July 26 2013

Minneapolis’ Midtown Greenway Streetcar to Push Out Pedestrians

In terms of multi-level cities, Minneapolis has always been known as the city with miles of skyways. However, over the past decade Minneapolis has gained recognition for another level being conquered: the level below the street grid.

The Minneapolis Midtown Greenway is a prime example of an urban planning movement to create pathways devoted strictly to pedestrian transportation. Stretching 5.5 miles, the Midtown Greenway offers uninterrupted pedestrian travel between West River Parkway (near the University of Minnesota), and Lake Street (near the Minneapolis Uptown area). Falling under a multitude of congested North-South streets such as Nicollet, Lyndale, and Hennepin, the East-West Greenway is often the fastest route for pedestrians for cross-town travel. Even in the heart of Minnesota’s cruel winters, the Midtown Greenway remains open 24/7, as it is regularly plowed.

Map of the Miidtown Greenway within South Minneapolis

Since the first phase opened in 2000, the Greenway has not only benefited the citizens who seek efficient and scenic transportation, but also the retail and real estate market surrounding the Greenway. The Greenway is now surrounded with businesses such as the Midtown Bike Center and the Midtown Sheraton Hotel, a number of community gardens, and as of recent an outgrowth of luxury apartments. In addition, the Midtown Greenway Coalition hopes to push the envelope further with the construction of a Greenway Streetcar. In order to accomplish this, a Streetcar Feasibility Study began in 2006 which evaluated transportation alternatives for the corridor. As of June 2013, three transportation options have been determined:

  • A streetcar stretching between the Hiawatha and Southwest Rail line;
  • An enhanced bus service route along Lake Street; and
  • A combination of the streetcar and an enhanced bus service route.

High-value real estate along the Midtown Greenway Minneapolis

The coalition avidly promotes the streetcar, stating the streetcar would “ improve the existing Greenway for all users, bring more people to the Greenway, provide speedy transit across town, and contribute to a more robust regional transportation system.”

Below the bustling Minneapolis metropolitan, the Midtown Greenway has created a community within itself, offering future opportunities to strengthen the multi-level transportation and architecture within the city.

How will this shift in transportation alter the form of our cities? What new opportunities will come of bringing pedestrian transportation to levels they have never explored?

Credits: Images by Abbey Seitz. Maps by Google Maps. Data linked to sources.

Abbey Seitz

Abbey Seitz is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Design of Art in Architecture and minor in Sustainability Studies from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Growing up in a small suburb of St Paul, Minnesota, she knew no different than cold snowy winters filled with snowball fights and summers spent swimming in one of Minnesota’s many lakes. It was there that she gained an interest for the urban environment. This interest brought her to study in Chicago, Honolulu, and now Minneapolis, where she has honed her studies; how we can design and repair our cities to be environmentally sustainable and livable. Specifically in Minneapolis, she is intrigued in investigating how livable communities can be created through complete streets, public transportation, and urban agriculture.

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This entry was posted on Friday, July 26th, 2013 at 9:09 am and is filed under Architecture, Infrastructure, Land Use, Transportation, Urban Development/Real Estate, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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