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Regional Boards => Midwest - Great Lakes => Topic started by: TheHighwayMan394 on July 16, 2020, 11:19:01 PM

Title: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: TheHighwayMan394 on July 16, 2020, 11:19:01 PM
MnDOT is seeking funding for a full study of I-35 in Duluth from Boundary Ave to MN 61. While a major rebuild on the west side took place a decade ago and the 535/53 interchange rebuild is slated to begin next year, focus is shifting to the remaining downtown portion from 535 to MN 61 as that portion reaches roughly 30 years of use. As the tourist numbers have exploded the fact that 35 cuts downtown off from the main tourist district in Canal Park has become a big headache for both vehicles and pedestrians, and having lived in the Twin Ports without a car, I can vouch for how much it sucks trying to walk from downtown to Canal. Some upgrades at the interchange with Lake Avenue this summer are meant to increase pedestrian friendliness, but the access problems remain. There are two bridges and a skyway across I-35, and the 5th Ave overpass is out of the way away from the Canal Park area.

One group that has gained some traction with local and state media wants to submit a proposal to eventually revert I-35 to a parkway in downtown Duluth (even referring to it as ďHighway 61 RevisitedĒ where ití would become an extended MN 61) when current 35ís lifespan ends, and other MnDOT engineers have suggested in recent years that the route doesnít necessarily have to remain a full freeway either.

We seem to be trending toward more freeway revoltage in urban cores.
Title: Re: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: Bickendan on July 18, 2020, 04:36:28 AM
Kinda hate to say it, but as 35 doesn't extend past Duluth and never will, this proposal actually does make some sense. Anywhere east of MN 194 looks like a potential downgrade or removal candidate.
Title: Re: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: Mdcastle on July 18, 2020, 10:54:37 AM
Downtown businesses are just pissed that vacationers are able to get to their destination without getting stuck in a horrific traffic jam and thus be tempted to stop and buy their overpriced food and drink. If there's an actual problem with a connection to the waterfront just build another skyway or land bridge or two so pedestrians don't have to cross a trunk highway to get there.
Title: Re: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: Revive 755 on July 18, 2020, 11:31:30 AM
The Star-Tribune has a rendering of a boulevard proposal, which appears to be missing the nearby railroad (tourist only, or does it still see some freight service?).
Title: Re: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: TheHighwayMan394 on July 18, 2020, 03:54:30 PM
Downtown businesses are just pissed that vacationers are able to get to their destination without getting stuck in a horrific traffic jam and thus be tempted to stop and buy their overpriced food and drink. If there's an actual problem with a connection to the waterfront just build another skyway or land bridge or two so pedestrians don't have to cross a trunk highway to get there.

I've gotten the vibe downtown Duluth businesses' priority is more being there for locals rather than trying to draw in tourists. Not that they would complain, obviously. What this "Downtown Waterfront Council" is advocating is that downgrading 35 could have a benefit to local interests in creating a more accessible downtown to the neighborhoods southwest of downtown as well as a more accessible lakeshore which is the main selling point for the city in trying to get people to relocate. One of their arguments is despite Duluth's desperate attempts to lure more people into moving there that their population has remained flat compared to other comparable cities like Rochester and St. Cloud,  and one thing they point out is none of those cities have a freeway bisecting the heart of their commercial district. Now, needless to say Duluth has other more pressing problems that make it difficult to keep people around. But if Lake Superior is *the* selling point to get people to come and stay, it doesn't help having it be so inaccessible.
Title: Re: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: Rothman on July 19, 2020, 11:08:52 AM
Downtown businesses are just pissed that vacationers are able to get to their destination without getting stuck in a horrific traffic jam and thus be tempted to stop and buy their overpriced food and drink. If there's an actual problem with a connection to the waterfront just build another skyway or land bridge or two so pedestrians don't have to cross a trunk highway to get there.
^This.

What about access to the North Shore, which is the real tourist destination in the area rather than Duluth itself and Grandma's restaurants (which is really what Canal Park is, for the most part).  Downgrading I-35 would just create a mess for tourist traffic headed to the state parks.  So, I don't see claiming tourist traffic as an issue between downtown and Canal Park being very legitimate to downgrade I-35.

