This piece is a community post, written by Jen Bellefleur of New Gild Jewelers and Matt Perry of the Southwest Business Association. We welcome people to submit community posts through our site. If you want to write one on this topic, please use the "Add Context" form at the bottom of this page.
You can find more context about the METRO E Line, including information on how to contact Metro Transit with feedback, on the E Line project page on our site.
Metro Transit also offered up some helpful context on why the station was proposed for 43rd & Upton, and added that they're currently welcoming feedback on the proposed E Line route through October 31st. You can give them feedback by visiting metrotransit.org/e-line-project or by emailing ELine@metrotransit.org.
Linden Hills' commercial corridor, centering on Upton Avenue and 43rd Street, was constructed along the historic Como-Harriet streetcar line in the 1920s, and today remains home to many small, local businesses. Upton is uniformly lined with mature trees that contribute to the definitive charm of this 100 year old shopping district, green in the summer and lit for the holidays. These trees continue north on the east side of Upton Avenue, along with park benches and plantings.
This is a small business node, extending one and one half blocks in each direction. We cannot afford to lose eight trees along with their flower beds and park benches from an aesthetic standpoint, nor can we lose this much curb frontage directly in front of these businesses.
The plan to build arterial Bus Rapid Transit (aBRT) stations within this tiny district will also remove eight parking spaces in an area that is already experiencing unmet parking needs. Alternatives exist that would be less likely to affect the district aesthetically or in terms of parking, including placement just outside business street frontage.
Construction of the stations will involve significant disruption and restricted access for months, to a shopping district that cannot afford the downtime that tearing up the streets and sidewalks, cutting down and removing mature trees, and erecting the new elements will require. More permanently, once the stations are built, they will obscure visibility of our businesses from street traffic, thus negating the marketing we're doing to draw customers in. This will not be a temporary inconvenience but rather a permanent change in the character of this tiny and unique commercial district.
Owners of these properties will suffer from reduced desirability for business tenants, due to altered "curb appeal,” and established rents may be hard to maintain. If independent small businesses are driven out, chain stores may move in, rendering Linden Hills no longer unique. Real Estate agents who sell in this community agree: nothing contributes more to property values here than this commercial district. These structures, which can be placed elsewhere, will gravely damage the aesthetics and the utility of the village.
The aBRT stations themselves will take up sidewalk space that currently is being used by and contributes to pedestrian shopping critical to the survival of our businesses. The village also hosts long-established events, like Woofstock and Reindeer Day, as well as newer events like Wine & Stroll. All these events rely upon the charm and appeal of this district to survive, as well as the public spaces on the street and sidewalk. Large transit stations will substantially interfere with these events.
We support better public transit and aBRT is an essential part of that improvement. At the same time, the idea that specific small business neighborhoods have unique character that should be protected is a worthy one. Minneapolis’s many neighborhoods each have unique characteristics and it is the differing “feel” of these neighborhoods that help make Minneapolis great. Better public transit would improve Minneapolis, but we shouldn’t achieve this at the expense of an entire small business node. Looking at alternative station locations is a reasonable request.
Matt Perry, Southwest Business Association President
Jen Bellefleur, Business Owner (New Gild Jewelers), Linden Hills Resident
Kelsey Lee-Karol, Business Owner (New Gild Jewelers)
Jim Cone, Business Owner (Coffee & Tea Ltd)
Dr. Geoff Sudit, Business Owner (Mint Orthodontics)
Lisa MacMartin, Business Owner (Heartfelt)
Nancy Dadak, Business Owner (Heart of Tibet)
Dr. Liz Gingrey, Business Owner (Sunu Chiropractic)
Fernando Silva, Business Owner (Harriet Brasserie)
Jason Eurich, Business Owner (Linden Hills Jewelers)
Neil and Barb Nei, Business Owners (Zumbro Café)
Karen Lang, Business Owner (Grace & Co)
Chris and Julie Hansen, Business Owners (Owl Optical)
Brady Schmidt, Business Owner (Pinwheels and Play Toys)
Naviya Labarge, Business Owner (Naviya’s Thai Brasserie)
Steve Arnold, Business Owner (Great Harvest Bakery)
Bailey Lee, Business Owner (Associated Skin Care)
Roger Weenig, Business Owner (Associated Skin Care)
Michael Pellizzer, Business Owner and Commercial Property Owner (Sebastian Joe’s)
Timothy Pellizzer, Business Owner and Commercial Property Owner (Sebastian Joe’s)
Tony Johannes, Business Owner and Commercial Property Owner (Martina)
Danny del Prado, Business Owner (martina)
Dr. Kordie Reinhold, Business Owner and Commercial Property Owner (Linden Hills Dentistry)
Dr. Peter Hinke, Business Owner and Commercial Property Owner (Linden Hills Dentistry)
Mark Settergren, Business Owner and Commercial Property Owner (Settergren Hardware)
Felicity Britton, Business Owner and Commercial Property Owner (Wild Rumpus)
Suzie Marty, Business Owner (Everett & Charlie)
Kristin Tombers, Business Owner (Clancy’s Meats)
Jeff Meyer, Business Owner (Jeff Meyer State Farm)
John Gross, Business Owner and Commercial Property Owner (Martina)
Gaylord Ryg, Commercial Property Owner
Stephanie Hawkinson, Commercial Property Owner
Mark Dwyer, Commercial Property Owner
Dave Schwier, Commercial Property Owner
Mike Zwack, Commercial Property Manager
Larry LaVercombe, Local Real Estate Agent
Diane Mach, Attorney, Local Real Estate Agent, Linden Hills Resident