What will it take to develop DTE?

Downtown - North Loop - Mill District - Elliot Park - Loring Park
mattaudio
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Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby mattaudio » August 30th, 2012, 8:55 am

Agreed with above. Compare to even downtown St. Paul, which is much more human-scaled in most parts. Most one way streets are two lanes with bumpouts, parking lanes on both sides, and more frequent use of turn lanes where appropriate. It's time to get rid of these 5-lane-width streets with 3-4 driving lanes.

PhilmerPhil
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Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby PhilmerPhil » August 30th, 2012, 9:12 am

MNdible wrote:
PhilmerPhil wrote:It seems that every street in this area is an arterial. Where are the neighborhood side streets? Where are the calm, tree lined streets with boulevards? There needs to be a major adjustment in the way automobile movement is handled in this area for any real tides to turn.
I don't mean to be snarky about this, but are we really surprised that arterial roads concentrate themselves downtown? Isn't that the very nature of an arterial -- that they collect traffic from a broad area and bring it to the metaphorical heart (technically, I guess that would be the role of veins, not arteries)? Most of these streets serve an important function in the broader system, and to suggest that that role should be put aside so that they can become leafy, residential side streets seems to me a very curious plan.

Obviously, the streetscape is horrendous in DTE, and many of the roads could be more nuanced, shedding a lane where it makes sense. To the extent that the streetscape is better elsewhere, that's because residents and business owners in those locations demanded that it be better (and often agreed to special assessments to make it so). Right now, there's nobody in DTE that loves or cares about the streets, and hence they look bad. This will change.
I don't disagree that my views may be somewhat radical, but what would happen if they were implemented? Traffic would be pretty bad for those driving downtown if we converted many of those one ways to leafy residential streets, leaving a few major thorough fares going N-S/E-W. Ultimately though, downtown would be much more attractive. People would change their habits by biking and walking on the streets that now make it comfortable to do so. They would consider living closer to where they need to be so they don't have to drive into downtown. They would take transit when possible. Etc. It would take some pretty major adjustment, but in the end, it would make downtown stronger, thus making Minneapolis and the urban core stronger. If we continue to make it easy for cars to get into and out of downtown, we are making it easier for people to live further out. And if I'm not mistaken, most of us on UrbanMSP care about urbanity. By making it easy and desirable to use other forms of transportation than the personal automobile, we are encouraging dense, urban living. Imagine all the towers!

Aville_37
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Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby Aville_37 » August 30th, 2012, 9:58 am

I most agree a mix of towers and low-rise residential/townhomes is what's going to work and what the city / neighborhood''s plans call for.

I'd like to see more townhomes or better yet rowhouses/brownstones that are set back from the sidewalks giving opportunities for small yards/gardens.

Didier
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Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby Didier » August 30th, 2012, 10:02 am

On a more fundamental level, I don't think downtown living will truly be a big thing until you can comfortably do it without a car. If you lived in downtown east, you're living in an area with very few everyday residential amenities, and in order to get to appealing places like Uptown or the lakes—and in some cases to get to work—you either need to own a car or be willing to use the bus system. I'd imagine that most people who live in the Mill City or North Loop still have cars for these reasons.

It's getting better. Light rail now connects the area to the airport, Mall of America and soon to the U of M and St. Paul. The Whole Foods will be a short walk away. But neither the North Loop or Mill City are really self sustaining yet. There are definitely things you have to leave the neighborhood to get.

So while cultivating the amenities to make more complete neighborhoods is important, I think it will be almost as important to better integrate the city via transit and remove the need for cars.

MNdible
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Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby MNdible » August 30th, 2012, 10:12 am

I don't disagree that my views may be somewhat radical, but what would happen if they were implemented? Traffic would be pretty bad for those driving downtown if we converted many of those one ways to leafy residential streets, leaving a few major thorough fares going N-S/E-W. Ultimately though, downtown would be much more attractive. People would change their habits by biking and walking on the streets that now make it comfortable to do so. They would consider living closer to where they need to be so they don't have to drive into downtown. They would take transit when possible. Etc. It would take some pretty major adjustment, but in the end, it would make downtown stronger, thus making Minneapolis and the urban core stronger. If we continue to make it easy for cars to get into and out of downtown, we are making it easier for people to live further out. And if I'm not mistaken, most of us on UrbanMSP care about urbanity.
By making it easy and desirable to use other forms of transportation than the personal automobile, we are encouraging dense, urban living. Imagine all the towers!We're not talking about freeways bringing people in from Farmington -- these are arterial roads that city residents use to move to and through downtown.

