Project Summary

Hennepin County, MN asked Toole Design to help improve transportation options as they sought to make the Lowry Avenue Northeast Corridor a more livable, vibrant place. Key to the project’s success was a holistic community engagement process that focused on underserved and under-represented communities, students, and business owners along the corridor. We learned that a previously-planned road widening had been discouraging investment from business owners and was out of line with the community’s vision for the corridor. Armed with this information, we developed a new plan for the corridor that calls for an enhanced streetscape and a new multimodal roadway concept. This approach has given community members confidence to invest in their property along the corridor and to expect a better, people-centered street.

Our engagement efforts successfully reached a wide range of diverse populations by going to community events, such as Central Avenue Open Streets, where residents and business owners could easily provide input on the streetscape design while already out in their community.
Outreach is for all ages! We provided creative ways for kids to provide input on the street designs through interactive materials.
Accommodating people of all ages and abilities requires a thoughtful approach to outreach as well. We ensured that those with assisted devices could participate by placing input materials at a height accessible to all.

We learned that pedestrian travel was a bigger priority than bicycling – even though Lowry Ave was a planned bicycle route in both the city and county’s adopted bicycle plans. So we took the community input and made recommendations for alternative bicycle routes, and used the space gained from the recommended 4-3 conversion is allocated to wider sidewalks and create a buffer/furnishing zone that will include a combination of trees, landscaping, benches, and public art.

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