Richfield - General Topics - 66th Street

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sdho
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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby sdho » February 23rd, 2015, 1:39 pm

BoredAgain wrote:Have they released any details on the dogbone/dumbbell for the 35W intersection(s)? I really wanted this to happen at 35W/Lake when they were planning the new transit station at that intersection. I think it would have greatly reduced queuing for the on-ramps and shortened pedestrian crossing distances. I think I sent that suggestion in too late in the process, but I doubt it would have been considered anyway. Instead, they are just making the turn-lanes even longer, which will not allow traffic get out of the way any more quickly.

Now, I'm just curious as to how they are planning to do it here. If successful, then it could point a way for future projects.
Yeah I'm very hopeful that the 35W/66th interchange will help set the standard for high-volume urban interchanges. The go-to for the past decade or two has been a massive diamond (see Cedar Fwy and E 66th St) or a SPUI (see Lake/Hiawatha, Lyndale/494, and Penn/494). Both require huge, expensive bridges (especially SPUI), the diamond is tedious to get through, and the SPUI is awful for pedestrians. I think it would be awesome if it set the stage for Lake St/35W; however, since 66th won't be completely done till 2018, it may to be too late to change the design at Lake St.

City staff posted a lengthy PDF including sketches of that dumbbell and background info here: http://ci.richfield.mn.us/modules/showd ... entid=6355. You can see the 66th St interchange on page 8. As you can see the space used under the bridge is significantly less, and even the impacts on the edges aren't too bad. However, city staff currently want to demolish the home at the NE corner, so that the alley can be rerouted. (They don't like dead-end alleys for snow clearing.)

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby sdho » February 24th, 2015, 11:04 pm

Lyndale and Nicollet roundabouts were both approved, but the 35W dogbone will not move forward. It was a 3-2 vote to deny that one.

I think in general the council was less familiar with roundabouts as interchanges. But, oddly, the real clincher seemed to be the impact on Emerson Ave S (which is a dead end street at 66th because of Woodlake). With the roundabout, there would have had to be a median blocking left in and left out to Emerson, which would have meant U-turns to get in and out if going west or coming from the east.

There was also reluctance to take out the home on the NE corner, which was a possible impact. I think the mayor and westside council rep felt they needed to hold the line on any resident impacts from this project (even if just a U-turn) due to the 18 homes being taken to the west.

Still, this means between 35W and Cedar, the only remaining lights will be minor collectors like 12th Ave.

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby sdho » April 24th, 2015, 1:04 pm

I'm excited for MyBurger (despite being a vegetarian). They confirmed via Twitter an anticipated early July open date. Building is looking great.

I still have symbolic qualms about the "combination trash building / transit shelter" and the fact that the drive-thru loop is basically as large as the building:

Image

But if a drive-thru is an inevitability, I do prefer that over looping all around the building with a little frontage road.

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby mister.shoes » April 24th, 2015, 1:15 pm

I'm sure MyBurger is tasty, and I agree that the building looks nice (I drive past every morning after daycare dropoff). But it's just such a tremendous waste of space/corner, especially when compared to what's on the south side of 66th—and the west side of Lyndale, once behind the strip mall. I get that this waste was a given long before this building went up when the entire LAF/strip mall complex was put together, but this intersection in Richfield has so much going for it. I guess I'm just working through the 5 stages...
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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby twincitizen » April 24th, 2015, 1:46 pm

I can't say with any certainty, but my perception is that it had a lot to do with the economic climate at the time Lyndale Station was concepted / approved. Also, the project's developer (Wellington) isn't a big housing developer. I think the eastern retail building (Firehouse, PP, Von Hanson's) actually repurposed some of the old Kmart structure, so there's another factor.

If starting from scratch, yes, this absolutely should have included a mixed-use building with at least 100 units on a site this large. Instead of the separate east / west multi-tenant retail buildings, I'd probably opt for a larger mixed-use building at the corner spot with retail wrapping the Lyndale & 66th facades. A small outlot for a drive-thru coffee tenant could've been sited on the eastern edge of the site, or along 65th (somewhere in the LA Fitness east parking area).

