Southdale Area Development - Edina

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Multimodal
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Re: Southdale Area Development - Edina

Postby Multimodal » August 8th, 2019, 7:29 am

Finally some action on that proposal that was approved last year.

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Re: Southdale Area Development - Edina

Postby Multimodal » August 8th, 2019, 7:31 am

mister.shoes wrote:
July 15th, 2019, 10:42 pm
Can verify it’s open. Drove over it yesterday. Sidewalks look pretty puny.
Pretty sure the sidewalks are over twice as wide as they used to be.

I do wish they had a low fence or something other than the curb to block cars.

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Re: Southdale Area Development - Edina

Postby mister.shoes » August 8th, 2019, 8:46 am

I guess that just illustrates how ridiculously narrow they used to be :D
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Re: Southdale Area Development - Edina

Postby sdho » August 8th, 2019, 12:12 pm

Multimodal wrote:
August 8th, 2019, 7:31 am
mister.shoes wrote:
July 15th, 2019, 10:42 pm
Can verify it’s open. Drove over it yesterday. Sidewalks look pretty puny.
Pretty sure the sidewalks are over twice as wide as they used to be.

I do wish they had a low fence or something other than the curb to block cars.
I need to go there in person, but I believe old were 6', new are 8-10', so a marked improvement. Plus, from like 2014 to 2018, the east side got an ADA "improvement" by completely blocking off the east sidewalk. Now both sides are open.

Still not nearly good enough, but a baby step in the right direction.

I really wish Edina would be more consistent with getting their decorative lighting in more places. W 66th between France and Xerxes has nice ped lights. 50th & France has particularly iconic lights. But France Avenue in the Southdale area literally has no mid-block lights of any kind. A bridge would have been a great opportunity to have visual improvement and enhance ped experience. Yet both Xerxes (also borders Richfield and Mpls) and France have come and gone with zero new lights on the bridge.

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Re: Southdale Area Development - Edina

Postby Multimodal » August 8th, 2019, 1:05 pm

This project was MNDOT redecking the bridge, making the northbound lane safer, and making the eastbound onramp safer. I’m surprised it’s as nice as it is.

If the E Line ends up going down France, then I imagine Hennepin & Edina will have a plan for upgrading sidewalks and lighting, including this bridge.

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Re: Southdale Area Development - Edina

Postby mattaudio » August 8th, 2019, 3:22 pm

Imagine being a wheelchair user or stroller pusher on the west France sidewalk south of 66th: https://goo.gl/maps/zxfu15UBX5sLW75Z6

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Re: Southdale Area Development - Edina

Postby sdho » August 8th, 2019, 5:35 pm

Multimodal wrote:
August 8th, 2019, 1:05 pm
If the E Line ends up going down France, then I imagine Hennepin & Edina will have a plan for upgrading sidewalks and lighting, including this bridge.
Spoiler: they will not have a plan for that, and certainly not money for it. There have been no upgrades like that at all on either of the aBRT lines to date.

Edina should have stepped up and offered to pay for lighting, because it could easily be 20 years before they get another easy crack at this. (Richfield should have too, on Penn and Portland. They did on Nicollet and Lyndale underpasses, and 66th/35W)

Looking forward, if Edina is seriously committed to a vibrant, safe France corridor, perhaps they'd lead the way and replace the west side sidewalk with a high-quality one with lighting -- in conjunction with protected bike lanes in both direction on France. The roadway is not that old in that physically poor of shape, so it's not on the horizon for a rebuild. However, Edina has the most significant interest in it being a safe, dignified, and economically productive street. They should invest significantly to make a street worthy of what they want the corridor to become.

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Re: Southdale Area Development - Edina

Postby Multimodal » August 8th, 2019, 6:06 pm

mattaudio wrote:
August 8th, 2019, 3:22 pm
Imagine being a wheelchair user or stroller pusher on the west France sidewalk south of 66th: https://goo.gl/maps/zxfu15UBX5sLW75Z6
Not sure what you mean.

It’s really bad between 70th & just north of 76th on the west side. Right up against the curb.

The Southdale District Design Guidelines are still being fleshed out, so wholesale changes won’t be done until that’s finished.