You may be right -- the changes you propose may cause everybody to realize that they really didn't need their car, and I have no doubt that it would make downtown more attractive as a location for people to live. But making it more difficult for people to get to and through downtown doesn't help to make the city an attractive place for businesses to locate themselves and employ literally tens of thousands of people (imagine all the towers), people who aren't all going to choose to live in a revitalized DTE.

Downtown Minneapolis has been losing its share of metro-wide employment to the suburbs for too long. I honestly believe that improved transit and better streetscape will help, but making it more difficult for drivers to get into town will hurt. This doesn't mean that we shouldn't make our streets smarter, including removing what are demonstrably excess lanes, but there's a reason there are lots of people driving into downtown. It's because there are a lot of people coming into downtown, and some significant portion of them will choose/need to drive.

PhilmerPhil
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Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby PhilmerPhil » August 30th, 2012, 11:00 am

The goal isn't to make it harder for cars to travel into and through downtown. The goal is to make our streets attractive and easy to use for modes of transportation that support dense urban neighborhoods. Unfortunately, more challenges with driving personal vehicles are a side effect of this goal.

nordeast homer
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Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby nordeast homer » August 30th, 2012, 12:49 pm

I agree with MNDible, if you limit auto access to downtown or make it more difficult you will see downtown fade in a hurry; businesses will not want to expand or move downtown. I understand peoples desire to make things more pedestrian friendly and bike friendly, but this is not Europe and our climate makes is such that we WILL have more auto traffic in the winter. It's bad enough being stuck in traffic on a nice day, twice as bad in the winter during a snow event.
I think there are individuals here (on this website) that feel we are way behind when it comes to bike traffic and pedestrian traffic, when in fact we are often held as an example for bike commuting and being bike friendly. Not everyone likes to bike, wants to bike, or even can bike and that does not make them bike haters or bad people. I think you are misguided if you think that removing cars or limiting auto traffic is the answer.
If we are successful in doubling our downtown population you may see more amenties and maybe a byproduct of that will be fewer cars per capita, but you will probably have more autos overall just driven less frequently. I'm still wondering who all these people are that want to live downtown, most people I know keep moving further out, not towards the inner city.

mplsjaromir
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Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby mplsjaromir » August 30th, 2012, 1:42 pm

I live in DTE and there a few minor changes in regards to transportation infrastructure I would make. South of 9th street making one's way west is tricky. Improve the pedestrian experience on the 11th Street/ Grant Street bridge over the 35W ramp. A narrow walkway with an ugly chain-link fence coupled with cars slowing down from freeway speeds is not fun. If you happen to walk on the south side of 10th Street there is not a cross walk over 4th Ave. Make a decent pedestrian island at the north end of the dog park block.

With the relatively recent addition Skyscape, Sexton Lofts and Grant Park in the southern portion of DTE I think the area is close to a tipping point of having a legitimate neighborhood bar/restaurant. If The Kraus Anderson block were redeveloped into a mixed use development that would make the entire area attractive to more development. I am curious to see anything get built in the next five years. I won't hold my breath, but if had millions to invest I would take a look at it.

Plenty of people want the urban experience evidenced by continued growth in urban housing and the premium people are willing pay. I think Minneapolis will have to screw up not to grow it downtown population significantly.

PhilmerPhil
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Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby PhilmerPhil » August 30th, 2012, 2:09 pm

nordeast homer wrote:I understand peoples desire to make things more pedestrian friendly and bike friendly, but this is not Europe and our climate makes is such that we WILL have more auto traffic in the winter. It's bad enough being stuck in traffic on a nice day, twice as bad in the winter during a snow event.
http://www.copenhagenize.com/2011/01/cy ... hagen.html
I think there are individuals here (on this website) that feel we are way behind when it comes to bike traffic and pedestrian traffic, when in fact we are often held as an example for bike commuting and being bike friendly. Not everyone likes to bike, wants to bike, or even can bike and that does not make them bike haters or bad people.