I used to live in Superior.  Although I recognize the pedestrian problem, I like the idea of extending the skyway system to Canal Park somehow.  It already goes to the Duluth Curling Club.

Yeah, but prioritizing downtown to Canal Park traffic over North Shore bound traffic seems ill-advised to me.
Title: Re: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: JREwing78 on July 19, 2020, 04:15:59 PM
Fixing I-35 through downtown Duluth would honestly be straightforward compared to punching a freeway (or even a parkway) through Duluth's north side. Congdon Park wouldn't be overly challenging, but Lakeside and Lester Park involves either a convoluted bypass or punching through neighborhoods. It may still be cheaper than the alternatives, however.

You're not going to punch a 3-4 mile tunnel through Lakeside or into Lake Superior. A causeway bypass into Lake Superior is also a non-starter - even if you could get folks to accept it, the weather would never make this feasible.

What's left is a northerly bypass of Duluth, which would run a minimum of 25 miles and involve a lot of property displacement. You also, for better or worse, cut off downtown Duluth from North Shore tourist traffic.

Whatever the solution, Duluth and MnDOT should be engaging in the discussion now. The North Shore traffic issue isn't going to go away, and the longer its put off, the more expensive the answer is going to be.
Title: Re: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: mgk920 on July 20, 2020, 01:26:22 AM
Fixing I-35 through downtown Duluth would honestly be straightforward compared to punching a freeway (or even a parkway) through Duluth's north side. Congdon Park wouldn't be overly challenging, but Lakeside and Lester Park involves either a convoluted bypass or punching through neighborhoods. It may still be cheaper than the alternatives, however.

You're not going to punch a 3-4 mile tunnel through Lakeside or into Lake Superior. A causeway bypass into Lake Superior is also a non-starter - even if you could get folks to accept it, the weather would never make this feasible.

What's left is a northerly bypass of Duluth, which would run a minimum of 25 miles and involve a lot of property displacement. You also, for better or worse, cut off downtown Duluth from North Shore tourist traffic.

Whatever the solution, Duluth and MnDOT should be engaging in the discussion now. The North Shore traffic issue isn't going to go away, and the longer its put off, the more expensive the answer is going to be.

One of the choices that was on the ballot when the city voted on how to do I-35 a few decades ago was to extend it all the way through the city to feed into the four lane US (now MN) 61.  The voters opted for what was built.  IMHO, the 'through the city' alternative should have been built.

BTW, How was access in the downtown area when what is now I-35 was a railroad yard?

Mike
Title: Re: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: Stephane Dumas on July 20, 2020, 11:32:57 AM
One of the choices that was on the ballot when the city voted on how to do I-35 a few decades ago was to extend it all the way through the city to feed into the four lane US (now MN) 61.  The voters opted for what was built.  IMHO, the 'through the city' alternative should have been built.

BTW, How was access in the downtown area when what is now I-35 was a railroad yard?

Mike

I guess some of these voters might regret their decision today.
Title: Re: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: Revive 755 on July 20, 2020, 12:39:05 PM
BTW, How was access in the downtown area when what is now I-35 was a railroad yard?

Mike

Historic Aerials only appears to show one additional access point near 1st Avenue.
Title: Re: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: TheHighwayMan394 on July 20, 2020, 08:48:37 PM
One of the choices that was on the ballot when the city voted on how to do I-35 a few decades ago was to extend it all the way through the city to feed into the four lane US (now MN) 61.  The voters opted for what was built.  IMHO, the 'through the city' alternative should have been built.

BTW, How was access in the downtown area when what is now I-35 was a railroad yard?

Mike

I guess some of these voters might regret their decision today.

I doubt it, as it would have caused huge damage to the historic Lakeside neighborhood. Residents in Lakeside seem to think the current setup is still better than other options studied, which included making Superior Street and London Road (MN 61) into one-way pairs. Thereís only one stoplight on the neighborhood portion of 61. Iíve seen photos suggesting the worse tourist choke is when the expressway ends outside Two Harbors.
Title: Re: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: Henry on July 22, 2020, 10:54:30 AM
As I see it, they might get another St. Paul here, with a parkway disguised as an Interstate.
Title: Re: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: TheHighwayMan394 on July 22, 2020, 05:58:06 PM
As I see it, they might get another St. Paul here, with a parkway disguised as an Interstate.

