Why I Walked Across LynLake Avenue During Rush Hour

I’m the “this woman” in the video who walked into Lyndale avenue… during rush hour… at an unmarked corner.

Allow me to explain because this is a decidedly bad idea. Yes, it is my right by law, but that doesn’t make it smart. Quite the contrary. 

I did it to illustrate a point: While Lyndale might be a convenient and fast way to travel, it isn’t a safe, people-friendly street. The advocacy group I was with that day--Our Streets Minneapolis--wanted to send that message to our leadership at Hennepin County. You see, while the City of Minneapolis is making huge strides to make our streets more pedestrian friendly, the County is lagging behind.  Since Lyndale is a county road and the City has little jurisdiction over it we needed to direct our energies to the right entity to create change. We simply wanted to demonstrate that the pedestrian experience on Lyndale is a problem now. Today. And regardless of your thoughts on traffic and cars and density and parking and bike lanes, I mean, who doesn’t want safer and more pleasant experience for humans as we walk our streets and sidewalks? Afterall, streets and sidewalks are public realm. As in public… yours and mine and that new mom with the baby stroller. Ours. 

To be fair: I personally do not stop for pedestrians on Lyndale. I mean, why would I? I’m driving 40 mph with a line of cars on all sides of me doing the same. It's (expletive) dangerous to stop. No one around me is expecting it, likely on their phone, not paying attention and liable to smash into me or veer around me and smash the pedestrian. I am not suggesting that we stop for pedestrians on Lyndale as we know it today. That’d be unruly and unrealistic.

I am suggesting that we can remake Lyndale to be an effective corridor for cars and safer for humans. Hear me out… If I’m on a side street and I’m traveling 25 mph, it makes sense for me to stop when I see a pedestrian. It’s easy to go from 25 to zero and back to 25. My fellow drivers expect it and patiently wait for the crossing. 

On Lyndale, relatively minor infrastructure changes can create a completely different culture on the street that encourages more humane behavior. We need only look a few blocks away to Lyndale south of 31st as an example. Traffic still moves efficiently, but with only three lanes and a median, is eons safer for pedestrians, quieter… softer.

I moved to Minneapolis 20 years ago. And even I can remember “the good old days” of bombing down our streets. 28th street was my favorite. With the right timing, I could make it to Hiwatha in like six minutes. It was glorious. For the same trip today, I leave a good 45 minutes early because I know the slow-moving river of traffic that awaits. Do I long for the bygone era? Selfishly, absolutely, yes. But if I can get past myself, I think the trade-off is worth it. I like living in a city that honors people on foot and bike and bus equally--even if it is a little more inconvenient for me. 

As a side note, I own a small business in LynLake and am the co-chair of the LynLake Business Association. I totally, 100% know that parking and circulation is important to the success of our business corridor. I also know that our customers’ shopping and spending habits were changing BEFORE the City started promoting density (ie “more congestion”) and and changing street infrastructure to make them more human-friendly. “The parking problem” is the low hanging fruit. It’s easy to fight about and talk about and blame for shuttered shops. What’s hard is thinking critically about spending behavior and how to help small business thrive in a completely unknown, targeted, utterly absorbing electronic economy

In Lynlake, we aren’t having the parking conversation at every meeting. Instead, we are refocusing our energies--minds young and old--on understanding the seismic shift in the way people spend--ie virtually-- and finding ways to invite people back into our commercial node. We aim to build a healthy coalition of small business owners who support one another. We aim to create a one-of-a-kind place that draws people out of their amenity-rich apartments, off of their screens and into our real and tangible and experiential neighborhood. And once here, maybe they’ll have a beer or nibble or pop into that corner store. 

It's all connected. How we engineer public streets to make them feel safe and welcoming… How creative we get about public spaces and places in Lynlake and how well we do as a commercial district. 

Stepping into Lyndale during rush hour: Not good. Sparking conversations about how to make ours a vibrant and safe city: Not bad. 

Love From Lyn Lake Minneapolis Bingo celebrates winners

Eight persistent and loyal customers of Lyn Lake businesses completed the challenge to collect 15 random squares, or scored a vertical, horizontal of diagonal bingo on our play card. The winners were notified by e-mail on April 8th, and told that each winner would be able to collect not one but two prizes at Legacy Glassworks.

