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Lyndale Ave. Sandbox

Updated on September 1, 2013

The Construction Continues

It's the summer of 2012 and Lyndale Avenue is once again under construction. A couple blocks south of the construction began in 2008, the Lyndale Avenue bridge that crosses Minnehaha creek and then the street going south from there are under construction. It began last year, which meant a longer route to work - one that meandered toward Lake Harriet and along the creek for a few blocks to come up on my work destination from the west instead of the north.

And men, young and old are having the time of their lives moving dirt, digging holes and trenches, building new curb & gutter, new center islands and new roads. The bridge will span the same area it spanned before the construction, but it will be more stable and prettier. Continue your game, boys. Have fun while the sun is in the sky.

The construction from 2008 to this one of 2012 eliminates one driving lane along Lyndale and creates parking areas along both sides, turn lanes at many intersections and a small green space to separate the lanes from each other.

So, drive more slowly, you drivers on Lyndale. One lane with center islands helps you be safe while you talk on your cell phone, and chew your lunch and drink your coffee.

The only way to get around is by swinging through the folage!

This little swinger has found a way to get there from here.
This little swinger has found a way to get there from here.

Lyndale Avenue Sand Box

By Annette Gagliardi

It’s summer in Minneapolis and that means road construction. This year – the summer of 2008-- has seen a boon in road construction. “You can’t get there from here” is the common reply to any directional query. All roads lead to a construction zone. Since the 35W bridge collapse, there are detours from south to north Minneapolis along that route. In addition, the 35W freeway between downtown and HWY 62 is under construction, so the cross streets and exit ramps are closed as workers make new bridges. Several other construction projects are blocking access to a variety of exits/ entrances onto Highways 35W and the 62 cross-town highway. In addition, many street construction projects make it difficult to go from one area of the city to another.

My friend has a theory about the road construction. She lives near Lyndale Avenue, which is under construction from 38th to 52cd streets. She says that the old adage about the difference between men and boys is the just the size (and price) of their toys is clearly evident. Just look at all the fun these big boys are having with their road graders and dump trucks and bobcats. It is the equivalent of a large sand box.
First they take the entire cement and black top off the streets. Then they take all the dirt and pile it in one huge pile. Later, they move the big pile and put it into equal-sized smaller piles along one side of the street. They dig long trenches and bring up the old sewer pipes and water mains. They back fill and readjust the sand to dirt ratio. They add new pipes – or not—then put dirt and sand back over those pipes. Oh my! They are having fun!

Meanwhile, life must go on for the folks who live on either side of Lyndale Avenue. The side streets have much more traffic, and people use a lot more gas trying to get to and from places around Lyndale Avenue. Many just walk or bike because using the car is impossible.

It is like a giant game of "Can you get there from here?" where the road construction guys map out the board and we, the reluctant participants try to move through the maze to find our destination. "Come on, people, play with us!" they are saying.

I am concerned about the Republican’s coming in September to attend the National Convention. They may get to the twin cities. But, once they get to their hotel, will they be able to navigate their way to the Excel center in St. Paul, or will they be stuck driving around, over and through the detours in Minneapolis?
At any rate. We all know that the second season of the year in Minnesota is Winter. And that, folks, means the end of road construction. At least, let’s hope so.

But, here it is December 2008, and guess what? The streets are not all open. The Republicans did come to town and they found their way in and out of our cities via trains, planes, buses, taxis and automobiles. Some projects did get finished, but not all of them. The 35 W freeway is still under construction and the exits and entrances are still being closed and opened at irregular intervals.

The new Lyndale avenue has swales and turn lanes. The parking areas don’t get plowed well – or at all. The street is not plowed well, so what remains is greasy and difficult to drive through.
Perhaps you think I am just a complainer, and you may be right about that. However, as one who has come to expect a certain quality in her city streets – such as the ability to drive down them in a fairly straightforward manner— I see this new dysfunctional street is totally uncalled for.
If the Department of transportation – the only ones who got any money this year, can’t fix our streets for efficient transport, what’s a department of transportation for, anyway?

Now, it is April of 2009, and the work continues on Lyndale Avenue. The sandbox part has just moved farther north -- and south! along the road, and different residents are being affected more or less, depending on their property address. I notice that there is still one layer of blacktop to be put down, one layer of sod or grass seed to be added, and street lights to be added, and semaphores to be attached and hooked up. So, now a year and a half later, men are still employed on the improvements to Lyndale Avenue.

In addition, the 46th entrance and exit to the 35W freeway is still closed, the bridge crossing the 35W freeway is still out and residents get routinely dismayed by new road closures. However, the 50th street bridge is open, so progress can be seen.

Today one street is open, but tomorrow it is closed. Next week that street will be open, but the alternative route you had been taking will be closed. It all seems like a giant game of cat and mouse. And perhaps it is! Our sand box boys have branched out and now are playing the game full tilt with us residents. Perhaps we are unwilling participants, but that is of no concern to our road crew. So the game is Sand Box: Can you get there from here? and the routes change daily. The rules are still the same: have fun, take turns and you win if you can get anywhere --anywhere at all.

Sandbox Update 2011 - Pot holes

Well, here it is early Spring of 2011 and guess what - road  construction is still going on. The massive road construction of the last few years has slowed, but the pot hole production has increased.

Those pot holes are as numerous as babies in hospital nursery.  It seems like pot holes procreate during the night or the early hours of the morning. Each day, as I drive Lyndale from one end to the other, dissecting the city,I encounter new pot holes.

 And they grow! One day I will see a crack in the pavement. Then next day a bucket size hole.The day after that, it will be bigger, then bigger , and finally bigger still.  People have talked about Lyndale being the street of legendary pot holes. 

People have flattened tires, dented wheel rims, broken shocks and tie rods and damaged the undercarriage of their cars from driving over these pot holes.

"Oh did you see that bit pot hole on Lyndale two blocks south of the Bascillica?" someone will ask. "See it? I fell in!" another person will respond.

 "Oh yeah. I thought I was going to fall in, but the bus in front of me went in, so I just drove over top of it and managed to get to work on time."

"That one pot hole has grown so big that this morning that I saw five bikers and two Smart cars fall in. I turned the corner just in time, or I would have gone in too."


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