Nicollet Mall

Downtown - North Loop - Mill District - Elliot Park - Loring Park
robotlollipop
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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby robotlollipop » April 13th, 2013, 2:58 pm

Didier wrote:That picture can't be winning over any neutrals. What an awkward drawing. What is that smug businessman doing just standing there on the stairs? It looks like he is being lifted up into a UFO.
Haha! That's what intrigues me about the plan. And to think, it will only be 12 shorts years until that's us.

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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby Nathaniel » April 16th, 2013, 7:41 am

Reconsidering the Nicollet Mall Redesign ...

http://www.streets.mn/2013/04/16/recons ... -redesign/
There is a $20 million sum of state money that may be dedicated to redesign Nicollet Mall. While $20 million could bring some impressive changes to the pedestrian mall, these funds would represent an unfortunate misapplication of limited resources.

We need to reconnect Nicollet Avenue- not redesign Nicollet Mall.

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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby mullen » April 16th, 2013, 9:26 am

when the rebuild of nicollet mall was done back whenever it was, late 80's/early 90s? teal was a popular color. needless to say this has not dated well. there was also a bad decision made to keep the street's curves, albeit much more slight than the original mall. there was also this continued debate over how to connect the skyways to the street. seems we still havn't figured out how to go about this. the stair towers envisioned back in the late 80s were thought to be too intrusive on the sidewalk, I believe.

in some other cities you will see covered escalators used to access second floor retail/restaurants. I saw this in manchester england last year. the main retail shops/street there is a wonderfully used and lively space. People take the escalator up to a second level food court which leads into a mall of stores. Perhaps a simple escalator from the IDS/macy's skyway to the street. we need to fix this disconnect between skyway and street to make nicollet mall work.

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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby MNdible » April 16th, 2013, 11:00 am

That Streets article is weird.

Let's say, for example, that you remodeled your house 25 years ago. You made some design choices that you now regret and things look dated now, but more importantly, the siding, roofing, and windows have been beat to hell by the harsh climate (and maybe you haven’t been exactly on top of maintenance).

Now, clearly, you need to spend quite a bit of money to fix your house before it starts to leak, completely fall apart, and you get sued by your neighbors. Should you spend all of this money to repair the finishes and design choices that you don’t like? Or should you take this opportunity to learn from your past mistakes, spend a little more money, and have a house that you’ll be happy living in for the next 25 years?

It seems like an easy answer to me.

Capital projects are typically funded by 30 year bonds, because that’s their expected lifecycle before they need to be replaced or undergo major repairs / renovations. The current version of Nicollet Mall has more or less served out its life expectancy. I know 1991 doesn’t seem like it’s very long ago, because I was still in high school then, but the dirty secret is that I’ve been out of high school for a long long time.

It’s silly to pit the reopening of Nicollet against the revamping of Nicollet Mall. They both need to happen, and one likely qualifies for state bonding because it has region-wide significance.

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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby Nathaniel » April 16th, 2013, 11:18 am

MNdible wrote:It’s silly to pit the reopening of Nicollet against the revamping of Nicollet Mall. They both need to happen, and one likely qualifies for state bonding because it has region-wide significance.
In a world of limited resources, I think we need to target projects that will give us the highest return on our investment (economical, social and cultural). And, connecting Nicollet back up is a project that can achieve just that. I do not mean to say that Nicollet Mall should be ignored (it's a great place and we should work to keep it great) - but I do believe we can better allocate resources to Nicollet & Lake. Other than Nicollet Mall looking nicer, I don't see any higher return for doing a complete redesign.

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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby twincitizen » April 16th, 2013, 11:31 am

I agree with much of what Nate said in the Streets.MN piece, but MNdible has a point about which one will likely get state funding and which will not. It would be silly NOT to seek bonding money for Nicollet Mall. It's not Nicollet Mall vs. Nicollet-Kmart, it's Nicollet Mall vs. money for rehabbing a University building or the Mayo proposal.

