Tell MnDOT and Olson Memorial Highway decision makers to 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.

April 25, 2022 Update: MnDOT taking steps towards the Bring Back 6th vision

Less than a year after launch, the Bring Back 6th Movement continues to gain momentum at various levels of decision making. Thanks to community organizing, the Minnesota Department of Transportation has made a good faith effort to implement the near-term safety improvements this summer and will be studying the future of the broader Highway 55 corridor in Minneapolis, including a potential restoration of 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:

  • The completion of multi-modal & safety improvements by 2023 (Phase 1)
  • The restoration of the corridor to 6th Avenue North, via a highway-to-boulevard conversion, and the return of highway land to the community, with construction beginning by 2026 (Phase 2)
  • Committing to the implementation of the Bring Back 6th housing & community development benchmarks

We are also asking for a public commitment to the following near-term actions:

  1. An overview, rendering and timeline for the planned safety improvements
  2. A detailed overview and schedule of community engagement activities
  3. An overview and visual timeline for the Phase 2 study process to evaluate:
    1. The turnback of Olson Memorial Highway right-of-way
    2. The restoration of 6th Avenue North
    3. The return of publicly owned land to the community
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