That's sort of what exists now (especially east of Lake Avenue), with a speed limit of 50 between MN 194 and MN 61. However I would say the 21st Avenue East interchange should not only be kept, but upgraded; as the main access point to the city's two largest universities, it frequently backs up well down the ramp and is controlled by stop signs.
Title: Re: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: quickshade on July 22, 2020, 10:21:29 PM

Not sure why this isn't an option, sink the road a bit, and build a huge bridge-park on an equal plane to everything else around there. Not sure how expensive it would be but  would solve the problem without a massive re-routing of the roadway or dealing with potential traffic issues from downsizing the roadway.
Title: Re: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: DJ Particle on July 23, 2020, 01:47:35 AM
I say if they do decide to truncate I-35...just reroute the designation over current I-535.
Title: Re: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: triplemultiplex on July 24, 2020, 10:20:18 PM
I-35 between downtown and Canal Park is already well positioned to simply cap it with another park-covered tunnel just like exists a little ways northeast.  Slap another one of those between 1st and 3rd Ave's W instead of that skywalk to the DECC and you're good.

Boulevarding would be WAY worse for pedestrians than the sketchy sidewalk situation existing at the single point interchange currently.

Further north, there's no way to make a proper connection between I-35 and the Two Harbors Expressway without doing some serious relocations the likes of which are not tolerable just to shave 8 minutes off a drive to the North Shore.  Congestion would have to be way worse than it is to get any momentum that direction.  We are stuck unless Duluth doubles its population in a decade.

MNDOT should also be seriously considering a bypass of Two Harbors like yesterday.  Before the right of way closes in too much.  Doesn't even need to be a freeway, but that slog of traffic lights blows every weekend.
Title: Re: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: Plutonic Panda on January 11, 2022, 06:52:01 PM
More anti car bullshit: https://www.mprnews.org/story/2022/01/11/freeway-fighter-a-vision-to-replace-i35-in-duluth-gains-momentum?fbclid=IwAR2-ThCLhvQRv6nvWA2Ftsl1jeTWz2B4blW3olSiAeJHRG-rYE80q0sN0pc
Title: Re: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: SEWIGuy on January 11, 2022, 10:00:51 PM
Itís not ďanti-car.Ē  Itís anti-divided highways that create barriers that prevent cities from being what we want them to be.
Title: Re: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: Revive 755 on January 11, 2022, 10:49:28 PM
^ And the nearby railroad wouldn't be a barrier anyway?

If the article is not biased, then why is it calling the I-35 corridor infrastructure "about 14 lanes across"?

Title: Re: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: TheHighwayMan394 on January 11, 2022, 10:52:24 PM
If the article is not biased, then why is it calling the I-35 corridor infrastructure "about 14 lanes across"?

4 lanes of I-35 + 2 lanes of Michigan St + 4 lanes of Railroad St + 4 lanes of connection between 5th and Lake.
Title: Re: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: TheHighwayMan394 on January 11, 2022, 11:15:48 PM
As someone who was a pedestrian extensively in Duluth in college, yes, there needs to be a better connection between Canal and downtown placed between 5th and Lake. This could probably be accomplished with a lot less money than a full cap, though. Duluth is starting a project this year to turn Harbor Drive into a pedestrian space on the south and east sides of the DECC. Pedestrian access to get between the lakewalk/lift bridge/Canal Park proper and the DECC/Bayfront is also pretty shitty, so if that could be beautified and improved it would help the pedestrian situation.
Title: Re: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: Rothman on January 11, 2022, 11:23:30 PM
Just take the Skyway past the Curling Club. :D
Title: Re: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: TheHighwayMan394 on January 11, 2022, 11:42:00 PM
Just take the Skyway past the Curling Club. :D

It could still be better, and more dedicated between downtown and Canal.
Title: Re: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: Rothman on January 12, 2022, 12:52:33 AM
Just take the Skyway past the Curling Club. :D

It could still be better, and more dedicated between downtown and Canal.
Yeah, I meant that a little tongue-in-cheek.
Title: Re: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: SEWIGuy on January 12, 2022, 06:17:37 AM
^ And the nearby railroad wouldn't be a barrier anyway?