However, won't Nicollet Mall see an infusion of cash soon anyways with the addition of streetcars? Obviously we'll be seeking federal funding for the streetcar line, and that can't go to heated sidewalks or finding a way to keep the ChildFund solicitors off the Mall, but those two improvements/plans should be as closely aligned as possible.

P.S. While typing that, a neuron fired in my brain: Streetcar stations could be the best possible way to connect the skyways to the street.

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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby RailBaronYarr » April 16th, 2013, 12:49 pm

I don't understand why Nicollet Mall (or Nicollet re-opening for that matter) is a state-bonding issue. Why should it be? I don't mean to sound rude, but why should Nicollet Mall be considered a state resource? It's a de-facto Minneapolis Main Street (even though St Anthony Main across the river is much more enjoyable to walk along, IMO). It enhances the life of those who live and work in the city of Minneapolis.

Yes, there are visitors from the area, region, and sometimes the state (although I'd argue very rarely). A UofM capital request serves the entire state (and beyond with students from all over, research affecting state-wide institutions, etc). You can make a case either way for Mayo being a state asset or that the $500M they're asking for in state bonding is more or less to benefit a single city.

This is a classic example of a StrongTowns approach. In our current mindset, yes, we'd be crazy as Mpls city planners/financiers not to ask or fight for money on the table from the state. But why should it be the state's job to fund the maintenance or possible overhaul of a city street (pedestrian mall or otherwise)??? Will spending $20M bring in more businesses, workers, visitors spending Mpls sales tax, etc to cover this re-do? If not, why not just do some basic repair and maintenance and not burden the state with $20M to finance over the next 30 years???

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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby Nick » April 16th, 2013, 1:06 pm

RailBaronYarr wrote:I don't understand why Nicollet Mall (or Nicollet re-opening for that matter) is a state-bonding issue. Why should it be? I don't mean to sound rude, but why should Nicollet Mall be considered a state resource?
I don't necessarily disagree with your point, but there are tens of thousands of non-Minneapolitans on Nicollet Mall every day. Almost all are from the metro, yes, but still. Sure beats a 7 million dollar just for kicks sewer extension in Brainerd.

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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby RailBaronYarr » April 16th, 2013, 1:36 pm

Nick wrote:I don't necessarily disagree with your point, but there are tens of thousands of non-Minneapolitans on Nicollet Mall every day. Almost all are from the metro, yes, but still. Sure beats a 7 million dollar just for kicks sewer extension in Brainerd.
I totally agree - it would be better used than many other $20M requests out there. I think the problem is that justifying spending state money on a project like this simply because a bunch of people commute in to the city doesn't sit right with me. Those people are only ABLE to commute in (most by car) from outside Minneapolis' boundaries because the state (and feds) gave money in the first place to providing access along highways, freeways, etc. It's a self-feeding system where Minneapolis lost good chunks of its own tax base to allow vehicles from all over (most of which aren't carrying goods/raw materials/etc). In turn it needs to look to the state (or fed) to fill the void.

I don't think $20M is going to break the bank, but when you have hundreds of cities asking for 500k, 2.5M, etc all of a sudden we realize how we're this mess in the first place.
Last edited by RailBaronYarr on April 16th, 2013, 1:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby woofner » April 16th, 2013, 1:45 pm

RailBaronYarr wrote:why should it be the state's job to fund the maintenance or possible overhaul of a city street (pedestrian mall or otherwise)???
Because the State imposes restrictions on the City's ability to finance it by itself (in terms of the types and amounts of taxes it is able to collect). The State gives back every once in a while by using its greater bonding authority to finance local capital projects. OK, in theory the State wouldn't restrict the City's financing options so much, but I think revolutions are discussed in a different forum.