Actually, over half of people say they would bike more if there were better bike facilities. Painted lines along 40mph is not adequate to get the average person on a bike. More people would ride if we had quality infrastructure. And although #1 bike city in America, compared to cities overseas, we are well behind.
I think you are misguided if you think that removing cars or limiting auto traffic is the answer.
Again, the answer is not removing cars or limiting auto traffic. The answer is balancing our streets to make them attractive places that people want to live on.

MNdible
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Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby MNdible » August 30th, 2012, 2:25 pm

PhilmerPhil wrote:Again, the answer is not removing cars or limiting auto traffic.
You say that now... this is not exactly consistent with other things you've said on the board.

Minneapolisite

Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby Minneapolisite » August 30th, 2012, 7:09 pm

How anyone can say it's hard to be carless or car-lite in Mpls, Downtown of all places too, is beyond me. If you live Downtown, chances are you plan on using the buses like I do or biking like I do or if it works for you: light-rail (I only use it occasionally to visit destinations in Seward, Longfellow, etc). There are also scooters too and micro-cars for easy parking where SUV's have to circle around a few blocks to continue their search. The question being posed is kinda humorous: hasn't a lot of infill, i.e. *development*, already occurred on Washington and 2nd where a sea of parking lots used to exist? You guys are spoiled: back in my home city of Columbus resident urbanites would be drooling if remote swathes of Downtown had plans for development mirroring what's in DTE now. You've got everything from a comic book store, to an izakaya, to a leather gay bar. Oh, and the Guthrie. I think finishing infill on these streets should be completed first before worrying about the parking lots around the Metrodome and I do agree that some streets should be calmed whether that's with a two-way conversion or simply timing the lights for slower traffic so that the streets actually see a higher capacity, i.e. get all their lanes utilized instead of sitting empty and unused outside of rush hour. When developers start building more residential projects on these untamed streets they'll apply enough pressure on the city to calm streets for their customers for whom living on such a street is a detriment to their ability to rent out units.

I think the best answer to the OP's question is that DTE needs to be better connected to surrounding neighborhoods and in the case of Elliot Park, it needs some destinations in its empty storefronts for there to even be somtbhing to connect to and to make the eastern half of Downtown more palatable overall. Unfortunately, DTE and DTW just don't connect together well and even if you got infill with retail between the two you'd still have government buildings and office buildings that don't offer anything to pedestrians blockading any meaningful walkable connection. Where a great connection could be made is Washington over I-35 with the neighborhood across the bridge. It's pretty wide, but with a heightened weight capacity it could perhaps support a highway retail cap: you could seamlessly eat and drink your way from Maxwell's to Town Hall Brewery along the establishments over the highway which would attract more customers and cross-traffic to a unique destination that would benefit both neighborhoods. Only thing is, would it be considered an extension of DTE or Seven Corners? Suppose that would depend on the types of businesses that move in and set the tone of that strip.

danie123182
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Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby danie123182 » September 24th, 2012, 9:11 am

We are about to witness the revitalization of DTE. This is what I think it needs to become fully developed.

Downtown in general needs better road access to the outside communities and freeways. It is basically blocked by freeways on all sides. More freeway crossings would help. This would be no easy(cheap) task but is desperately needed. If these are ignored DTE will never be able to accommodate the amount of people that would be moving into and out of DTE on a daily basis.

Another thing would be the raising of the Metrodome and all of the parking lots that are there simply to make money from it on the 8 days/year that it has enough people to need that much parking. Simply raising the Metrodome will cause all of those lots to be sold off to developers since they will no longer be able to make ANY money from the lots. If the metrodome were to stay and the lots destroyed the city could provide shuttle service from the ABC ramps to the metrodome so that the lots surrounding it can be removed. I think this will happen due to the new stadium being built.

Since all of those lots are to be gone this would provide the city an excellent time to upgrade all of the infrastructure in DTE. From sidewalks to roads to electrical, street lights. They call could be upgraded to transform DTE into something great. A "Central Park" for DTI would be nice as well. It could very well become one of the best communities in the country since it's central location demands density and it's basically a clean canvas to start from.

Didier
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Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby Didier » September 24th, 2012, 9:34 am

Maybe you missed the memo, but the Vikings are building a new stadium in the Metrodome's place that will be there for at least 30 years.