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby sdho » May 26th, 2015, 11:27 am

Not related to the street project, but in the 66th Street corridor. A City-owned bandshell is proposed at Veterans Park, on the 66th Street side of Legion Lake (just east of the swimming pool parking lot). The Planning Commission (on which I serve, but am not speaking for here) is considering the bandshell's site plan in a public hearing tomorrow night at 7p at the Richfield City Hall.

Image

Neighbors have organized both for and against: https://www.facebook.com/isupporttheric ... Nbandshell (for) https://www.facebook.com/pages/Richfiel ... 6516461987 (against).

It's been a weirdly polarizing issue politically, with most or all of the city council members in favor, while a vocal group of citizens claims that it would damaging to bird life at the park, that the design is inadequate, and/or that it's a waste of taxpayer money.

Meeting packet with full plans is here: http://ci.richfield.mn.us/modules/showd ... entid=6744

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby blobs » May 26th, 2015, 1:15 pm

Now they just need to bulldoze the hub.

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby sdho » June 25th, 2015, 11:07 am

The bandshell site plan was approved Tuesday night, 3-1 with one absence. The 1 dissenting vote was, curiously, the council rep for the ward where the bandshell will be built.

http://current.mnsun.com/2015/06/with-c ... -solidify/

They've also hired a new architect, who came up with a lower-cost (and IMHO, much more attractive) design:

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby min-chi-cbus » June 25th, 2015, 8:20 pm

Is this for that tiny pond/lake in the corner of the city?

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby sdho » June 26th, 2015, 10:32 am

min-chi-cbus wrote:Is this for that tiny pond/lake in the corner of the city?
Corner of the city? You might be thinking of Taft Lake, which is actually larger/more-lake-like. This is Legion Lake (aka Mud Lake), which isn't tiny, but much of it is marshy and wetland. The area behind the bandshell itself, which is fairly clear water, is similar in size to Powderhorn Lake.

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby sdho » July 14th, 2015, 8:42 am

Met with the landscape architect last week. He's proposing to tweak the bike/ped space at the sides, so that instead of being a 6' boulevard + 5' one-way PBL + 2' buffer + 6' sidewalk, it would go down to a 4' sidewalk and the additional space would go to the boulevard.

(The 2' buffer would still be walkable, but designed in such a way to encourage single pedestrians to walk in the 4' area.)

Thoughts? He felt that going to an 8' boulevard would make a significant difference in tree health and possible size. Yet it does kind of squeeze the sidewalk.

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby blobs » July 14th, 2015, 8:53 am

Richfield is cleanin' up nice! Now they need to do finish the 4-3 conversions and add trees and bulldoze the hub and nasty' rainbow.

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby twincitizen » July 14th, 2015, 9:17 am

sdho wrote:Met with the landscape architect last week. He's proposing to tweak the bike/ped space at the sides, so that instead of being a 6' boulevard + 5' one-way PBL + 2' buffer + 6' sidewalk, it would go down to a 4' sidewalk and the additional space would go to the boulevard.

(The 2' buffer would still be walkable, but designed in such a way to encourage single pedestrians to walk in the 4' area.)

Thoughts? He felt that going to an 8' boulevard would make a significant difference in tree health and possible size. Yet it does kind of squeeze the sidewalk.
What is the "buffer" made of? Stamped/colored concrete or pavers or something? That sounds fine if right between the sidewalk and PBL. It's not like this corridor is going to be packed with bikes all day long...it sounds like there is more than enough space for people to walk comfortably.
I understand that a landscape architect is going to say that a 6' boulevard is insufficient for mature trees...but it clearly is ok based on existing everywhere in Minneapolis. I guess I'd rather that they narrow the overall ROW by 4' so future infill buildings would be even closer to the street.

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby mattaudio » July 14th, 2015, 9:40 am

Speaking of PBLs, buffers, boulevards, and setbacks...
Is there a strategy to incrementally remove curb cuts along 66th Street? I hope a number of needless curb cuts are being removed as part of the county's complete reconstruction. But I'd also hope that the eventual plan is to eliminate even more as redevelopment happens.

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby twincitizen » July 14th, 2015, 9:52 am

The county's preference is absolutely toward fewer curb cuts on 66th. Obviously there's not much you can do about the single family lots that front 66th (primarily north side of 66th, west of 35W). Things aren't too bad in the Lyndale-HUB-Nicollet area. The HUB has fewer curb cuts than if there were actual streets/intersections there! Lake Shore Drive condos could probably stand to have both of its curb cuts on 66th removed. Their entrance off Lake Shore Drive is plenty.

