In all, 115 Uptown businesses collectively asked the city to conduct “a more thorough analysis, update studies and ultimately begin to incorporate the views, suggestions, and proposals of the Hennepin Avenue business community into a new plan for Hennepin Avenue that is truly inclusive for all.”
They submitted a letter stating:
• “Pre-2020 assessments and assumptions used to inform the design are no longer valid or should be re-evaluated.
• “Design alternatives were not adequately examined. Eight months ago, we were presented with Options A and B. We made it clear we needed to see additional alternatives; nothing was offered. Specifically, a third option with suggested modifications which led to a compromised design was requested but never considered or presented.
• “The elimination of parking along Hennepin from over 300 stalls down to 20 puts an undue hardship on businesses that are trying to recover from civil unrest, high criminal activity, and the pandemic.
“The design failure of Hennepin Avenue South between Lake Street and 31st Street is a glimpse into what the future holds on the current path. That first phase has led to a botched urban space in the heart of our neighborhood. It is directly responsible for the exodus of longtime merchants and has created unfortunate vehicular flow and parking issues. Allowing for meaningful participation from the most directly affected stakeholders will ensure a better outcome for all.”
Judy Longbottom of the UPS Store (2801 Hennepin Ave. S.) signed the letter. She recently spent over $200,000 moving and remodeling for the future. “We are fortunate to have some dedicated parking, and even with that cars are parking illegally in the bus lane daily in front of our store or across the street at the meters and running across Hennepin Avenue traffic to drop packages, pickup sandwiches and run their errands,” said Longbottom. “The need for parking is significant and should not be ignored.”She added, “The amount of space being provided in this corridor for bicycles in our climate just does not make any sense with the finite amount of space on Hennepin Avenue. Some of this space could be used for parking cars. Cars provide necessary customers which sustains commerce which drives our tax dollars which helps keep a vibrant city alive and thriving.”
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