Arby’s Island

Calhoun-Isles, Cedar-Riverside, Longfellow, Nokomis, Phillips, Powderhorn, and Southwest
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Re: Arby’s Island

Postby twincitizen » February 13th, 2018, 12:50 pm

Put me on team "the current one-way pair configuration actually works really well for the area, but fewer lanes and wider sidewalks and bumpouts and trees would be terrific improvements"

That said, I could support relatively minor changes to the geometry at the Lake/Lagoon/Dupont intersection, to make it better for pedestrians and enlarge the Arby's Island parcel a bit.

A wilder idea I had was to make WB traffic take a hard right on Dupont (instead of the curve), then use a roundabout for the Dupont to Lagoon movement. Or some kind of dual roundabout setup for the whole thing maybe?

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Re: Arby’s Island

Postby jtoemke » February 13th, 2018, 8:04 pm

Maybe its just me but I think of roundabouts, atleast in the way Americans typically build them, as just so NOT urban. They suck for pedestrians and take up a lot of space.

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Re: Arby’s Island

Postby thatchio » February 13th, 2018, 11:09 pm

I have a whole cache of old one-way/two-way/contraflow files on Lagoon/Lake from the 80s/90s. They're from Public Works' files, including references to saving the files for the next time someone brings the topic up. If anyone's interested, I can try to figure out how to share them.

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Re: Arby’s Island

Postby Bob Stinson's Ghost » February 13th, 2018, 11:59 pm

jtoemke wrote:
February 13th, 2018, 8:04 pm
Maybe its just me but I think of roundabouts, atleast in the way Americans typically build them, as just so NOT urban. They suck for pedestrians and take up a lot of space.
It's a good place to put a statue you don't like very much. You only have to look at it when there are no trucks or buses in the way.

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Re: Arby’s Island

Postby Multimodal » February 15th, 2018, 12:11 pm

Thatchio, if it’s not too much work, that’d be very interesting to see.

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Re: Arby’s Island

Postby Multimodal » February 16th, 2018, 7:12 am

In defense of my—apparently crazy—plan for pedestrianizing Lagoon and putting a monumental building and statue/plaza at each end: this is straight out of Jane Jacobs’ playbook.

In Chapter 19 (“Visual Order: Its Limitations and Possibilities”) of “The Death and Life of Great American Cities”, she has sections starting with “Streets provide the principal *visual scenes* in cities” (p378 of my paperback 1992 edition); “Landmarks, as their name says, are prime orientation clues” (p384); “Eye-catchers… have an importance in city appearance out of all proportion to the physical space the occupy” (p388).

In the “visual scenes” paragraphs, she talks about Europeans disliking America’s monotonous street grids that go on forever. “Therefore, a good many city streets (not all) need visual interruptions… celebrating intense street use by giving it a hint of enclosure and entity.” She talks about two main ways of adding irregularities to the street grid. The first is adding streets to make the grid smaller and more walkable, something Lagoon itself does. The second is interruptions to the grid: “Occasional large buildings (preferably with public significance) can be placed across straight streets at ground level. Grand Central Terminal in New York is a well-known example” with “the street itself divided around a square a plaza forming the interruption.” She then lists some pitfalls, including blocking pedestrian flow, which is one reason I thought connecting Lagoon to the Greenway could be a good idea.

(I’ll talk about her landmarks paragraphs and eye-catcher paragraphs in Chapter 19 in the next post.)

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Re: Arby’s Island

Postby Multimodal » February 16th, 2018, 7:26 am

In the landmarks paragraphs, she says that landmarks “emphasize… the diversity of cities” and “we badly need more, not fewer, city landmarks—great landmarks and small.” “The absence of any visual climax or dignifying objects says Unimportance.” “…an effective landmark in such a place usually needs to be overtly uncommercial.” The library at Hennepin is certainly a landmark (as is the old one, although it’s now commercial), but it’s in the center of Lagoon and doesn’t “enclose” it.

In the paragraphs on eye-catchers, she says “…eye-catchers… are eye-catchers because of precisely where they are, and these are necessary to consider as a deliberate part of city design.” “By taking care with the relatively very few spots that are inevitable eye-catchers, much character, interest and accent can be given to a whole scene by suggestion…”.

You could even argue that Arby’s large, iconic sign itself acted as this landmark/eye-catcher that defined the eastern edge of Uptown. You saw it when you entered & exited the area, and it helped define what and where Uptown was. How sure am I about this? Well, people held a vigil for the sign, and many wanted to save & protect it.

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Re: Arby’s Island

Postby thatchio » February 17th, 2018, 11:08 pm

In case you are interested, I did place some historical files on the Lake/Lagoon one-way pair. I believe most of these came from a file that the traffic division at the City of Minneapolis maintained that I photocopied back in the early 2000s.
I am not the best at figuring out how to share files now a days, so I opted for Dropbox. https://www.dropbox.com/sh/5efftqhjfl3m ... DbfJa?dl=0

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Re: Arby’s Island

Postby EOst » February 18th, 2018, 10:29 am

Thanks for all this! Very interesting reading.

