On April 20, Public Works leaders addressed an online audience about recently announced design changes to phase two of Bryant Avenue reconstruction. At the April 6 Bryant Avenue stakeholders meeting, over 130 people attended with the majority of feedback expressing concern over the last-minute changes to an already-approved plan.
“We are sorry that we did not communicate sooner about these issues that came up,” Public Works Director Margaret Anderson Kelliher said at the top of the April 20 meeting. Numerous attendees at the April 6 meeting had asked why Director Anderson Kelliher was not present at that meeting.
Director of Transportation Planning and Programming Jenifer Hager, who was present at the April 6 meeting, also addressed the timing of the design changes.
“We know this feels fast. It is,” Hager said as she read from a prepared statement. “We could have done a better job with our communications.”
Public Works Deputy Director and City Engineer Bryan Dobbs was also on the call to facilitate questions submitted by the audience.
According to Public Works leaders, fire trucks struggled to access the phase one area of Bryant Avenue, from 42nd to 50th Streets, after its reconstruction due to the narrow street design, snow pack, and parked cars.
Minneapolis Fire Chief Bryan Tyner briefly joined the call to answer questions about why fire trucks need more room than what is currently given south of 42nd Street.
Tyner explained that fire code necessities a 20-foot wide street at all times. Fire trucks are 10 and-a-half feet wide. “Ambulances are also very wide,” Tyner said, and require the same width allowance in the street.
Tyner explained that the aerial apparatuses on the trucks, for ladder rescues and fire extinguishing, require a larger space than 10 feet to navigate so that the truck does not tip over.
As for bringing in smaller fire engines to avoid these space issues, “small vehicles would take years with supply chain issues, if we wanted to downgrade the fleet” Tyner said.
Tyner said that compared to cities of comparable size, our fire trucks are a bit smaller but are similar in size to what other cities use.
During the Thursday evening meeting, Public Works reviewed changes that will be made to the Bryant reconstruction in phase two. A full design layout that includes each block along Bryant Avenue is not currently available.
According to Public Works, most blocks along Bryant up to 32nd Street will look like the “Phase 2 Typical Cross Section” slide. The revised plan does not include any changes to Bryant Avenue on blocks 36th through 38th Street.
Parking will move to one side of the street, as illustrated in “Phase 2 Typical Cross Section” slide. With the revised phase two plan, Public Works is estimating parking will be reduced by 26% and green space by 13%.
According to Public Works, the Bryant Ave. S. reconstruction webpage will continue to be updated with design plans as they are made available.