I would like to see more discussion of the transportation function of the Mall as a part of the redesign. It carries almost 30,000 travelers a day, about half of which are on transit. But it doesn't function ideally as a transit street, since there is no ability to pass for buses. This is why I like the curbless option, since it would allow passing lanes to be built at stops without feeling overwhelming for the rest of the street. Does anyone know how passing is handled on the 16th St mall in Denver? I just checked and the shuttle that uses that facility actually has a higher bus volume than Nicollet Mall.
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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby Avian » April 16th, 2013, 2:12 pm

I still think there is a story behind the story. I don't want to get into a potential libel case but there was nepotism - if not downright bribes - in developing the Mall's 1990 re-model. Check the names involved and notice the connection to the Conservatory. (The Mall's original designer, Lawrence Halprin, said the Mall was "trashed" in the remodel.) Corners were cut despite using high-quality pavers.

Does anyone know if the Marquette sidewalk next to Wells Fargo was re-built during the road remodel? Or was the original just extended? If it dates to 1987, then it looks pretty good!

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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby MNdible » April 16th, 2013, 3:04 pm

RailBaronYarr wrote:This is a classic example of a StrongTowns approach. In our current mindset, yes, we'd be crazy as Mpls city planners/financiers not to ask or fight for money on the table from the state. But why should it be the state's job to fund the maintenance or possible overhaul of a city street (pedestrian mall or otherwise)??? Will spending $20M bring in more businesses, workers, visitors spending Mpls sales tax, etc to cover this re-do? If not, why not just do some basic repair and maintenance and not burden the state with $20M to finance over the next 30 years???
This Strong Towns business is making you all sound like no-fun Republicans. Do we really have to run every single proposed project through an Excel Spreadsheet cost-benefit analysis which will invariably tell us that we shouldn't do anything except for painting some bike lanes? Can't we do a project because it improves the quality of life of residents, instills some civic pride, and makes our city look more like a competitor on the national stage?

What's the cost-benefit of letting Nicollet Mall decay and look like nobody cares about our downtown? What's the opportunity cost of not having a top-notch public street at the heart of our downtown?

I can tell you as a kid that grew up in outstate Minnesota that Nicollet Mall is the main street of the State of Minnesota. No question about it. It has real statewide significance as the thing that tourists and visitors see and remember (it's either that or the Mall of America).

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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby RailBaronYarr » April 16th, 2013, 3:35 pm

MNdible wrote:This Strong Towns business is making you all sound like no-fun Republicans. Do we really have to run every single proposed project through an Excel Spreadsheet cost-benefit analysis which will invariably tell us that we shouldn't do anything except for painting some bike lanes? Can't we do a project because it improves the quality of life of residents, instills some civic pride, and makes our city look more like a competitor on the national stage?
No, I'm totally with you - there are things we should absolutely spend money on that increase civic pride, enhance mobility, provide for open park space, etc. Some of these don't have a monetary return, or are at the very least more difficult to track. But yes, I think we should keep in mind some sort of relationship between what we spend and what we get, particularly when it is a street update project when many other projects with tough-to-track impacts could also be done.
I can tell you as a kid that grew up in outstate Minnesota that Nicollet Mall is the main street of the State of Minnesota. No question about it. It has real statewide significance as the thing that tourists and visitors see and remember (it's either that or the Mall of America).
I guess I work with plenty of people from out-of-state and I've never heard anyone talk about Nicollet Mall in that regard. I grew up in Lakeville and didn't feel that way despite attending a few Holidazzle parades, the Macy's 8th Floor thing, and then shows at Orchestra Hall in HS. I'm not saying it's not an important street, or that it couldn't use updating and doesn't deserve money. I'm saying that if given a choice between $20M here or Nicollet-K-Mart, I think the latter would have more impact on reducing crime, opening up a neighborhood, and encouraging development. I'm also saying it seems odd that a city of Mpls' size would need to go to state bonding for either, but it's probably not something they can help.

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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby Jfuss » April 16th, 2013, 6:29 pm


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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby Wedgeguy » April 19th, 2013, 2:19 pm

I grew up on the Iowa Minnesota border. I remember my parent taking me see the Christmas decorations in the windows or the department stores along the Mall. Then the trip up to the eight floor of Dayton's to the auditorium for Christmas decorations. I remember how in aw I was at the IDS and Crystal court as we walked in from the Mall the first time when it was finished. For some the MAll means nothing, to others it was and still is a BIG thing. IT is the main street and one that tourists, conventioneers, and citizen will be using every day. Who wants to come if it looks like Downtown Detroit.

