Marcy-Holmes area slated to receive summertime facelift

Emily Johns

When students living in the Marcy-Holmes area leave for the summer, the neighborhood won’t be deserted.

Road workers, tree planters and bike path planners will take their place, working on projects designed to revitalize the area by the time students return in the fall.

The Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association, working with the city of Minneapolis, is renovating its roads, planting new boulevard trees, adding bike paths and changing traffic flow patterns so the neighborhood can better accommodate bikers and pedestrians.

The roads in the eastern half of Marcy-Holmes – the neighborhood north of Dinkytown – will be renovated beginning May 19. The asphalt on the streets will be removed and then overlaid. Lisa Cerney, a project engineer for Minneapolis’ Public Works and Engineering Services department, said the work is expected to be completed in mid-August, before students come back for classes.

All area streets, bordered by University Avenue Southeast, Eighth Street Southeast 10th Avenue Southeast and 15th Avenue Southeast, will be renovated with the exception of the bordering streets, Fourth Street Southeast and the Dinkytown portion of 14th Avenue.

The roads have not been renovated since their original construction in the late 1970s, Cerney said.

She said the neighborhood had input in how to spend $13,200, and another $5,000 provided by the University, on traffic reduction. A committee of six neighborhood residents met and decided to use the money for 65 “No Parking” signs that will be used to keep intersections clear and sightlines open.

The $1.5 million project is expected to be approved at a Feb. 14 Minneapolis City Council meeting.

More than 60 trees are set to be planted along the streets in Marcy-Holmes. As part of the “Tree Trust” program, the neighborhood applied for a grant from the City Forestry Department, according to a plan discussed at Marcy-Holmes neighborhood meeting Tuesday evening.

“We’ve lost a lot of trees from Dutch elm (disease), or they’ve been snapped off by vandals,” said Chris Wilson, president of the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association.

As part of the road renovation, the Minneapolis Department of Transportation and Parking Services is redesigning the bike lane on Fifth Street Southeast.

The current two-way bike lane is not wide enough to conform to government regulations, according to Don Phlaum, a transportation engineer at the Minneapolis Public Works Department. Phlaum, who is in charge of the bike lane project, said creating a one-way bike lane going against the flow of the one-way traffic will be a better solution for west-bound biking than Fourth Street Southeast.

“Fourth is such a hodgepodge mess,” Phlaum said, referring to the sporadic bike trails along the street. “We needed a facility that would go from Central to 15th in the opposite direction.”

Phlaum’s proposal includes turning stop signs from the street onto the avenue to encourage better flow so bicyclists and cars wouldn’t have to stop as often.

Other traffic improvements include a flashing “Pedestrian Crossing” sign across 10th Avenue Southeast at Fifth Street Southeast. This will link the Fifth Street bike lane to a pedestrian bridge crossing Interstate 35W, connecting the two halves of the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood.

“One of the principles we try to encourage is the connection to the river,” Wilson said.

Emily Johns covers the metropolitan area and welcomes comments at [email protected]