If the article is not biased, then why is it calling the I-35 corridor infrastructure "about 14 lanes across"?




I should have said I donít know about the particulars of Duluth.

I just donít think being anti-freeway in urban areas means you are anti-car.
Title: Re: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: edwaleni on January 12, 2022, 09:14:35 AM
Over 60% of Duluth's population live north of Canal Park. So who is this really serving?

Also, what happens during holiday migrations? People who drive to the TC to see relatives?

How about when they come back?

With no functional bypass of the inner city, they will all try to navigate through this parkway to reach the north side.

Small part of the overall traffic mix perhaps.

Also, Duluth is a port. With rail at the port declined somewhat, where do all the trucks go? Will you ban trucks on the parkway?

Mark my words, if the parkway concept goes through, watch for pressure increase to construct a western bypass.

Title: Re: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: TheHighwayMan394 on January 12, 2022, 01:12:33 PM
Over 60% of Duluth's population live north of Canal Park. So who is this really serving?

People who live near downtown and tourists. Going N/S in Duluth is not fun as it is, but building this won't really make that any better or worse.

Quote
Also, what happens during holiday migrations? People who drive to the TC to see relatives?

How about when they come back?

With no functional bypass of the inner city, they will all try to navigate through this parkway to reach the north side.

Small part of the overall traffic mix perhaps.

1. The would-be affected interchanges aren't where most people are getting off to get to the north side; they either get off at Mesaba or at 21st Avenue East. This would probably suck for people going to the colleges and for people who live in Lakeside the most. The parkway would still be the downtown "bypass"; I can't imagine they would remove the tunnels due to its disruption to Duluth's street grid as well as the caps containing some of the most popular and revered greenspace in the city, which would work counter to what these people are trying to do.

2. From what I can tell from their proposal, the affected area is just around 5th and Lake. So if they were to actually build this, we're talking about one mile becoming non-freeway. It's not like they're considering removing the freeway all the way out to US 2 (not that a few knuckleheads wouldn't support that, though), especially considering the multi-year rebuild of the interchange at I-535 now underway.

Quote
Also, Duluth is a port. With rail at the port declined somewhat, where do all the trucks go? Will you ban trucks on the parkway?

No. Trucks aren't even banned from the existing tunnels today because they have nowhere else to go; also see my above comment.

Quote
Mark my words, if the parkway concept goes through, watch for pressure increase to construct a western bypass.

Will never happen. One was studied before deciding on sending 35 through downtown in 1988. The terrain along with Duluth's sprawling layout makes such a bypass fiscally impossible, but if you think people are complaining about current 35 now it would be nothing compared to the outrage of trying to ram a bypass through the hills.
Title: Re: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: edwaleni on January 12, 2022, 02:34:29 PM

Quote
Mark my words, if the parkway concept goes through, watch for pressure increase to construct a western bypass.

Will never happen. One was studied before deciding on sending 35 through downtown in 1988. The terrain along with Duluth's sprawling layout makes such a bypass fiscally impossible, but if you think people are complaining about current 35 now it would be nothing compared to the outrage of trying to ram a bypass through the hills.

If the locals can change their minds on I-35 going through the city proper, they can certainly change their minds on a western bypass/airport access.

Never under estimate the willingness of the general public to change their minds.
Title: Re: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: TheHighwayMan394 on January 12, 2022, 04:26:56 PM
If the locals can change their minds on I-35 going through the city proper, they can certainly change their minds on a western bypass/airport access.

Never under estimate the willingness of the general public to change their minds.

No. Trust me. It will not happen.

1. The city's enviro policies have taken a hard left turn in the last 30 years.

2. There's a big difference between sending a freeway through decaying industry and railyards, and trying to route an entirely new freeway through the city's largely intact forested hillsides.
Title: Re: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: SEWIGuy on January 13, 2022, 10:34:34 AM
2. From what I can tell from their proposal, the affected area is just around 5th and Lake. So if they were to actually build this, we're talking about one mile becoming non-freeway. It's not like they're considering removing the freeway all the way out to US 2 (not that a few knuckleheads wouldn't support that, though), especially considering the multi-year rebuild of the interchange at I-535 now underway.


