, Associate Professor , Landscape Architechture
Traffic along the Highway 81 corridor northwest of downtown Minneapolis has grown considerably in recent years, and congestion is only likely to worsen given the population increases expected in the area. To help alleviate congestion, a bus rapid transit (BRT) system was constructed along Highway 81 offering transit service from downtown Minneapolis through the communities of Robbinsdale, Crystal, Brooklyn Park, Osseo, Hassan Township, Dayton, Maple Grove, and Rogers. The BRT system runs through the West Broadway area in North Minneapolis, and in order to create a more vibrant and people-focused pedestrian district, Juxtaposition Arts, a youth-focused, minority-directed, urban visual arts center in North Minneapolis, developed ideas for the redevelopment of West Broadway. However, the organization lacked the expertise and resources to evaluate how BRT's physical qualities relate to local design visions for redevelopment of the West Broadway area. This research project included a variety of activities, including: 1) conducting interviews with decisionmakers and community members on BRT's potential benefits to the West Broadway community and BRT's fit with visions for future development; 2) analyzing the potential impacts of BRT on pedestrian systems, traffic speeds, and sidewalk widths; 3) evaluating the proposed location and design of BRT stations relative to existing transit infrastructure and commercial nodes; and 4) developing alternative design scenarios for BRT based on community input. The project report includes an analysis of how BRT is expected to impact the West Broadway community, and recommendations for revising BRT in light of community concerns.