This week, the City Council moves forward with one of the biggest transit investments in the region, the 35W Lake Transit Access Project. With this project, we move forward with a critical missing piece to Bus Rapid Transit implementation, connecting Lakeville to downtown Minneapolis along 35W: a multi-modal transit station at 35W/Lake.
A prior version of this project did not include a transit station, expanded the freeway, and had a total cost of $500 million and growing. In 2007, I was proud to co-author a resolution that said “no” to the freeway expansion project and refocused the project on transit at 35W/Lake.
The project includes, as the highest priority, a transit station at 35W/Lake that will connect riders to bus rapid transit on 35W, connect to bus transit on Lake Street, and connect to the Midtown Greenway where we hope streetcars will run in the future. Other project components include a southbound exit to Lake Street and a northbound exit to 28th Street.
With the Southbound exit, more direct access to Lake Street and surrounding destinations will be provided; this missing movement to the South Minneapolis commercial area has been desired by small business owners and neighbors for years, and will reduce existing cut through traffic in the neighborhoods. The 28th Street ramp will reduce traffic from the 31st Street exit by 25%, increasing livability for neighbors in the area and providing more direct access for traffic to the hospitals and large employers. Unlike the previous versions of the 35W Lake project, these elements cost less (a total of $114 million), are a smaller profile, and meet a cost-benefit project analysis individually and as a whole.
The project approved today is a different project than the one proposed before the 2007 City resolution prioritizing transit. It costs less, it focuses on missing movements that left out South Minneapolis commercial areas when 35W was constructed, and it reiterates that transit is our number one priority.
Bancroft Neighborhood Assocation Council
Meets 2nd Thursday, 7 pm, 4120 17th Avenue South
Bryant Neighborhood Association
Meets 1st Tuesday, 7 pm, Urban League South,411 E 38th Street
Meets 3rd Thursday, 6:15 pm, Sabathani Community Center, Room 403, 310 East 38th Street
Meets 3rd Wednesday, 6:30 pm, 1620 E 46th Street
Meets 2nd Wednesday, 7 pm, MLK Park, 40th & Nicollet
Meets 2nd Thursday, 6:30 pm, 821 E 35th Street
38th & Chicago Implementation Committee
Meets 3rd Monday, 7 pm, Pillsbury House, 3501 Chicago Ave S