Richfield - General Topics - 66th Street

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sdho
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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby sdho » July 14th, 2015, 2:22 pm

mattaudio wrote:Yes, I agree: I think bike lane widths are slightly less important than their side friction. 5 feet is fine, if there's a buffer on one side. You can ride closer to the (right hand) side without feeling at risk for collision with objects or path/sidewalk users. So, what exactly is the point of a 1' buffer anyways? Why not just run the bike lane and the sidewalk up against each other, but with different materials?
You'd ride on the left-hand side, you mean? Since the sidewalk will be to the right of the bike lane. It's hard for me to know how exactly 5' will feel in this context. In a regular bike lanes, 5' is pretty tight -- but that's when you've got faster cars on one side, and an unforgiving curb on the other.

But we also don't know what behavior or use will look like. Certainly, there will at some point be a need for one bicyclist to pass another. 5' isn't enough space to do that. The likely behavior will be to rely on the buffer or sidewalk.

In any case, I guess ADA requirements mandate some sort of buffer that would be discernible to blind users. Exposed aggregate is good for that (as are pavers) since they feel noticeably different to a cane.

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby sdho » August 14th, 2015, 1:21 pm

Don't have pictures, unfortunately, but there's some nice interior remodel going on in the first floor of Woodlake Center (SE corner of 66th & Lyndale). County crews have also staked out the new right-of-way edge in front for the new roundabout.

Downside: it will require them to remove plantings and relocate signage. But upside: It will bring the sidewalk closer to the building's front door.

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby Anondson » November 7th, 2015, 10:29 pm

Medians are a sticking point.

http://current.mnsun.com/2015/11/07/66t ... nvenience/

Equity for pedestrians crossing the street vs. equity of drivers finding their way around. Or something like that?

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby sdho » November 8th, 2015, 10:12 pm

Anondson wrote:Medians are a sticking point.

http://current.mnsun.com/2015/11/07/66t ... nvenience/

Equity for pedestrians crossing the street vs. equity of drivers finding their way around. Or something like that?
Something like that. There's a strong sense that the project is stepping on homeowners' toes -- particularly west of 35W, where the homes are being taken, and (west of Penn) where there was a strong advocacy against widening the corridor for bicycles or pedestrians. It was a stretch for the Council to sign on for the homes to be taken, and I think their sense is that they shouldn't move any farther toward inconveniencing residents. In fact, the main reason the 35W "dumbbell" design was defeated was because homeowners on Emerson Ave S would lose full access to turn left onto 66th.

However, I am hopeful that they are supportive of the medians in the end. It is clear that there is a strong benefit for everyone's safety, and for the aesthetics of the corridor. Emerson was an unusual case, because due to 35W and the lakes, it's basically a dead end in either direction. Every place where medians are being proposed now is on the grid, so many options exist for accessing a home even if your direct left turn is blocked.

FWIW, Transportation Commission discussed it last week and seemed mildly supportive. There will be a public open house (preliminarily scheduled for Nov 19) to gather resident feedback.

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby sdho » November 10th, 2015, 10:03 am

The City has posted a new thread to ask for feedback regarding the closed medians:

http://richfieldconnect.mindmixer.com/p ... 6th-street

and, a visual example of what this would look like:

Image

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby mister.shoes » February 3rd, 2016, 12:48 pm

The fancy house was gone this morning when I used 66th to get to work sans-freeway. Sure does open up the view to the park.
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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby ztr421 » February 3rd, 2016, 1:03 pm

mister.shoes wrote:The fancy house was gone this morning when I used 66th to get to work sans-freeway. Sure does open up the view to the park.
Aw - that makes me a little sad.

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby sdho » February 3rd, 2016, 1:47 pm

Pictures of the rubble here: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php? ... 5313592381. I have't been over to see it yet in person. The greater access to the park will be great, but this is a cool landmark that will certainly be missed.

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby sdho » February 9th, 2016, 9:39 pm

On the east end, Richfield Council and Planning Commission heard some early ideas from two developers tonight for properties around Cedar Point, the area around 66th St and Cedar Avenue.

