Tell MnDOT and Olson Memorial Highway decision makers to Bring Back 6th!

JUNE 25TH UPDATE: The Minnesota Department of Transportation, City of Minneapolis, and Hennepin County have launched a project that falls well short of the community’s demands and expectations for safety improvements on Olson Memorial Highway, and includes no public commitment to Bring Back 6th!

These agencies came together to intentionally destroy, displace, and harm the community for 90 years. It is time they come together to repair it. Send an email today!

About Bring Back 6th:

Olson Memorial Highway, or Highway 55, is an urban highway running through North Minneapolis. It is one of many urban highways that divides communities, pollutes the environment, and creates a hazardous environment for nearby residents. Olson Memorial Highway has a uniquely devastating history, as the construction of the highway was at the expense of a thriving Black cultural corridor along 6th Avenue N that was home to dozens of shops, businesses and music venues.

Some of these concerns were to be addressed with the construction of the Blue Line Light Rail Extension on Olson Memorial Highway. The light rail project was set to bring modest but much needed traffic safety improvements as well as robust public transit service. However, after years of planning and development, the Metropolitan Council re-routed the Blue Line Extension and planned safety and transit improvements disappeared. Harrison and other Near North neighborhoods are now left to deal with the negative impacts of this broken promise.

Our Streets Minneapolis and the Harrison Neighborhood Association are leading a campaign to address the harms of Olson Memorial Highway and reclaim the highway land to reconstruct 6th Avenue N.

Send a letter to the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority, the Metropolitan Council, and relevant elected officials and partners to share your support for the Bring Back 6th! vision. This includes the following outcomes:

Transparency!

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) and the City of Minneapolis committed to safety improvements on Olson Memorial Highway but they have only committed to temporary improvements — installed in summer 2022, removed in fall 2022 — and the improvements have fallen well short of community demands and expectations.

We are asking for:

  • A project timeline
  • A commitment to all Phase 1 safety improvements
  • All safety improvements that remain in place until the corridor is reconstructed

Restore Olson Memorial Highway to 6th Avenue North!

We are asking the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, the Metropolitan Council and the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority to fund the restoration of 6th Avenue North

Our Demands The new street should include:

  • 24/7 zero-fare bus lanes
  • A two-way bikeway
  • Two 10 foot car lanes to promote safe speeds, with left turn lanes where necessary
  • Raised crosswalks painted with artwork from local artists
  • Universal design features to improve access for people of all ages and abilities
  • Wide sidewalks
  • The preservation of mature trees in the center median
  • The remaining highway land and adjacent parcels of publicly owned land should be designated for:
  • Public housing that meets the needs for truly affordable housing
  • Publicly owned affordable commercial spaces that are designated for local businesses and entrepreneurs
  • Community gardens and parkland

Public Commitment!

The Minnesota Department of Transportation wrote a letter recognizing the highway’s harms and indicating that they would consider turning Olson Memorial Highway back into a city street (6th Avenue North)

We are asking for a public commitment from City and County officials, as well as MnDOT to publicly commit to restore 6th Avenue North and implement ALL Housing and Community benchmarks. We will continue to organize around the following policies and benchmarks as part of our vision to Bring Back 6th:

  • Equitable Community-Driven Development Local Business Incubator Program
  • Inclusive Hiring Goals
  • Universal Design
  • Construction Impact Mitigation Plan
  • Municipal IDs and Licenses for All
  • Zero Fare Transit
  • Robust Public Engagement & Community Consent
  • The return of publicly owned land to the community

Anti-Displacement Policies and Tenant Protections:

  • Rent Control
  • Rental Assistance Fund
  • Property Tax Freeze
  • Just Cause Eviction
  • Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Agreement (TOPA)

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