By Marielle Mohs

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There’s controversy in the North Loop over a proposed parking ramp. The 800 space ramp would go on top of the surface lot behind The Bachelor Farmer Restaurant, along the Mississippi riverfront. It’s being proposed by the Federal Reserve, which is next door to the space. They would use the lot for both public and Federal Reserve employee parking.

However, there is a grassroots effort from neighbors who are trying to stop this ramp from being built. Nancy Gardner is one of many North Loop residents behind Halt the Ramp. Her fear is a ramp would bring an influx of cars to a neighborhood that prides itself on being pedestrian and biker friendly.

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“We also looked at the 2040 plan which says that the city [of Minneapolis] wants to reduce greenhouse gases by 80% and car trips to downtown Minneapolis by 37%,” Gardner said.

Gardner is aware something will likely move into that space, but would rather see more housing.

“Let’s house people, not cars,” she said.

Gardner’s efforts have collected nearly 300 signatures of support and 100 letters of support from businesses and environmental groups.

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However, some businesses and people are in favor of more parking options in the area. Rick Lappin, the manager of Lappin Lighting– which has been in the North Loop for 31 years– called the lack of parking in the neighborhood a “crisis.” However, he says he doesn’t want the foot and bike traffic to go away, so he hopes there can be a compromise over the ramp controversy.

“I think we have to strike a balance between being inviting to people who don’t live here, and still preserving the spirit and attractiveness for the people that are living here,” Lappin said.

A spokesperson for the Federal Reserve says the ramp would primarily be used for employee parking during regular business hours during the week, leaving 100 open spots for the public during those hours. Then, the majority of the ramp would open up to the public during weeknights and weekends.

The spokesperson also said the bike path that already exists nearby would stay intact and they would also maintain green space near the ramp.

The Federal Reserve says they are reaching out to community stakeholders about this project to make sure they have the community’s support.

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The Planning Commission will hear the proposal at the next city council meeting which is Monday at 4:30 p.m. On the current agenda, the recommended motion is to deny plans to build this ramp on the proposed site.

Marielle Mohs