Minneapolis reconstructs 29th Street as shared use street

Mpls 29th Street paving | Bye Bye Potholes
Photo credit: Renee McGivern

The City of Minneapolis is turning 29th Street South in the Lyn-Lake neighborhood into a curb-free, shared use street. This two-block stretch in Minnesota’s largest city had never been paved. It was made of dirt and oil, riddled with potholes, and had the reputation of being the worst street in the city.

A unique feature of this project is how the city partnered with Sara Udvig, a local artist, to construct and install “Rules of Play,” a featured of colored concrete on the sidewalk. It fits this eclectic, vibrant area about eight miles southwest of downtown Minneapolis.

Shared use street a new idea in the U.S.

The city completed the first phase of its 29th Street reconstruction project from Lyndale Avenue to Bryant Avenue in 2016. Tree and sodding were done this spring with reconstruction from Fremont Avenue South to Emerson Avenue South. Work from Dupont Avenue to Bryant Avenue South is scheduled for 2020.

A shared use street allows for pedestrians, bicyclists and motor vehicles at the same time, and it is a rare model in the United States. There are similar shared streets in Seattle, and Cambridge, Mass.

The new concrete 29th Street is wide enough to allow for two-way traffic, parking bays on the north side of the street, and event spaces, green spaces and a sidewalk on the south side.

Minneapolis Engineer Tracy Lindgren said the city chose colored concrete with textured grooving to help sight-impaired walkers delineate the space between the sidewalk and the street. As part of the reconstruction, the city updated the storm sewer, and CenterPoint Energy relocated a gas main.

Removing contaminated soil an added project challenge

The city hauled out and disposed of 1,690 tons of soil that was contaminated years ago by petroleum-based products. The area abuts the partially below-grade Midtown Greenway railroad trail now used by pedestrians and bicyclists for recreation and to commute to work.

The aggregate base used in this road project is recycled concrete from other road projects from around town. The city stores the used concrete and hires a contractor to crush it annually. The city then stockpiles the recycled concrete to use for future projects.

The shared street project’s total cost was about $1 million. The majority was paid by the City of Minneapolis using net debt bonds (municipal bonds) with the balance paid by special assessments to the adjacent property owners.

Project Dates:

June 2016-September 2016

Project details

  • Concrete depth: 8 inches with 6 inches of Class 5 Aggregate sub base
  • Total project length: .12 miles
  • Total concrete placed: 501.25 CY, including concrete used for pavement, curb, gutter, event area and sidewalk


Owner: City of Minneapolis

Project Lead: City of Minneapolis (Project Engineer Tracy Lindgren and Planner Don Pflaum)

Project Designer: WSB & Associates (Ann Wallenmeyer and Peter Muehlbach), Minneapolis

Prime Contractor: City of Minneapolis Public Works Department – Paving Construction

Concrete contractor: City of Minneapolis Public Works Department – Paving Construction

 Ready Mix Concrete Producer: Cemstone, Burnsville, MN

Scroll through more case studies on this website. Check out other 2017 street projects the city is working on.