What a wise old man taught me about the past and future of Lyndale Avenue

A grizzled old friend of mine (who will remain anonymous) told me a story about a long ago Hennepin County Public Works official who decided a reconstruction of Lyndale Avenue was just too difficult — even though age and condition meant the street was overdue for it. And so for many years it was just arbitrarily shoved aside.

We’re lucky that feckless bureaucrat was there at the time, because if the county had done a reconstruction 10 or 15 yrs ago, they’d have given us the same horrifying layout that was already there. Too wide, too fast, too dangerous. It would have robbed us of the chance to make it the great neighborhood street it has the potential to be.

If you don’t believe me, go experience Lake Street, which was reconstructed by the county in 2007. It’s upsetting to look back at the not-so-distant past and see big mistakes, due to a lack of vision and ambition, that will linger decades into the future.



At a moment when the county has shifted their thinking on how we design urban streets, Lyndale Avenue is ready for reconstruction. A once-every-60-years opportunity to change the curb lines — to calm traffic, to add space for people, greenery, gathering, sidewalk dining, bikes, and public transit — is finally here. Planning the redesign of Lyndale Avenue from Franklin to 31st Street is underway, with construction happening in 2026. Your chance to get involved is right now. Take the survey. Keep your eye on the county’s project page for future meetings.

Watch our recent episode about the wildly successful 4-to-3 lane conversion on Lyndale that skeptical traffic engineers said could never be done.