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Re: Arby’s Island

Postby BigIdeasGuy » February 18th, 2018, 5:55 pm

Multimodal wrote:
February 16th, 2018, 7:26 am
In the landmarks paragraphs, she says that landmarks “emphasize… the diversity of cities” and “we badly need more, not fewer, city landmarks—great landmarks and small.” “The absence of any visual climax or dignifying objects says Unimportance.” “…an effective landmark in such a place usually needs to be overtly uncommercial.” The library at Hennepin is certainly a landmark (as is the old one, although it’s now commercial), but it’s in the center of Lagoon and doesn’t “enclose” it.

In the paragraphs on eye-catchers, she says “…eye-catchers… are eye-catchers because of precisely where they are, and these are necessary to consider as a deliberate part of city design.” “By taking care with the relatively very few spots that are inevitable eye-catchers, much character, interest and accent can be given to a whole scene by suggestion…”.

You could even argue that Arby’s large, iconic sign itself acted as this landmark/eye-catcher that defined the eastern edge of Uptown. You saw it when you entered & exited the area, and it helped define what and where Uptown was. How sure am I about this? Well, people held a vigil for the sign, and many wanted to save & protect it.
This pretty well sums up my concern about this slight becoming affordable housing. This truly needs to be a landmark site that signals the entrance to Uptown. Something that is immediately recognizable and is full of energy and life.

It's not that affordable housing can't be a landmark and attention grabbing but I can't think of in MSP that has been built recently, one could argue Ceder-Riverside but it's my understanding that was built as market rate/luxury housing. I also find it highly unlikely that the government would be able to justify the additional costs to building a landmark building compared to something very standard and basic.

To be clear I'm not anti-affordable housing, we need more of honestly and I hope MSP builds more it everywhere but in this location having a landmark is super important in my opinion.

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Re: Arby’s Island

Postby amiller92 » February 19th, 2018, 9:35 am

BigIdeasGuy wrote:
February 18th, 2018, 5:55 pm
This pretty well sums up my concern about this slight becoming affordable housing. This truly needs to be a landmark site that signals the entrance to Uptown. Something that is immediately recognizable and is full of energy and life.

It's not that affordable housing can't be a landmark and attention grabbing but I can't think of in MSP that has been built recently, one could argue Ceder-Riverside but it's my understanding that was built as market rate/luxury housing. I also find it highly unlikely that the government would be able to justify the additional costs to building a landmark building compared to something very standard and basic.

To be clear I'm not anti-affordable housing, we need more of honestly and I hope MSP builds more it everywhere but in this location having a landmark is super important in my opinion.
Call me crazy but housing people can afford > a recognizable landmark. Like, I don't think that's even debatable.

Also call me crazy that affordable housing =/= government-owned housing.

Regardless, it will be up to the property owner what goes here. Hopefully they have some ambition and don't just convert the existing structure to a Starbucks.

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Re: Arby’s Island

Postby VacantLuxuries » February 19th, 2018, 10:35 am

Whatever goes on this spot should be an ambitious development. But many of us here expect that from any development proposed in tight markets. I really don't understand why suddenly this site needs to be Minneapolis' Arc de Triomphe otherwise it's a waste. Not to mention the emphasis on the necessity of a landmark over the actual, real need for affordable housing is confusing at best.

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Re: Arby’s Island

Postby MNdible » February 19th, 2018, 10:59 am

Because Jane Jacobs.

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Re: Arby’s Island

Postby Multimodal » February 19th, 2018, 1:17 pm

Affordable housing is important & necessary. You might even say it’s a crisis.

But if every chunk of land becomes affordable housing, why would anyone want to live there?

Uptown is a popular destination and place to live precisely because it is *interesting*. Sure, less so that it used to be, in that interesting places like Intermedia Arts are probably going away. A victim of its own success.

But Uptown is still walkable, with shopping, work, food, drink, arts, library, parks, recreation, entertainment, etc. all right within the neighborhood.

If, every time a piece of land is redeveloped (including Arby’s and even Intermedia Arts), it is made into affordable housing, then there will be nothing left to go to Uptown for.

The art of planning is helping to encourage the creation of a fun, interesting, arty, edible, livable area. Affordability is one goal among many, and it’s certainly more important than many, but if you make it the goal to the exclusion of all else, you have lost whatever it is that will make people want to live there.

And, yes, Jane Jacobs talks about this. Her 3-banks-on-the-corner example.

