Zoning Matters: A Tale of Two Corners – street.mn | CarTailz

Author’s note: This article is part of the ongoing Neighbors for More Neighbors (N4MN) discussion of the current zoning changes due to the implementation of Plan 2040 and our advocacy to allow more uses in more locations to support entire neighborhoods.

46th Street and Clinton Avenue, overlooking the Orange Line and Corridor 6 Built Form zoning in the first snow of the year. Photo by Brit Anbacht

I live near the corner of 4th Avenue and 46th Street. I like my area. It’s close to the creek and I have easy access to the 11 bus, 46 and Orange Lines. We have a 2 year old who is obsessed with wheels of all kinds. Everything that turns is fascinating. Including car tires.

46th and Clinton facing the Winner gas station on 4th Avenue. Photo by Brit Anbach

The closest place to get a gallon of milk from my house is the gas station on 46th Street, about a 3 minute walk. It has to cross 46th just before people try to get onto the freeway. Very simple and easy to make but stressful with a 2 year old. It’s definitely a challenge when I have to carry them and the gallon of milk at the same time so they don’t run out into the street. Which is okay because it’s only three minutes.

I like having two parks relatively close together. McRae Park is a 12 minute walk away and is also close to shopping at 48th and Chicago. To get there, however, I have to cross about seven alleys and as many streets — including the unusually wide park and Portland, with few motorists paying attention to pedestrians or cyclists. Which can be very scary when walking with our toddler!

46th and Chicago bus stop across from McRae Park. Home of the new D line!

If I visit the node on 48th and Chicago, I can cash a check at the bank or get my hair cut at the barber, take my child to daycare, train at the sword club, or get the flu shot at the doctor’s clinic. That’s because 48th and Chicago are designated as “corridor mixed-use,” which allows for commercial uses. It appears to be zoned in this way to recognize shop remnants from the tram era of the 1910s to 1950s, when shops popped up around interchange stations.

The nearest place to shop for more groceries is 1.3 miles or a 30 minute walk to Lunds & Byerlys at Cedar and 47th, or to the Seward Community Co-op Friendship Store a 1.1 miles long walk to 38th Street and 4th Avenue. Both are relatively expensive options, so I usually go to Cub. This is 2 miles away (a 40 minute walk) along the very busy Nicollet which I don’t feel safe cycling.

That’s why I’m concerned about zoning. Because the zoning determines where it is possible to get food. It states that I can’t just walk.

The old industrial areas built up around the tram lines. Now we have new transit lines like the Orange Line. Like 48th and Chicago, the Orange Line area is designated as “Corridor 6.” It allows for up to six floors, but is zoned as “city district” instead of “corridor mixed use”. The first draft of Urban Neighborhood has very limited uses. It bans anything other than residential and “institutional” uses such as religious facilities, schools and community centers. It would be illegal to build or operate a bodega at an Orange Line stop.

The city is evaluating which amenities to allow in neighborhoods as they update zone codes. And I want to live in a complete neighborhood where I can buy groceries, get my hair cut, get my teeth brushed, or go to a coffee shop in the morning.

Anywhere with the same built form, the overlay should have the same permitted uses. 48th and Chicago as well as 46th and 2nd Avenue have the same layout: Corridor 6 for buildings up to 6 stories. What is the justification for banning the uses already in place on the 48th and in Chicago? Minneapolis 2040 calls for entire neighborhoods.

What justifies allowing amenities only where they already exist? I am a 3 minute walk from a Corridor 6 area and want the same convenience as the neighbors that are 3 minutes from Chicago and 48th or Cedar and 47th. I want a safe and whole neighborhood where I can safely walk my child and get a gallon of milk and some mac and cheese.


What can she do to support entire Minneapolis neighborhoods?

  • Take the Complete Neighbors for More Neighbors Neighborhood Survey!
  • Volunteer with the N4MN Minneapolis 2040 Implementation Task Force!
  • Share your email address to receive action alerts on this project.
  • Talk to your neighbors and friends about what full neighborhoods are and why they are important to you.
  • Sign up for the N4MN newsletter and stay tuned for action alerts from the task force. This may include attending community meetings, testifying at hearings, or sending emails.

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