(This is assuming that by "raising" the Metrodome you actually meant "razing")

mattaudio
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Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby mattaudio » September 24th, 2012, 9:42 am

I hope we see this as an opportunity to redo roads in DTE... Agreed it would be great if there were more connections across 35W, or if the connection to Hiawatha Ave was tamed a little.
Most of the one-ways to freeways (3rd/4th/6th/7th/8th) could be reduced to 2 lanes one way and maybe a peak-hour bus lane like St. Paul has. Most of the other streets could easily become two lane two ways. Bumpouts would help a lot, and wider sidewalks. Corridors like 10th Street, Chicago Ave, and maybe 11th Ave could be geared towards neighborhood commercial uses with even wider sidewalks and incentives for properties to address the sidewalk.

danie123182
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Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby danie123182 » September 25th, 2012, 3:14 pm

Didier wrote:Maybe you missed the memo, but the Vikings are building a new stadium in the Metrodome's place that will be there for at least 30 years.

(This is assuming that by "raising" the Metrodome you actually meant "razing")

Yes I meant razing which you absolutely knew before trying to be a prick. Pardon me for using the wrong word. Maybe with your vast knowledge of the English language you can write a book instead of needlessly correcting people on internet forums in a shallow attempt to feel better about yourself.

danie123182
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Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby danie123182 » September 25th, 2012, 3:36 pm

Anyway my point still stands. Just like I said they can run free shuttle service to the stadium on game days from to and from the ABC ramps.

There is no reason for all of that land sitting around as a parking lot in Downtown. As it stands right now 1/3 of the land area downtown is parking for the Metrodome.

tabletop
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Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby tabletop » September 25th, 2012, 4:42 pm

What if the parking lots were converted into underground lots, and above were built 3-4 story row houses and apartments. Nice and dense on small lots. I'm thinking if you broke down the city block into quarters with small pedestrian only streets (wide enough for fire trucks) bisecting the blocks with nice pedestrian only facades that would lead to a real quiet neighborhood feel while leaving the arterial streets intact without loosing any parking. There could be street facing lots and walkway facing lots.

Minneapolisite

Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby Minneapolisite » September 25th, 2012, 6:55 pm

Here's a visual of what I'm talking about. Which highway overpass do you like better:

A?

Image

or B?

Image

One connects neighborhoods and increases both of their destination factors, while the other scars the urban environment and isolates two neighboring business districts. I can think of no better solution to encourage more development by extending the popular spots on Washington into Seven Corners. Even with the on/off ramps the retail on the bridge would be more than enough to make crossing I-35 a much more pleasant experience and vibrantly economic where no businesses existed. How else would we expect this bridge to pay for itself? Yeah, I suggested destinations in Elliot Park would help, but not as much due to commercial spaces being rather far removed from the action on Washington and 2nd.

min-chi-cbus
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Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby min-chi-cbus » September 26th, 2012, 11:46 am

tabletop wrote:What if the parking lots were converted into underground lots, and above were built 3-4 story row houses and apartments. Nice and dense on small lots. I'm thinking if you broke down the city block into quarters with small pedestrian only streets (wide enough for fire trucks) bisecting the blocks with nice pedestrian only facades that would lead to a real quiet neighborhood feel while leaving the arterial streets intact without loosing any parking. There could be street facing lots and walkway facing lots.
$$$,$$$,$$$

min-chi-cbus
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Re: What will it take to develop DTE?

Postby min-chi-cbus » September 26th, 2012, 11:49 am

Minneapolisite wrote: One connects neighborhoods and increases both of their destination factors, while the other scars the urban environment and isolates two neighboring business districts. I can think of no better solution to encourage more development by extending the popular spots on Washington into Seven Corners. Even with the on/off ramps the retail on the bridge would be more than enough to make crossing I-35 a much more pleasant experience and vibrantly economic where no businesses existed. How else would we expect this bridge to pay for itself? Yeah, I suggested destinations in Elliot Park would help, but not as much due to commercial spaces being rather far removed from the action on Washington and 2nd.
Cost would be prohibitive, I think, as those "caps" are incredibly expensive and really only work if they can somehow provide enough revenue to offset the costs. In the case of the cap in Columbus, the retail there is high-end and it's wildly successful, which makes the investment look smarter. Unfortunately I don't think there is a way to do these types of things easily or in many multiple locations. :cry:


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