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Re: Arby’s Island

Postby VacantLuxuries » February 19th, 2018, 1:22 pm

We're reaching "Nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded" territory now

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Re: Arby’s Island

Postby Chef » February 19th, 2018, 10:02 pm

I think this would be a great place for a park or a plaza. It is in the middle of a prime commercial district and it is only a matter of time before it is surrounded by midrises on all sides. In Europe that would be a classic place to put a square or piazza. It would be a public space where people would genuinely hang out. Since we don't do piazzas in Minnesota a park would be the next best thing.

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Re: Arby’s Island

Postby amiller92 » February 20th, 2018, 10:06 am

Multimodal wrote:
February 19th, 2018, 1:17 pm
But if every chunk of land becomes affordable housing, why would anyone want to live there?
We aren't adding much affordable housing at all, and I can't think of any new affordable housing in Uptown at all (don't follow that closely so I might not be up to speed).
If, every time a piece of land is redeveloped (including Arby’s and even Intermedia Arts), it is made into affordable housing, then there will be nothing left to go to Uptown for.
Two (or more) new affordable developments will make Uptown not "walkable, with shopping, work, food, drink, arts, library, parks, recreation, entertainment, etc. all right within the neighborhood?"

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Re: Arby’s Island

Postby twincitizen » February 20th, 2018, 11:41 am

Chef wrote:
February 19th, 2018, 10:02 pm
I think this would be a great place for a park or a plaza. It is in the middle of a prime commercial district and it is only a matter of time before it is surrounded by midrises on all sides. In Europe that would be a classic place to put a square or piazza. It would be a public space where people would genuinely hang out. Since we don't do piazzas in Minnesota a park would be the next best thing.
I agree in theory. But Uptown is not exactly short on green space or quasi-public open/plaza space. West of Hennepin you have the "mall" green space. Right in the heart of Uptown is the Mozaic plaza which is being enlarged for the office building currently under construction. Just south of LynLake is Bryant Square Park. And running throughout the area is the Greenway. And the 29th Street woonerf sorta adds a limited-use plaza/open space. One thing that might've been useful would be a Greenway "trailhead" type of park like this one at 11th Ave: https://www.google.com/maps/@44.9505452 ... a=!3m1!1e3 Unfortunately, that concept works a lot better north of the Greenway than on the south side (where it would interfere with future Midtown trains).

Between the Cub and Arby's sites, I would favor the developer adding a quasi-public open space over paying the park dedication fee. There's definitely room among the two parcels to add a marginally useful green space somewhere. Seems like a safer bet for the Cub parcel than the smaller Arby's island though.

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Re: Arby’s Island

Postby Multimodal » February 20th, 2018, 2:24 pm

amiller92 wrote:We aren't adding much affordable housing at all, and I can't think of any new affordable housing in Uptown at all (don't follow that closely so I might not be up to speed).

Two (or more) new affordable developments will make Uptown not "walkable, with shopping, work, food, drink, arts, library, parks, recreation, entertainment, etc. all right within the neighborhood?"
The (deserved) hue & cry today is for more affordable housing. We do need it.

But not on every site. That’s what I was reacting to. Some people now want affordable housing on every new site that comes up. Indeed, I was responding to a suggestion to put affordable housing on this site.

Location. Location. Location.

I’m just thinking about what’s appropriate on this particular site. To me, this site is way too important to put a generic building on that takes up the entirety of the lot to keep costs down for affordable housing.

This lot is a keystone of Uptown, not just filler.

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Re: Arby’s Island

Postby Chef » February 20th, 2018, 7:08 pm

twincitizen wrote:
February 20th, 2018, 11:41 am
Chef wrote:
February 19th, 2018, 10:02 pm
I think this would be a great place for a park or a plaza. It is in the middle of a prime commercial district and it is only a matter of time before it is surrounded by midrises on all sides. In Europe that would be a classic place to put a square or piazza. It would be a public space where people would genuinely hang out. Since we don't do piazzas in Minnesota a park would be the next best thing.
I agree in theory. But Uptown is not exactly short on green space or quasi-public open/plaza space. West of Hennepin you have the "mall" green space. Right in the heart of Uptown is the Mozaic plaza which is being enlarged for the office building currently under construction. Just south of LynLake is Bryant Square Park. And running throughout the area is the Greenway. And the 29th Street woonerf sorta adds a limited-use plaza/open space. One thing that might've been useful would be a Greenway "trailhead" type of park like this one at 11th Ave: https://www.google.com/maps/@44.9505452 ... a=!3m1!1e3 Unfortunately, that concept works a lot better north of the Greenway than on the south side (where it would interfere with future Midtown trains).

True, but none of those spaces really work as public hang outs. Minneapolis doesn't have a single public square type public space like you would see in Europe, the east coast or in a New England village green. It is something the city is sorely lacking. This is a perfect spot to create one. The classic square or village green is surrounded by retail on all sides and is a natural place to hang out because people are there already, not because it is decreed to be one by a park board. All great cities should have at least one.


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