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Local businesses on Hennepin Avenue in uptown Minneapolis are voicing opposition to the city's plan to "slim the bustling corridor to one travel lane in each direction and bring amenities such as wider sidewalks, dedicated bus lanes and possibly room for bikes," citing the projected loss of 90% of curbside parking spots in the area as "tragic" for their businesses. Tim Harlow reports on the controversy over the city's efforts to give the street its "first major makeover since 1957."
Business owners maintain that losing street parking immediately in front of or adjacent to their storefronts "would be 100% devastating" since parking in the area is already difficult to find and many of their customers depend on short-term parking for pick-ups and drop-offs. Todd Smith, a local business owner, says encouraging people to use other forms of transit doesn't make sense for all businesses. "It's hard to buy a futon and take it home on my bike," he told the Star Tribune.
To allay concerns, the city is developing solutions that allow "motorists to be able to stop to load and unload",and "other traffic calming strategies as part of an interim treatment until the city comes up with a permanent modification." project manager Becca Hughes says the city is working with the Uptown Association and "fine-tuning designs on a block-by-block basis."
The city is accepting public feedback on the project until April 16 and plans to present final designs to the city council in August.