This is what I mean.  How is removing a mile or so of freeway "anti-car?"

All the same arguments in this thread were used years ago when Milwaukee removed the Park East Freeway, which was about a mile long.  How would cars get out of downtown?  This is going to make traffic worse elsewhere? 

It didn't do any of that.  It actually took down a barrier and created a nice new urban area that was prominently featured on television this past summer when the Bucks won the NBA championship.  (Fiserv.forum and the "Deer District" all are where the freeway used to be.)

I doubt you could find a dozen people who long for the days of the Park East Freeway, though a lot of people thought its removal would be a disaster at the time.
Title: Re: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: TheHighwayMan394 on January 13, 2022, 01:25:31 PM
2. From what I can tell from their proposal, the affected area is just around 5th and Lake. So if they were to actually build this, we're talking about one mile becoming non-freeway. It's not like they're considering removing the freeway all the way out to US 2 (not that a few knuckleheads wouldn't support that, though), especially considering the multi-year rebuild of the interchange at I-535 now underway.


This is what I mean.  How is removing a mile or so of freeway "anti-car?"

Just remember who the audience here is, though. That's the answer. The usual "freeway good, all other considerations bad" are in this thread in all their various forms.
Title: Re: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: Plutonic Panda on January 13, 2022, 03:38:46 PM
2. From what I can tell from their proposal, the affected area is just around 5th and Lake. So if they were to actually build this, we're talking about one mile becoming non-freeway. It's not like they're considering removing the freeway all the way out to US 2 (not that a few knuckleheads wouldn't support that, though), especially considering the multi-year rebuild of the interchange at I-535 now underway.


This is what I mean.  How is removing a mile or so of freeway "anti-car?"

All the same arguments in this thread were used years ago when Milwaukee removed the Park East Freeway, which was about a mile long.  How would cars get out of downtown?  This is going to make traffic worse elsewhere? 

It didn't do any of that.  It actually took down a barrier and created a nice new urban area that was prominently featured on television this past summer when the Bucks won the NBA championship.  (Fiserv.forum and the "Deer District" all are where the freeway used to be.)

I doubt you could find a dozen people who long for the days of the Park East Freeway, though a lot of people thought its removal would be a disaster at the time.
Unlike Milwaukee, this is the only N-S freeway in the area. What are the traffic counts here? Iíd bet a lot of people that use it do so as a bypass of downtown. Why slow traffic? How about capping more of it. Then you achieve the same thing by better connecting the downtown area to the waterfront.

But converting from a freeway to a boulevard is a downgrade and I absolutely view it as being anti car as other methods to achieve a win win situation exist. This isnít like 375 in Detroit. Iím not against all freeway removals. I am against removing a freeway using logic like ďah, itís only a mile.Ē
Title: Re: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: JREwing78 on January 13, 2022, 05:08:52 PM
Unlike Milwaukee, this is the only N-S freeway in the area. What are the traffic counts here? Iíd bet a lot of people that use it do so as a bypass of downtown. Why slow traffic? How about capping more of it. Then you achieve the same thing by better connecting the downtown area to the waterfront.

But converting from a freeway to a boulevard is a downgrade and I absolutely view it as being anti car as other methods to achieve a win win situation exist. This isnít like 375 in Detroit. Iím not against all freeway removals. I am against removing a freeway using logic like ďah, itís only a mile.Ē

I agree - they can address the pedestrian access issue without completely scrapping what's there now. Besides the freeway, there's a rail line that goes up the shore that would not be easily replaced if they tear out what's there now. The NE-SW mobility needs along the I-35/Hwy 61 corridor don't require it to be freeway, but they already put a huge investment in pedestrian access to the lake just north of 5th and Lake. They just need to bring that south a bit.
Title: Re: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: TheHighwayMan394 on January 13, 2022, 06:17:57 PM
I don't disagree that there are alternatives to the boulevard that can work for everybody.

1. Part of the urbanist proposal is converting the heavy rail line to light rail to make it easier to condense the transportation corridors together - this would not work, because that would cause serious issues for the wildly popular North Shore Scenic Railroad tourist trap.

