Why are we focusing on Lyndale Avenue?

    Lyndale Avenue is one of Bloomington’s original commercial corridors, developed mostly between 1950 and 1970. It serves the entire City; but also functions as a neighborhood “main street” and front door to many residents, businesses, and employers. While the corridor continues to attract activity, it is showing its age and not realizing its full potential. Revitalization is needed to better position Lyndale Avenue to respond to changing needs and ensure future economic sustainability.

    Why is a Retrofit Strategy needed?

    Many areas in Bloomington,including the Lyndale corridor, were designed and developed 40 to 50 years ago. During that time Bloomington demographics and market trends have changed significantly. These changes along with expanded public transit in the area will attract new businesses and a variety of housing to revitalize the Lyndale corridor. The Lyndale Retrofit strategy will help City officials plan and set priorities to ensure this corridor successfully addresses the opportunities and challenges now and into the future.

    When will redevelopment happen?

    Commercial redevelopment will happen as property owners naturally look to make improvements or sell their businesses. This will happen over several decades. 

    Many of the public enhancements will be made as public infrastructure improvements occur (e.g., scheduled street or utility upgrades). 

    Given potential economic downturn, shouldn’t planning be delayed?

    It seems counter-intuitive to plan for redevelopment when the economy is struggling and future demand for new development is uncertain. But one of the best times to prepare long-range plans is when development pressure slows and provides “breathing room” to analyze challenges and think strategically about opportunities. It also allows the City to respond to changes and accommodate demand as it emerges.

    How will the pandemic affect implementation?

    The Lyndale Retrofit strategy will help City officials outline and plan for priority actions the City can take to achieve the defined future vision for Lyndale Avenue. 

    The plan will be based on analysis of market conditions and trends. Specific impacts of the pandemic on market demand is hard to predict, although there is compelling evidence that trends prior to the pandemic will continue as the economy stabilizes. Trends expected to drive redevelopment of older commercial areas like the Lyndale corridor include: 

    • A greater mix of uses, particularly a variety of residential uses. 
    • Safe and convenient options to walk, bike, drive, and access public transit. 
    • Places for people to gather and interact. While social-distancing practices may continue in the future, people will still seek out places where they can safely interact, both outdoors and indoors. 

    Are there plans to create a bike lane or off-road path along Lyndale?

    Creating a bicycle lane along Lyndale Avenue is an aspirational idea to expand transportation options in the corridor. Implementation of a bicycle lane on the roadway or a mixed-use trail adjacent to the roadway will require further study to determine the future needs for all modes of transportation on this corridor.

    In the near-term, it is possible to test the idea with the creation of a temporary bicycle lane along Lyndale Avenue. This would result in a temporary dedication of a portion of the road to bicycle use by placing protective barricades between the driving lane and the bike lane. Data would be collected during a set period to test the impacts on traffic flow and safety, and gauge the amount of bicycle use. The City might also explore the potential to locate an on-road bike lane on a parallel street, such as Aldrich Avenue, as an alternative. While a temporary approach could possibly be implemented in the near-term, it would only occur if the project was prioritized by the Council.  Given current budget constraints, this may not move forward for a year or two.  

    Construction of a permanent bicycle lane on Lyndale Avenue or a mixed-use trail adjacent to Lyndale will require additional study and discussions with affected property owners, which may take several years to complete.