At the NW corner of the roundabout, on the large vacant parcel, Hempel Companies envisions adding another strip retail building, similar to the building housing Caribou/Noodles on the east side of Richfield Parkway. They would also add another building at the intersection of the SB Cedar Avenue/TH 77 ramp and 66th St -- just east of Chipotle.

At the SW corner of the roundabout, Interstate Partners is interested in developing a strip retail building with a drive-through facing 16th Avenue.

Both projects would have the parking behind and the building closer to 66th Street, but neither had really considered how to actually address 66th Street, or provide access to pedestrians/bicyclists/transit users. As has been the case elsewhere (see Kensington Park), there's a combination barrier:

1. Cities don't want the parking lot in front (for good reason)
2. Tenants don't want to maintain two entrances
3. Tenants don't want customers to have to walk from the parking lot to the front of the building

The result is the front of the building faces inward, and leaves a pretty lifeless faces on the street.

Concerns were expressed about both the drive-thru (especially given proximity to homes nearby) and the blank face on 66th. Some council members expressed concern about the anticipated tenant mix -- more fast casual, discount cell providers, and the like -- hoping for a sit-down restaurant.

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby twincitizen » February 10th, 2016, 7:09 am

Did anyone bring up the fact that there are still 3-4 vacancies in the existing Cedar Point retail buildings?
Or all of the other various vacancies and underutilized buildings along east 66th, just west of the 'Cedar Point' area?

It could be that more new commercial space is not exactly in demand here. If Hempel wants to build out the restaurant pad site east of Chipotle, great! But I'm dubious about adding more empty retail on the vacant land west of Richfield Parkway

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby min-chi-cbus » February 10th, 2016, 8:12 am

How about retail that caters to independent local businesses? I realize that's not as profitable as a McDonald's and a Starbucks but I bet it'd fill up much faster.

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby sdho » February 10th, 2016, 9:37 am

twincitizen wrote:Did anyone bring up the fact that there are still 3-4 vacancies in the existing Cedar Point retail buildings?
Or all of the other various vacancies and underutilized buildings along east 66th, just west of the 'Cedar Point' area?

It could be that more new commercial space is not exactly in demand here. If Hempel wants to build out the restaurant pad site east of Chipotle, great! But I'm dubious about adding more empty retail on the vacant land west of Richfield Parkway
Hempel addressed this, basically just saying they're really good at leasing out. And seemed to indicate they were in talks with tenants for the new spaces. But no, there seemed to be no particular skepticism toward the idea of adding more space.
min-chi-cbus wrote:How about retail that caters to independent local businesses? I realize that's not as profitable as a McDonald's and a Starbucks but I bet it'd fill up much faster.
I'm not sure how well this can be done with new buildings, which are just plain expensive to rent. Richfield misses out on one feature of South Minneapolis and St. Louis Park in that it doesn't have the legacy of streetcar nodes, with a nice cluster of small, relatively cheap spaces. The E 66th St strip has some such spaces, as does Penn Ave near the Crosstown. And in fact, you do see a lot of local business in them. Just near here, you've got World of Fish, Frenchman's, an independent African market, and an independent Mexican grocery and restaurant. But with inconsistent setbacks, lack of on-street or district parking, and poor pedestrian infrastructure (soon to be drastically improved), you don't get that same sense of a shopping district today.

In any case, I'm not sure many of those businesses could afford a lease in a brand-new space.

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby mattaudio » February 10th, 2016, 9:46 am

I'm really skeptical of all these 1-story strip malls along 66th St at nodes like Lyndale, Nicollet, and Richfield Pkwy. Richfield may not have "streetcar nodes," but it can build the same thing. Richfield needs to build a better platform for land use along this corridor. Maybe slip lanes and shared parking in some places to encouraged consistent setbacks. Other changes to make multi-story mixed use pencil out. Encourage narrower storefronts to increase storefront density. Etc. It doesn't need to be complicated. The beloved heart of my neighborhood, 48th and Chicago, is all 1 story except or the Shenandoah Building, and that's 2 story. But it works. So, to clarify, my concern isn't necessarily that they're 1-story, but more of the form: Setbacks, monolithic strip mall design, etc. We can do one-story structures with finer grain and have success. Common street setback, no setback between neighbors, and good street presence: https://goo.gl/maps/M4WGXBzgasx

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby blobs » February 10th, 2016, 10:32 am

Good point, mattaudio. I would like to see the things you suggested implemented.