2. Superior Street, Duluth's main street, runs parallel to I-35 just a block away. How would a no longer free-flowing 35 connect the boulevard to Superior without causing disruptions and backups for cars hopping between the two?
Title: Re: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: The Ghostbuster on January 13, 2022, 07:20:28 PM
Interstate 35 in Duluth should be left the way it is. About the only thing I would change would be to make the Can of Worms interchange a free-flow interchange in all directions, no more signaled intersections.
Title: Re: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: Plutonic Panda on January 13, 2022, 08:16:48 PM
Interstate 35 in Duluth should be left the way it is. About the only thing I would change would be to make the Can of Worms interchange a free-flow interchange in all directions, no more signaled intersections.
I thought they are doing that?
Title: Re: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: froggie on January 14, 2022, 09:32:18 AM
^ They're not.  A signal will remain where the NB 35 to NB 53 ramp crosses the SB 53 mainline, but that signal has not been a significant issue.
Title: Re: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: TheHighwayMan394 on January 14, 2022, 02:36:05 PM
^ They're not.  A signal will remain where the NB 35 to NB 53 ramp crosses the SB 53 mainline, but that signal has not been a significant issue.

The worst thing about the old stoplight was the sightlines. I remember having to wait for at least one clueless motorist to run their red at that light. Hopefully that improves in the rebuilt version.
Title: Re: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: midwesternroadguy on February 05, 2022, 01:34:23 PM
Unlike Milwaukee, this is the only N-S freeway in the area. What are the traffic counts here? Iíd bet a lot of people that use it do so as a bypass of downtown. Why slow traffic? How about capping more of it. Then you achieve the same thing by better connecting the downtown area to the waterfront.

But converting from a freeway to a boulevard is a downgrade and I absolutely view it as being anti car as other methods to achieve a win win situation exist. This isnít like 375 in Detroit. Iím not against all freeway removals. I am against removing a freeway using logic like ďah, itís only a mile.Ē

I agree - they can address the pedestrian access issue without completely scrapping what's there now. Besides the freeway, there's a rail line that goes up the shore that would not be easily replaced if they tear out what's there now. The NE-SW mobility needs along the I-35/Hwy 61 corridor don't require it to be freeway, but they already put a huge investment in pedestrian access to the lake just north of 5th and Lake. They just need to bring that south a bit.

People loved the caps built over I-35 near Fitgerís.  I agree, build a land bridge over the freeway at Canal Park. 

Crossing a six-lane urban boulevard at grade level as a pedestrian isnít that much better. 
Title: Re: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: midwesternroadguy on February 05, 2022, 01:45:49 PM
2. From what I can tell from their proposal, the affected area is just around 5th and Lake. So if they were to actually build this, we're talking about one mile becoming non-freeway. It's not like they're considering removing the freeway all the way out to US 2 (not that a few knuckleheads wouldn't support that, though), especially considering the multi-year rebuild of the interchange at I-535 now underway.


This is what I mean.  How is removing a mile or so of freeway "anti-car?"

All the same arguments in this thread were used years ago when Milwaukee removed the Park East Freeway, which was about a mile long.  How would cars get out of downtown?  This is going to make traffic worse elsewhere? 

It didn't do any of that.  It actually took down a barrier and created a nice new urban area that was prominently featured on television this past summer when the Bucks won the NBA championship.  (Fiserv.forum and the "Deer District" all are where the freeway used to be.)

I doubt you could find a dozen people who long for the days of the Park East Freeway, though a lot of people thought its removal would be a disaster at the time.
Unlike Milwaukee, this is the only N-S freeway in the area. What are the traffic counts here? I’d bet a lot of people that use it do so as a bypass of downtown. Why slow traffic? How about capping more of it. Then you achieve the same thing by better connecting the downtown area to the waterfront.

But converting from a freeway to a boulevard is a downgrade and I absolutely view it as being anti car as other methods to achieve a win win situation exist. This isn’t like 375 in Detroit. I’m not against all freeway removals. I am against removing a freeway using logic like “ah, it’s only a mile.”