Congratulations at Todd Hollingsworth, Katherine Osborne, Neil Nelson, Mara Dougherty, and Robert Koons, Daisy Hernandez, Amanda Dawn, and luzelanace! Thanks for participating.

And many thanks for the business owners led by Josh of Legacy Glass, Jill from Huge Theater, and Morgan from Balance Fitness for going door to door to collect the prizes and create the concept from scratch. Got to love our volunteers.


Working Families Meeting

An open letter to all businesses in the Lyn Lake business district: Members and non-members

Dear Fellow Business Owners,

This is a very important message that every business owner with more than one employee must read and consider immediately. The city of Minneapolis is preparing to vote on a Working Families Agenda following a last day of comments on October 16th.

Some of the highlights involve all businesses having to give employees up to one week of paid sick leave per year, accrued by hours worked. It mandates that all employees work schedules be posted and adhered to 28 days in advance. It also mandates overtime pay, and compensation if shifts are cancelled by the employer. In short, the City of Minneapolis is proposing to take dictate to all business not represented by union contracts on certain minimum benefits that MUST be given to employees, with penalties for non-compliance.

You must take the time to read through the proposals. One of the council members representing our area and supporter of these proposals, Lisa Bender, will be meeting with us on Tuesday Sept. 29th, at Marche restaurant inside the Lime Apartment complex on 29th and Lyndale from 12:30-2pm.

Please do your homework, and try and bring reasonable comments and questions to the meeting. For many, it sounds like this is going to be a slam dunk for City Council to pass, with the support of many on the council as well as the mayor.


John Meegan, board chair Lyn Lake Business Association

Letter from Saralyn Romanishan Re: Parking Requirement

12 June 2015

Planning Commission & City Council

Regarding the Off Street Parking Zoning Code Text Amendment


I am writing this letter as I will not be able to attend the June 15 meeting of the Planning

Commission.  Please make sure this letter is included in the packet.


I am deeply disturbed by this amendment and the thoughtlessness and true blindness

represented by it.  This is bad city planning at its finest.  Passing this amendment  will

be a grave mistake and will hurt the residents of this city more than it could ever hope to

help them.  


Please do NOT approve this amendment.  Do NOT change current off street parking

requirements and please stop giving variances for them.


I am a strong proponent of mass transit, walking, and biking.  But cars exist for a reason

as do the current requirements for Off Street Parking.


This is a policy that is discriminatory of those designated “Limited Mobility”.


 Not everyone can physically ride a bike.

 Walking a ¼ mile to a bus stop or a ½ mile to a train station is impossible for many



This policy does not promote safety.


 Streets crowded with parked cars stacked up against each other are unsafe.

 Trying to find a parking space on a PUBLIC street near one’s home becomes a lottery

ticket people fight for.

 Walking home from a bus or train ¼ mile to a ½ mile away from your home at midnight is

not safe.

o Vehicle damage increases.

o Visibility decreases.

o Snow plowing is near impossible.

o Walking home from a car parked ¼ mile to a ½ mile away from your home at

midnight is not safe.

o There is an uptick in violent crime this year.  Read the latest statistics.

 “In addition, this distance would be measured to the nearest transit stop rather than

to the transit stops serving the site in both directions.”

o What if this is an extremely busy or multi-lane street?

o What if there are no crosswalks or lights?


Developers are in it for the money, not the environment.  This is their business

not their cause.


 Developers always ask for less parking then required unless they are building an

extremely high-end luxury development.

o Luxury developers know they cannot ask astronomical prices for their units

without have full indoor parking available.


The ideology of a carless society has entered cult status.


 This will not stop people from having cars.

 You cannot make people not have cars.

 Clean and energy efficient cars exist and everyone knows it; hybrids, electric, solar, and

Tesla seems to come up with a new battery and car every day.  This is a major industry.

 Not everyone owns a bike, or wants to.

 This is Minnesota.  We have winter.

 Bicycle ridership goes down in the winter.  

 Bus and train ridership go down in the winter.

 People that own cars can be just as healthy and happy as people that don’t.

o Low income transit riders count the days until they can afford a car so they don’t

have to ride a bus OR bike anymore, especially those with children.  

 CarHop‘s business is booming.


I will use my neighborhood (Lowry Hill East / the Wedge), Ward 10, as an example

to support the above statements and further the argument.