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Re: Southdale Area Development - Edina

Postby sdho » August 8th, 2019, 9:56 pm

I hope you're right the wholesale changes will happen. I think a big barrier for Edina is that it's been able to coast *really successfully* on private or outside investment doing 95% of the work for them. There are some exceptions, like Centennial Lakes and the Edina Promenade. But most upgrades are only happening when the once-in-50-year-cycle of full redevelopment occurs. Even the city-led east-side France Avenue sidewalk was on mostly donated land (by private sector), funded with federal grant.

Which is great, there's no shame in the low-hanging fruit and being prudent with public dollars. But it feels like there's not really a sufficient process for the city to fill the gaps the private sector won't do on its own. The biggest symbol of this for me was rebuilding a right-turn lane *instead of a sidewalk* on the 6500 block of the York/Xerxes curve -- with the understanding that when redevelopment comes, they'll complete this ~150-ft sidewalk gap on a busy, dangerous street. That was over two years ago, and although it's finally underway, it could easily be another year before there's a usable sidewalk there.

Some of the things where to me I think public (city, mostly) dollars are needed:
1. Making at least some of the infill streets from the guidelines real public streets, not privately owned drive aisles
2. Upgrading most of the sidewalks in the district.
3. Installing bike infrastructure in the district (hopefully in conjunction with county dollars)
4. Financially incentivizing retrofits to private uses that make walking viable -- offer matching grants to get businesses to connect to the sidewalk.

On the 4th item, Yorkdale Shoppes is a good example -- curiously, Edina did actually fund a really nice new connection to Xerxes, but there isn't a single ped connection to York. Short sidewalk connectors are cheap, and I'd love the city to pitch in to make those happen without waiting for major redevelopment projects.

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Re: Southdale Area Development - Edina

Postby Multimodal » August 9th, 2019, 11:38 am

Those are good ideas. The city needs to do more. I just don’t want to build bad infrastructure that will hang around for 50 years. City leaders have done great things (like the Promenade), but it has to be more consistent, more part of a … comprehensive plan. 😉

The first step is throwing out the double-loop bike plan map.

The second step is understanding that Southdale District isn’t just a leg on the city’s bike plan, it needs a comprehensive bike plan of its own. It’s going to be far denser & larger than any neighborhood node, so it needs to be planned differently.

This is why spending the money to stick some lights on a bridge is a bad investment today. There has to be education & a commitment to a major re-do effort.

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Re: Southdale Area Development - Edina

Postby sdho » August 9th, 2019, 5:07 pm

I agree with everything but the last conclusion. Unless the ultimate outcome of a new plan is, "don't fret about the pedestrian environment on France Avenue" -- I see no scenario in which it would have been bad to put decorative lights in at the time it was cheapest and most practical.

But the rest: yes, absolutely. Southdale deserves its own bike-ped planning; although it is another neighborhood of (mostly) Edina, it has a huge regional pull and many, many non-Edina customers and employees every day. The current city-wide plan seems pretty good from the perspective of a single-family homeowner in Edina who bikes to various places, including Southdale sometimes. But it won't really help Southdale reach its potential in its own right.

Of course, a Southdale-specific plan (hopefully) has a good opportunity to coordinate Bloomington and Richfield, since portions of the commercial and office district extend into those cities (Southdale Square, France-494 retail and office)

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Re: Southdale Area Development - Edina

Postby sdho » August 9th, 2019, 5:57 pm

Edina's approved a new proposal for the southern half of the Estelle site. The developer will replace a 2.5-story office building with 1-story strip retail and surface parking.

Although there have been other disappointing developments, this is the only situation I'm aware of in the Southdale District where a new land use proposal will reduce the existing density.

The only redeeming feature: the developer is calling it "The Shoppes at Estelle" -- presumably a cheeky reference to the spectacular buildings Edina turned away a couple years ago.

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Re: Southdale Area Development - Edina

Postby Anondson » August 9th, 2019, 8:52 pm

Does the city zoning here not have minimums? That they can tear down what’s there, build less, by right?

If so I’m LOLing.

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Re: Southdale Area Development - Edina

Postby Multimodal » August 14th, 2019, 6:43 am

Anondson wrote:
August 9th, 2019, 8:52 pm
Does the city zoning here not have minimums? That they can tear down what’s there, build less, by right?

If so I’m LOLing.
Yep.

Building minimums were pulled out of the Southdale District plan guidelines at the last minute, since they were quite high (8 stories, I believe). But, clearly, there’s a big difference between 1 story and 8 stories. The Planning Commission is working on its 2020 work plan, and studying this will likely be on it. Everyone on the PC hated this project.


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