Did you know that Minneapolis has an 11-lane street? Did you know that some of our most picturesque places, some amazing architecture, and one of the most heavily traveled bike routes in the city sit cheek-to-jowl with what is effectively an at-grade freeway? It’s true. It’s called Hennepin Avenue, it’s called Lyndale Avenue, it’s called Highway 55, it’s called the Loring Greenway, and it’s the Bottleneck.
The Bottleneck is historic, it existed long before the freeway systems and the automobile, and according to Alex Baumann, used to be a swankier place. I imagine prior to the automobile, the intersection of two major streets like Hennepin and Lyndale was a place of lively commerce, a place where commercial enterprises wanted to be and housing was in high demand. Since then, it’s become a combination local street, county road, state highway and freeway on-ramp. Combined, the north and south segments in the Bottleneck serve about 50,000 cars per day. Over at Strong Towns, Chuck might call it a “stroad“, but I’d say it’s more accurately described as a streeway, given it’s massive size, speed and access to the interstate. I think few would argue this stretch of street/highway serves local land uses well, it’s much more oriented towards moving lots of cars to other places, fast.