 This is a very small neighborhood surrounded and bisected by frequent mass transit.

 We are extremely bicycle oriented with a bike boulevard and the Wave Bicycle Bridge.

 Bicycles and buses are everywhere.  But so are cars.

 29th St W. is in the planning stages of becoming an city planning example of a street

sharing bicycle, pedestrian, vehicle, and public zones.

 We have the highest walkability rating in the city.

 We are a high density neighborhood of over 7000 people and at least 85 percent rental.

 Currently, the streets are piled high with cars and spaces near one’s home often

impossible to find in the summer, let alone the one sided parking winter.

 Crime is up.

 Property taxes and Rents are up.

 Developers are buying up property throughout the neighborhood with the blessing of our

city council member.


o Developers are drooling.

o How much extra profit can a short term development investment make if they

don’t have to put in parking?  A LOT.  And they don’t have to stick around for the


o Whenever we say we have no parking on the street and ask the developer to put

more in?  The response is always;

 They can park on the street.  

 They can take the bus.  

 We have bike storage because everyone bikes now.

 How does this follow?  There is no available parking.

 But they still rent to people with cars.

 No they don’t.



Midday Frequency Schedules for Lowry Hill East/the Wedge

(This does not count UofM buses)


 Hennepin to Lyndale at Lake St is approximately .5 miles

 Hennepin to Lyndale at 28th St is approximately .5 miles

 Hennepin to Lyndale at 26th St is approximately .4 miles

 Hennepin to Lyndale at 22nd St is approximately .2 miles

 Lake St & Aldrich or Bryant to 27th St & Aldrich or Bryant is approximately .4 miles


Therefore, there is no location within this neighborhood that is not within a ¼ mile of a 6

or 21.

So according to this amendment;




How can anyone be serious about this?

(And changing to 350 ft when it should be less than 300ft for over 15 minutes doesn’t

help us either).


#2 (Franklin Ave s)

15-16 minutes apart


#4 (Lyndale Ave S)

15 minutes apart


#17 (24th & Hennepin between 24th & Lake)

14-19 minutes apart


#6 (Hennepin Ave S)

10 minutes apart


#21 (Lake St W)

6 minutes apart


Uptown Station (29th & Hennepin)

5-10 minutes apart due to so many bus routes



It almost seems as if the ¼ mile was written with Lowry Hill East (the Wedge) in

mind.  Was it?  I’m guessing it was.  There is not one inch of this neighborhood that

would not qualify.  And with all of the press lately, would any of you be surprised either?  

Open season once again in this neighborhood for developers.  Let’s be honest, it’s on

the first page of the staff report;: “Initiator: Council Member Bender”


“The primary objective of the amendment is to ensure that the City’s residential off-

street parking regulations align with adopted policies related to housing, land use, urban

design, transportation, and environmental sustainability.”


This statement is false.

This is corporate welfare for the developers and another give in to the Cult of the



In addition, the chosen book and article references are 1) not local 2) biased towards

only one idea, and 3) not realistic.  Where are the references that state the opposite



The Developers were not elected to run this city.

The Bicycle Coalition was not elected to run this city.

The City Council was elected to run this city – but – by the wishes of the people NOT by

special interests.


It is time to take SPECIAL INTERESTS out of local politics just as we all campaign

to take them out of national politics.


Again, please do NOT approve this amendment. In addition, put it in the circular file and

do not bring it out again until society has completely changed and special interests no

longer apply.


Thank you,

Saralyn Romanishan

Welcome This Friendly Face to Your Business

John Hruska: Our  Lyn Lake Great Street Grant surveyor 

The first stage of the Great Street Grant is the survey of all businesses in the district to build a strong communication link to each business and property owner. John is updating owner/manager and building owner information to help us stay out of people's spam filters and find out the preferred method of contact to stay in the loop. 

Please take the time and help John complete these surveys so that we can move into the next stages of our grant project.

John is the owner of his own business Shooting Star Gallery in the 2800 Lyndale Building and has been a part of the community for over 25 years. His business does specialized interior virtual reality photo shoots for businesses using Google Plus for marketing.

John has already surveyed over 45 area businesses, and we estimate over 200 businesses remain to be done. He is also prospecting for businesses to join the Lyn Lake Business Association, and get active on one of our committees.