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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby seanrichardryan » April 19th, 2013, 2:59 pm

Detroit has done a lot of infrastructure improvements in their downtown, most significantly Campus Martius and Cadillac Square.

http://www.campusmartiuspark.org/
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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby Wedgeguy » April 19th, 2013, 4:27 pm

seanrichardryan wrote:Detroit has done a lot of infrastructure improvements in their downtown, most significantly Campus Martius and Cadillac Square.

http://www.campusmartiuspark.org/
Thanks for proving me wrong, but this is also what we need along the Mall to make people want to walk from the convention center to the river, the stores, to make people want cross over it to get to the entertainment district on Hennepin.

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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby Minneboy » April 19th, 2013, 4:53 pm

I grew up in south eastern Minnesota and we used to come up to the cities on school trips. Top of the IDS Center and the Planetarium were a few of the stops and we knew what Nicollet Mall was and that indeed was something and not your average street. It's our European town center/square.

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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby RailBaronYarr » April 19th, 2013, 6:04 pm

I'm not doubting that many people don't come to downtown Minneapolis. But my take is.. all the things the last few posters listed: top of IDS, Christmas decorations, Macy's 8th floor fun, the river... none of them will be any different if Nicollet is upgraded or not. Nicollet is gorgeous during Christmas because of the lights, decorations and how the city looks at night (especially if it's snowing). I don't know why we're all so concerned if convention center attendees feel that little extra push to walk up to the river (will they anyway? I attend conventions all the time and nearly 100% of people travel everywhere by taxi or simply drink at the hotel lobby).

Minneapolis should be concerned with its own citizens first, businesses a slight second behind that, and in the "everything else" category is out-state visitors, convention comers, etc. Fixing Nicollet down at Lake will have a HUGE impact improving the area, and even connecting those people south of Lake to Eat Street and even downtown.

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Re: Nicollet Mall

Postby mnmike » April 19th, 2013, 6:21 pm

RailBaronYarr wrote:I'm not doubting that many people don't come to downtown Minneapolis. But my take is.. all the things the last few posters listed: top of IDS, Christmas decorations, Macy's 8th floor fun, the river... none of them will be any different if Nicollet is upgraded or not. Nicollet is gorgeous during Christmas because of the lights, decorations and how the city looks at night (especially if it's snowing). I don't know why we're all so concerned if convention center attendees feel that little extra push to walk up to the river (will they anyway? I attend conventions all the time and nearly 100% of people travel everywhere by taxi or simply drink at the hotel lobby).

Minneapolis should be concerned with its own citizens first, businesses a slight second behind that, and in the "everything else" category is out-state visitors, convention comers, etc. Fixing Nicollet down at Lake will have a HUGE impact improving the area, and even connecting those people south of Lake to Eat Street and even downtown.
Sorry...Nicollet does need work, badly. There are dead and dying trees up and down the mall (the few that are even planted), broken planters, bricks, and fixtures...things are just falling apart in general, in addition to the very dated color scheme. If it wasn't that bad, I would agree with you...but it is that bad, and getting worse. This isn't just being frivolous...the mall needs to be much more inviting as it should be the "living room" of downtown, if you will, and be a real centerpiece destination the city and it's residents can be proud of and want to go to. Now it looks like the lobby of a run down Quality Inn, Forest Green wingback chairs and all(does that create the mental picture for anyone else it does for me?). Do those analogies make sense at all? It could and should be the real showpiece for the city, like it once was, and a reason for visitors and residents alike to come downtown, not just walk by while transferring buses. It doesn't necessarily have to be extravagant...but some reinvestment is necessary in my opinion.
Last edited by mnmike on April 20th, 2013, 10:31 am, edited 1 time in total.


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