Will parking fears impact future development in Marcy-Holmes?

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 What 8th St SE looks like currently. Image from Google Maps.  

The May and June meetings of the Marcy Holmes Neighborhood Association Transportation Committee have focused on parking issues in the neighborhood, with the eventual goal of having a more standardized vision of what works for the neighborhood for when new projects are proposed in the area. Task forces (see below) are currently being formed to determine a systematic approach for parking issues in the neighborhood. Bicycle infrastructure and high density housing have come up in both meetings as perceived contributing factors to parking issues.

With the attendance of the past two meetings skewing strongly towards long term homeowners whose priority is plentiful parking for themselves and their visitors, it is important that all perspectives and voices in the neighborhood be brought to the table for this discussion. The conversation thus far has been lacking in perspectives from residents who rely on active transportation such as biking and walking, and who have an interest in growing our neighborhood in a more bike and walk friendly manner. You can have an impact by joining a community task force or coming to the next Marcy Holmes Neighborhood Association Transportation Committee meeting!

During both the May and June Transportation Committee meetings, a persistent theme from residents in attendance was that the existing bicycle infrastructure in the neighborhood is adequate, and no additions or improvements are necessary. It is perceived by some residents that the current bicycle infrastructure is underutilized, and that there is not enough demand to justify removing parking or making other changes to streets in the neighborhood in order to add or improve bicycle infrastructure. At the May meeting, many residents in attendance expressed concern regarding the proposed 8th St. SE bike lane, installation of which will require removal of parking from one side of the street. While the proposed changes to bike lanes on University Avenue and 4th Street SE were not addressed at the last two meetings, it seems likely that the majority of residents attending these meetings would oppose changes that remove any parking.

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The 8th St SE lane would connect to existing bike infrastructure. Image from Google Maps.

Another common theme at these meetings was the belief that high density housing in the neighborhood is antithetical to the historical identity of Marcy Holmes as well as contributing to parking volumes. One aspect of high density housing discussed at length was parking minimums and parking variances. Many residents in attendance expressed concern that some new projects have received parking minimum variances from the City of Minneapolis. These residents suggested that parking pressure could be relieved if new development had higher parking minimum requirements, and included parking in the rent, to discourage residents in those buildings from parking on the street. This view is made with the assumption that everyone living in these buildings will own a car, and that more parking will relieve parking demand in the neighborhood.

The majority of residents in attendance at these meetings has been made up of long term homeowners, with few renters or newer residents in attendance. Missing from the discussion thus far has been the promotion of non-motorized transportation as an approach to easing parking volumes. Also missing is consideration of the Complete Streets policy that the City of Minneapolis has adopted, which “emphasizes the City’s commitment to building a complete and integrated public right-of-way to ensure that everyone can travel safely and comfortably, regardless of whether they are walking, biking, taking transit, or driving”.

Tasks forces are now being formed, with areas of focus around the following areas:

1) Regulatory approaches - includes both improved communication about parking enforcement and implementation of new parking rules. Working with Minneapolis Public Works to identify which solutions will work in different areas based on city policies.

2) Local land use approaches - working with the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association Land Use Committee to develop guidelines for reviewing potential projects. Also examines parking requirements for zoning overlays that affect Marcy-Holmes.

3) Partnerships - identify business and institutional partners that may have interest in parking in the neighborhood and work with them on ways to pool resources to achieve common parking relief goals and/or keep them informed of solutions that are recommended by other task forces.

4) Shape city policy - examine existing long-term planning documents and ordinances and determine how the neighborhood can provide feedback to policymakers and staff working on the Minneapolis 2040 plan to help make the neighborhood transportation system, including roads and parking, function better.

If you are a resident of Marcy Holmes and wish to get involved in one or more of these task forces sign up using this formTransportation Committee meetings are held the 4th Thursday of each month and all residents of Marcy Holmes are welcome and encouraged to attend.