Downtown Minneapolis is back and open for business

Planting one of 179 new trees on Marquette and Second avenues.

Planting one of 179 new trees on Marquette and Second Aves.

If you’ve noticed, lately, Minneapolis has been undergoing some pretty major transformation.   We are in the midst of several projects that will radically reshape downtown and today I was excited to mark a major milestone as construction on Marquette and 2nd Avenues nears completion.   As it wraps up, construction-related hassles are disappearing and transportation downtown will soon be better than ever.  New streets, wider sidewalks, more trees, and faster busses as the results.

Marquette and 2nd Avenues have been re-built as transit-ways that will serve as major arteries, allowing people to come into downtown and get around more quickly and efficiently.  When buses return in the next few months, they will have two lanes, allowing them to pass each other, ensuring that they stay on schedule and get to their destinations faster.  New bus shelters will have real-time schedule displays, allowing commuters to see exactly when their bus will arrive.  Sidewalks have also been widened and almost 180 new trees have been planted, making downtown greener and more attractive.

These improvements on Marquette & 2nd will also allow us next year to remove many buses from Nicollet mall, leaving only hybrids.  It will be  a cleaner, quieter and more pedestrian-friendly area.  Soon, Northstar Commuter Rail will open up and connect with the Hiawatha line at Target field, creating a new transportation interchange.  And just days ago, Hennepin and 1st avenues reopened as two-way streets, something they haven’t been in nearly 30 years.

This is all part of our Access Minneapolis transportation plan which will significantly improve and change transportation in our city.   This plan takes into account all forms of transit including driving, biking, walking, and public transportation.   Thanks to federal funding, we’re ahead of schedule on the plan and are seeing improvements sooner than we thought we would even two years ago.

Downtown Minneapolis is resurging.  Businesses are ready to welcome you back to a cleaner, greener, and easy to navigate area.  Downtown is back!

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