By Bill Hudson

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A plan to revamp a one-block portion of a popular parkway is creating a big stir. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board wants to close a stretch of West Minnehaha Parkway at 50th Street to make room for improvements. But neighbors fear it will create more danger, not less.

Each day, 1,900 vehicles cross the Minnehaha Parkway bridge between south 50th and 51st Streets.

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s Adam Arvidson says closing this one block segment is just one part of a master plan to upgrade a five mile stretch of parkway from Lake Harriet to Minnehaha Falls, improving stormwater runoff and flood control, while making the parkway more bike and pedestrian friendly.

“We do have to think about the bikes and pedestrians that are using that corridor,” he said. “We understand that removal of that one spur of road has raised concerns, and it will shift traffic to other places.”

Neighbors worry traffic will pour onto James at 51st, right past Burroughs Elementary and Mount Olivet.

“It doesn’t solve an issue, it creates an issue. It’s not a safe intersection to add more traffic,” Lynnhurst neighborhood resident Beth Ashbrook said.

Ashbrook and fellow resident Kris Jagers support a cleaner creek, but say it can be done without creating more dangers.

“They can still daylight the tributary and achieve all their plans without messing with the parkway,” Jagers said.

Arvidson calls it a legitimate concern, one to be carefully weighed against the plan’s benefits and a neighborhood petition.

“It’s entirely possible the concepts will change again,” he said.

The Citizens Advisory Council will vote on a plan next month. The full park board will have the final say when it votes on the master plan mid-year.

Bill Hudson

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