public Works’ choices and leadership shape our lives. Their innovative design for Hennepin Avenue is key to making Minneapolis an equitable, accessible, + sustainable city. It’ll impact us as we walk to get groceries, bike to the library, or bus to a party, whether we’re 8 or 80.

Public Works staff have spent years working on Hennepin Avenue since 2018. They’ve been the target of intense emotions that come with resistance to change and with the anxiety of a pandemic. They’ve heard a lot about what people hate/fear. We want to tell them what we love about their design!

Can you send a quick email today telling them how their innovative redesign will actually impact your life? What will it mean to you when you can:
…bike down Hennepin Avenue with your kids without fearing death?
…take transit zipping along in a dedicated lane?
…cross the street safely to get groceries?
…hear your friend while you dine on a patio?
…drive on Hennepin with less stress?

Contact the following people:
Senior Transportation Planner Hughes [email protected]
Interim Public Works Director Hjelle [email protected]
Deputy Director Dodds [email protected]
Director Hager [email protected]

Dedicated space for buses and bikes along with pedestrian improvements.

Good news!

On Tuesday December 7th, the Minneapolis Public Works Department put out their recommended layout for the Hennepin Avenue South reconstruction project from Lake Street to Douglas Avenue (construction is set to begin in 2024 and finish in 2026). We’re beyond thrilled to see the inclusion of 24/7 bus lanes, a sidewalk level bike path, and pedestrian improvements. We’ve spent many months organizing for an inclusive design. Thank you to our organizing allies at Move Minnesota, Our Streets Minneapolis, along with other local organizations and supporters. And thank you for paying attention, offering feedback, and raising the issue of Hennepin Avenue with city leaders! 

Our thanks to the Minneapolis Public Works Department for adhering to our ambitious city policies found in the Transportation Action Plan, Vision Zero Action Plan, Complete Streets policy and Climate Action Plan. In the recommended layout we see priority for people, advancement of racial justice, and consideration of the climate crisis. This isn’t the final word, but for now, we’re celebrating this big victory. We’ll continue to examine the recommended design in more detail, but for now we want to pause and take this moment in. We’ll still need to get this across the finish line in 2022 — with a new City Council and new government structure to navigate. But for now we celebrate and savor this win of our priorities being reflected in the recommended layout! 

Save the Date: Hennepin virtual open house
January 13, 2022 at 4:30 PM
meeting link here (scroll down page)

Submit a comment
The Minneapolis Public Works department is accepting comments on the recommended layout until January 28, 2022. Make sure you submit a comment. This is not a done deal—the status quo will turn out against our inclusive vision for a street for people.

unsmooth and uneven trail pic of the Greenway

Help the Greenway

The Midtown Greenway Coalition is working on addressing issues from the recent Greenway repaving, from the Lakes to Midtown. Building safe biking infrastructure draws people to our city. The Greenway is a bike highway — and it can feed into local bike routes, bringing visitors and customers to our neighborhoods. People who bike within our city and those who bike into our city. The trail conditions aren’t currently good for people who bike, walk or roll. It’s uneven and rough.

Sign their petition to help fix the trail here!

At 22nd and Hennepin. Person crossing southbound in street.

Transit riders deserve priority

The E Line BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) for bus route 6 is coming to Hennepin Avenue in 2025. Construction is set to begin in 2024. E Line BRT will run about every 10 minutes 7 days a week, while the local route 6 bus will run every 20 minutes. Metro Transit is currently accepting feedback on their Draft Corridor Plan through October 31.

Benefits of BRT:
💛 Faster, more frequent service
💛 Pre-boarding fare payment for faster stops
💛 Neighborhood-scale stations with amenities
💛 Larger & specialized vehicles
💛 Buses get traffic signal priority for faster trips
💛 Riders can board or exit from any of 3 bus doors (on 60 ft buses)
💛 Stations with heat, lighting, and real-time departure info

Read More »Transit riders deserve priority
Young Black Teen on bike in background. Biking on sidewalk.

Solving the No Bike Riding On Sidewalk issue

We’ve all seen these signs before “No Bike Riding On Sidewalk.” We have the solution! Let’s give people who bike a safe protected space for them to comfortably get around. Where they don’t have to deal with the risk of speeding traffic. Where they’re not competing for space against other vulnerable users like pedestrians.

People just want to safely get around no matter if they walk, bus, roll, bike or drive. Our current street designs are a failure and we have an opportunity to fix them. Let’s start now!