If/when properties along east 66th consolidate and redevelop, I'm sure we'll see a reduction in curb cuts on 66th. The area between 11th and Richfield Parkway has way too many curb cuts today. Not sure what can be done about that in the interim - I'm sure Hennepin County is eliminating some access points for properties that needlessly have multiple entrances to their parking lots: http://gis.hennepin.us/property/map/def ... 2824420137

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby sdho » July 14th, 2015, 1:24 pm

twincitizen wrote:What is the "buffer" made of? Stamped/colored concrete or pavers or something? That sounds fine if right between the sidewalk and PBL. It's not like this corridor is going to be packed with bikes all day long...it sounds like there is more than enough space for people to walk comfortably.
I understand that a landscape architect is going to say that a 6' boulevard is insufficient for mature trees...but it clearly is ok based on existing everywhere in Minneapolis. I guess I'd rather that they narrow the overall ROW by 4' so future infill buildings would be even closer to the street.
Material is undetermined. They were talking about pavers or exposed aggregate earlier, but was currently discussing scored concrete. I encouraged them to stick to something that would feel noticeably different (exposed aggregate would do this well). Pavers are probably off the table, just because they're looking to cut costs wherever they can. Apparently the anticipated tree-planting costs alone could be around 1.7 million.

I also raised the issue that 6' boulevards (or even less) seem to suffice on many major Minneapolis streets. The landscape architect countered that those are not successful examples; few trees reach any real level of healthy maturity, and many are easily damaged or blown over. It is true that the Lake Street trees, for example, are still pretty much sticks after 10 years.

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby mattaudio » July 14th, 2015, 1:28 pm

A tree that never reaches full maturity is still better than a tree that never exists. Lake Street trees are fine in places where they can grow in a full boulevard and not just a tree box in an otherwise-concrete amenity zone. Richfield needs boulevard trees, no matter what.

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby sdho » July 14th, 2015, 1:30 pm

twincitizen wrote:The county's preference is absolutely toward fewer curb cuts on 66th. Obviously there's not much you can do about the single family lots that front 66th (primarily north side of 66th, west of 35W). Things aren't too bad in the Lyndale-HUB-Nicollet area. The HUB has fewer curb cuts than if there were actual streets/intersections there! Lake Shore Drive condos could probably stand to have both of its curb cuts on 66th removed. Their entrance off Lake Shore Drive is plenty.

If/when properties along east 66th consolidate and redevelop, I'm sure we'll see a reduction in curb cuts on 66th. The area between 11th and Richfield Parkway has way too many curb cuts today. Not sure what can be done about that in the interim - I'm sure Hennepin County is eliminating some access points for properties that needlessly have multiple entrances to their parking lots: http://gis.hennepin.us/property/map/def ... 2824420137
Interesting, there was just an applicant before the City Council in a work session looking to redevelop a site at 1st & 66th. And it was clear there was a basic conflict: staff doesn't want any new curb cuts on 66th (especially county staff), but the Council and neighborhoods want to discourage traffic on the existing local streets. In the case of this site, 1st is clearly a more commercial street than Stevens, so it's possible to encourage traffic to go onto 1st. But in general, we're left with a choice between either using our residential streets for some business access, or creating added curb cuts on 66th.

There has been discussion of trying to get businesses in that E 66th area (east of 11th) to combine accesses. They particularly would like to do something better for World of Fish, which has nose-in spots that require people to back onto 66th. But it sounds like it's up to the business to cooperate.

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby sdho » July 14th, 2015, 1:31 pm

mattaudio wrote:A tree that never reaches full maturity is still better than a tree that never exists. Lake Street trees are fine in places where they can grow in a full boulevard and not just a tree box in an otherwise-concrete amenity zone. Richfield needs boulevard trees, no matter what.
Agreed -- the question is really, is a mature tree better than bike-ped space that really 100% meets standard widths. I'm still on the fence. But if it was done 5-1-5 with exposed aggregate as the buffer, I think that would be workable (and shady, in a few years).

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Re: 66th Street - Richfield

Postby mattaudio » July 14th, 2015, 1:42 pm

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?


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