Thursday, November 13, 2008

DRAFT Bystrom Site Community Vision

For the last three weeks, the Bystrom taskforce of neighborhood residents have been working on a detailed vision for the site. The based it on the Vision and Values developed for Franklin Avenue Planning. Here is the current draft that was handed out at the November 11 Seward Neighborhood Group Community Development Committee. Discussion will continue at the next Taskforce meeting, Wednesday, November 19th, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. @ Seward Redesign (2619 Franklin Avenue)

DRAFT Bystrom Site Community Vision

This Development Vision will be taken to each of the partner organizations (SNG, SCCA and Redesign) for adoption by their boards. This Vision will steer our work together on the Bystrom project over the coming years and provide a way for us to make decisions as a community. It will also guide the decision making of the City, County, and development partners.

We envision the Bystrom Bros. site to be a mixed-use, green development that reinforces Seward’s unique character and sets a precedent for both the process and outcome of distinct urban design.

Development here should reinforce Seward’s identity as a pedestrian- and bike-friendly neighborhood. This site is an opportunity to connect walkers and bikes between the Seward neighborhood and the LRT station/Hiawatha bike trail and to create a strong entry point into the Seward neighborhood.

Specifically, the west edge of the site offers an opportunity to pull the perceived edge of Seward right up to the trail and station area.

Changes at the north end of the site should create inviting connections to and from Franklin Avenue; and changes to the east should knit with the adjacent residential area.

Development on the site should include public art, sculptures in particular, that perhaps reflect the industrial character of this segment of the community.

Good Design
We envision the Bystrom Bros. site as a well-designed place that expresses the unique “urban hippy” character of Seward. (multi-cultural, arts-aligned, green, urban, grass-roots, family-friendly, multi-generational, welcoming, student-friendly, safe, comfortable and accessible. )

In reaction to examples of other developments throughout the Twin Cities, we found that good architectural design, quality building materials, and modest building scale (for the majority of buildings, no more than 5-6 stories) were the elements that most impacted what we found desirable. Density per se is not objectionable; large-scale, monolithic buildings are.

Site design should emphasize pedestrian and biking as primary modes of movement, creating public spaces that are safe, well- lit, and welcoming.

Site design and window orientation should take advantage of the amazing views of downtown and the West horizon.

Multi-Modal Movement
We envision the Bystrom site as a groundbreaking development from an alternative transportation perspective. The design will draw on historic precedents (like Milwaukee Avenue) and cutting edge tools and techniques to make walking and biking safe, attractive and easy. Due to its location adjacent to transit (the Franklin LRT Station in particular), pedestrian and bike infrastructure (the adjacent LRT-trail connects to both downtown and the Midtown Greenway), the site holds an added layer of responsibility to connect people to that infrastructure.

1. It should facilitate multi-modal lifestyles by increasing the number of places to work and live that cater to and celebrate pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit riders. Specific strategies might include:
  • Inside, convenient bike storage at entrances.
  • Ample and conveniently located outside bike storage.
  • Area for bike repair.
  • Benches or other public seating to allow peds a rest stop.
2. It should link existing bike/walk/LRT infrastructure so that the overall system of alternative transportation throughout our neighborhood functions more efficiently and more comfortably.
Development on the site should allow and encourage multiple, safe connections in, out, across and along the site.

Local Economy & Leadership
We envision the Bystrom Bros. site as an opportunity to strengthen our local economy, that the development be driven by a strong and clear grass-roots voice, and that the end result is designed and tenanted to contribute to the fabric of our community.
  • The site is primarily a residential site.
  • Some office and light industrial would be appropriate for this site.
  • Do not see retail other than at a limited scale.
  • Any retail should reinforce connections to and support neighborhood retail nodes on Franklin and Minnehaha.
  • We do not want the site to create a new retail business node/center.
As the design for the street reconfiguration is refined and developers begin to propose and design specific parcels at the Bystrom site, the community will continue to guide the process.
  • Prospective developers will receive and read this community vision.
  • Potential projects will be presented to SNG CDC meetings, and follow the recommendations in the final Franklin Plan document.
Stewardship and Safety
We envision the Bystrom Bros. site as a safe and well-maintained part of our neighborhood. Development at the site is an opportunity to impact the safety of the existing LRT station area and Hiawatha bike trial.

Pedestrians and bicyclists should have clear, well-defined and well-maintained paths in and around the site that allow convenient and safe access to and from the LRT, the Hiawatha bike trail, Franklin Avenue and the neighborhood generally.

Public spaces and thoroughfares should be inspired by nearby Milwaukee Avenue (and may include car-free streets) and programs and design should put “eyes on the street,” lighting, and frequent use to ped, bike and public areas.