The Park East makes a poor case study.  It was a stub freeway on both ends. It finally connected directly to Fond du Lac Avenue in the 80s, but the eastern end just died at the ramp termini at residential streets north of downtown.  It never comprised a downtown loop, and it was a freeway to nowhere.  When they razed it, it was just truncated 10 blocks farther west.  No major changes to circulation, no big deal. 

I-35 provides a significant through routing to the North Shore and Canada.  I say, it’s in place, removes a lot of congestion from downtown, and therefore leave it and build a land bridge over it at Canal Park.   And this comes from someone that supports many New Urbanist principles. 
Title: Re: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: rte66man on February 05, 2022, 05:15:18 PM
I-35 provides a significant through routing to the North Shore and Canada.  I say, itís in place, removes a lot of congestion from downtown, and therefore leave it and build a land bridge over it at Canal Park.   And this comes from someone that supports many New Urbanist principles. 

Not sure how you could do that given 35 is at ground level and the Transportation Center and parking ramp are nearly on top of 35.
Title: Re: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: skluth on February 05, 2022, 05:48:49 PM
I-35 provides a significant through routing to the North Shore and Canada.  I say, itís in place, removes a lot of congestion from downtown, and therefore leave it and build a land bridge over it at Canal Park.   And this comes from someone that supports many New Urbanist principles. 

Not sure how you could do that given 35 is at ground level and the Transportation Center and parking ramp are nearly on top of 35.
I can't see how to build one either. There's already a land bridge of sorts over I-35 at the east edge of Canal Park. Even if one is built between the Transit Center and parking structure across I-35 (replacing the current pedestrian crossing), it would need stairs and/or ramps on each side to connect to ground level.
Title: Re: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: Lyon Wonder on February 05, 2022, 07:00:14 PM
MN-61 might as well be renumbered as MN-35 since its southern end is at the north end of I-35 and I doubt US 53 will ever be fully upgraded to Interstate standards.
Title: Re: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: TheHighwayMan394 on February 05, 2022, 08:17:11 PM
I-35 provides a significant through routing to the North Shore and Canada.  I say, itís in place, removes a lot of congestion from downtown, and therefore leave it and build a land bridge over it at Canal Park.   And this comes from someone that supports many New Urbanist principles. 

Not sure how you could do that given 35 is at ground level and the Transportation Center and parking ramp are nearly on top of 35.
I can't see how to build one either. There's already a land bridge of sorts over I-35 at the east edge of Canal Park. Even if one is built between the Transit Center and parking structure across I-35 (replacing the current pedestrian crossing), it would need stairs and/or ramps on each side to connect to ground level.

I think an option in the middle could be taking out the last block of 1st Avenue West between Michigan and Superior and putting the ped bridge across I-35 there. The parking lot on the southwest side of the plant is city-owned already. It takes you from the heart of downtown right to the heart of Canal. It's probably too perfect to work.

MN-61 might as well be renumbered as MN-35 since its southern end is at the north end of I-35 and I doubt US 53 will ever be fully upgraded to Interstate standards.

What tangible benefits would come by doing this?
Title: Re: Future of I-35 in Duluth, MN
Post by: Rothman on February 06, 2022, 08:37:07 AM
Unlike Milwaukee, this is the only N-S freeway in the area. What are the traffic counts here? Iíd bet a lot of people that use it do so as a bypass of downtown. Why slow traffic? How about capping more of it. Then you achieve the same thing by better connecting the downtown area to the waterfront.

But converting from a freeway to a boulevard is a downgrade and I absolutely view it as being anti car as other methods to achieve a win win situation exist. This isnít like 375 in Detroit. Iím not against all freeway removals. I am against removing a freeway using logic like ďah, itís only a mile.Ē

I agree - they can address the pedestrian access issue without completely scrapping what's there now. Besides the freeway, there's a rail line that goes up the shore that would not be easily replaced if they tear out what's there now. The NE-SW mobility needs along the I-35/Hwy 61 corridor don't require it to be freeway, but they already put a huge investment in pedestrian access to the lake just north of 5th and Lake. They just need to bring that south a bit.

People loved the caps built over I-35 near Fitgerís.  I agree, build a land bridge over the freeway at Canal Park. 

Crossing a six-lane urban boulevard at grade level as a pedestrian isnít that much better.
I got a big gift card to Fitger's from my boss as a token of appreciation one year...