MCW Partnership Sets Priorities for Corridor Development: Members Apply for 5 Year Goals to Lake Street Reconstruction, Sears Planning

10/2003—The parallel arteries of Lake Street and the Midtown Greenway are carrying an urban transformation to the 14 Minneapolis neighborhoods through which they pass. Together they define a focus of the city’s population growth and the most ambitious redevelopment efforts in a generation.

Ask any one organization or task force to gets its arms around the “vision” for this six-mile corridor, and you have a tiger by the tail. 

The members of the MCW Partnership devoted two of its quarterly meetings this year to wrestling with the tiger to identify its five-year priorities. 

The partnership affirmed commitments to integrate the visions and governance of Lake Street and the Midtown Greenway as a single corridor, and to maintain a strong presence in promoting the corridor. Members also resolved to advocate for strong connections between Lake Street and the Greenway. 

Several members of the partnership turned out to do just that at visioning meeting June 9 for the Lake Street Reconstruction and Streetscaping project. 

County Commissioners Gail Dorfman and Peter McLaughlin joined Mayor R.T. Rybak and City Council members Gary Schiff, Dean Zimmermann, Dan Niziolek, and Robert Lilligren in calling for the Lake Street project to be planned within a framework of economic development, transit and urban design that includes the Greenway.

"We need to capitalize on the vitality that is developing and look at the whole corridor, not pieces,” Lilligren said. 

"Connections between the Greenway and Lake Street are critical to the overall planning,” added Dorfman. “Without them you have no corridor, only two parallel arteries.” 

“It’s very significant when so much leadership in the community lines up behind issues like a Greenway streetcar with connections to Lake Street,” said Paula Gilbertson of Lake Street Partners, chair of the advisory committee for Lake Street reconstruction, which hosted the visioning meeting.

While no funding source is currently identified to support a Greenway streetcar, members of the partnership hope to continue technology and environmental reviews to position the project for funding in the future. 

In September, in a joint resolution with the Phillips Partnership, the MCW Partnership included accommodations for a greenway streetcar among its planning priorities for the Sears redevelopment. 

Other long-term priorities identified by the MCW Partnership include completion of the Greenway construction, support for housing and commercial developments in the corridor, and ongoing sponsorship of annual Greenway events such as Arbor Day and Parade of Arts.