66th and Penn is a good example of a bad place. It just doesn't work. Compare with 50th and Penn.

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby sdho » February 10th, 2016, 11:07 am

mattaudio wrote:I'm really skeptical of all these 1-story strip malls along 66th St at nodes like Lyndale, Nicollet, and Richfield Pkwy. Richfield may not have "streetcar nodes," but it can build the same thing. Richfield needs to build a better platform for land use along this corridor. Maybe slip lanes and shared parking in some places to encouraged consistent setbacks. Other changes to make multi-story mixed use pencil out. Encourage narrower storefronts to increase storefront density. Etc. It doesn't need to be complicated. The beloved heart of my neighborhood, 48th and Chicago, is all 1 story except or the Shenandoah Building, and that's 2 story. But it works. So, to clarify, my concern isn't necessarily that they're 1-story, but more of the form: Setbacks, monolithic strip mall design, etc. We can do one-story structures with finer grain and have success. Common street setback, no setback between neighbors, and good street presence: https://goo.gl/maps/M4WGXBzgasx
Couldn't you argue that a strip mall is a modern version of a store having no setback between neighbors? Particularly for the proposal between 16th and Richfield Pkwy, which would occupy the whole block face (except perhaps drive-thru at one end). It seems to me the critical difference is how well it engages the street. I agree that one-story is not a dealbreaker to being a great place. Diamond Lake and Nicollet also provides very nice examples of low-slung buildings that still create a great neighborhood center.
blobs wrote:66th and Penn is a good example of a bad place. It just doesn't work. Compare with 50th and Penn.
To be fair, two of four corners of 50th and Penn are surface lots. Better than four of four corners, sure, although 66/Penn does have some decent "traditional" frontage in the SW quadrant from 66th to 68th. Again, I think the condition and character of the street affect this perception a lot.

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby mattaudio » February 10th, 2016, 11:24 am

sdho wrote:Couldn't you argue that a strip mall is a modern version of a store having no setback between neighbors?
Maybe? But find me a "modern strip mall" that looks even half as good as an average blockface of the same length built in the traditional development pattern.

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby sdho » February 10th, 2016, 11:44 am

The examples are few and far between, unfortunately. But "Uptown Row" comes to mind, at Emerson and Lake. It is technically mixed-use, but I don't think losing the second-floor offices would radically change it. It is undeniably a strip mall, even with some of the usual suspects like a cell phone store and salon.

The 5000 block of France Ave also provides an interesting contrast. On the west side, a large, somewhat monolithic mixed-use building with ground-floor retail. On the east side, more traditional, smaller units, 1 or 2 stories. The east side has some more interesting local shops, while the west side is bigger retailers. But the actual on-the-ground experience for a pedestrian is about equally as good.

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Re: Lyndale & 66th Street area - Richfield

Postby Qhaberl » February 25th, 2016, 10:45 pm

I live in the Hub area. Each time I pass by the end of the string of parking lots, I think to myself, it would be so great to see this area redeveloped. Can you imagine all the business rainbow foods would get if the density in the surrounding area were increased.

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Re: Lyndale & 66th Street area - Richfield

Postby twincitizen » February 26th, 2016, 8:54 am

I would love to see The Hub be transformed into Excelsior & Grand, or even a slightly worse version of it. In any vision for what The Hub should be, I would start there.

My deepest fears are that due to both "the market" (area median incomes, lack of demand for high-end rentals) and the city's inability to produce a large TIF subsidy package (due to small population / tax base), my vision just isn't possible.

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Re: Lyndale & 66th Street area - Richfield

Postby Qhaberl » February 26th, 2016, 9:22 am

Can you explain what you mean by, "a worse version of Excelsior and grand"?


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