Intersections generally, and especially at Minnehaha and 22nd, should be controlled for safe turning and crossing by all modes of transport. We envision that this intersection will be one of the primary intersections used by people who work and live in the community to connect to the LRT and Hiawatha bike trail.

These pedestrian and bike connections along and through the site provide an opportunity to not only foster movement but also create opportunities for casual connections between neighbors.

Seward is Green
We envision the Bystrom Bros. site as a place that contributes to the environmental health of our neighborhood and the world.

This site should include green/landscaped gathering spaces that integrate with the urban fabric of our neighborhood. Trees, plants and other landscaping should screen and attenuate sound for those who work, live and visit there. Landscaping plans could include composting sites for residents.

To complement the proximity to the LRT station and bicycle infrastructure, surface parking should be minimized on the site – street parking and underground parking are desirable. In the spirit of “just enough,” parking should be created assuming this site could match or exceed the percent of people in Seward who don’t own a car (According to the 2000 census, 74% of Seward residents owned 0-1 cars per household, compared to only 40% MSA). Some strategies to reduce parking demand, might include:
  • Hour car availability on site.
  • On site bike repairs facilities.
  • Financial incentives, such as decoupling housing units from parking spots, subsidized transit passes, or …
Sustainable density should be balanced with livability and aesthetics. Construction should employ the best practices of green construction and conservation. New infrastructure and buildings should employ cutting edge techniques to maximize on-site storm water management, capture or create energy on site, and other green technology.

Addendum: Great Ideas from the Neighborhood

Possible Uses
  • Senior Housing
  • Small Business / Light industrial incubator space
  • Destination Businesses, like: climbing gym, theater showing independent films, copy shop with mailing, day care
  • Bicycle-related Business on the LRT-trail
  • Transportation-sharing hub for the neighborhood (like Hour Car but perhaps even broader … include “Hour Truck”, “Hour Bicycle”, etc.)

  • Include access to rooftop gardens for every residential unit

… to be continued


Eddie said...


I’d like to file a “MINORITY REPORT” with the BYSTROM TASK FORCE.

A) As a 30 year resident, owner-occupant at the same address I think I have a valuable unique insight to the neighborhood.

B) My first thought was…I’d just like this to “Go Away” but that’s not going to fly…the more I learn about the Bystrom Site Development the better I understand it but I still have serious concerns.

C) I’d like to “go slow” in the approval process…regardless of grant money expiring etc.

D) I’d like a personal survey of 200 homeowners in the “Seward West” area…to determine their opinions. The Bystrom Task force is open to community imput but in my opinion we need to aggressively survey the residents and present them with the consequence of this development.

E) I’d like a traffic study of Seward West and also of Cedar ave. This development may have advantages on Franklin Ave. but will create a section of Cedar ave with 5 stoplights in the short distance from Franklin to 24th street…that can’t be good.

F) It appears there are conflicts in the interests of “Seward West” homeowners and
#1 Franklin Ave. Development
#2 Transit oriented Light Rail Development
#3 High Density Residential Development in Seward West

G) I’d like an opinion from a home value assessor as to the impact of “high density residential” development on single family homes adjacent to Bystrom Site. Will home values decrease? How much? 5%

H) The Seward Neighborhood as it stands TODAY is an asset to the City of Minneapolis. A peaceful quiet community of neighbors who know each other and have long term commitments to the community. It is defined by physical boundaries I-94, Hiawatha ave. The river, and 24th Street. Many residents would not tolerate living 10 blocks to the West. I’m enclosing the “Shots Fired” map from October 7, 2008. There are 25 “Shots Fired” reports immediately west of the Bystrom Site and not a single “Shots Fired” report East of Hiawatha in Seward West. This is a consistent pattern, week after week. A lot has been said about “Being Green”, to my knowledge the Bystrom Task Force has not considered the “Social Ecology” of this Development.
I want Crime and Cruising for Crime to be studied in relation to the 22 Street Phillips / Seward Connector.

The text of this will be posted at

Emily said...

Eddie -

Thank you for sharing your input. I would like to address some of the concerns you have voiced.

E) A traffic study for the area is underway.

F) We have not found this objection prominent from community input. More commonly, participants in this process have recognized this site’s potential to provide more opportunities for people in the neighborhood to live in a place that has incredible potential to accommodate alternative transportation choices (transit, biking, walking). In turn, the neighborhood as a whole could enjoy the benefit of having more people in the neighborhood to support the businesses and services that we want to have.

G) Most research has shown that home values increase when in proximity to a thriving LRT station area.