Deciding the role I35 will play in Downtown Duluth
I35 runs right through the city going up all the way up to the intersection where London road turns into Highway 61.
It’s the “front doorway” of Duluth that millions of people have driven on throughout the years, but there are also some downsides to the interstate.
The interstate splits Duluth’s downtown into two. The Canal Park side and the downtown side. And many are wondering if it’s possible for there not to be a divide where people have to walk over the interstate to get to the waterfront.
With highway right-sizing, the connection of the two divided parts could be the solution. The process removes the interstate infrastructure from a metro’s downtown and it’s becoming a more common occurrence and conversation in recent years.
University of Minnesota Partners hosted a half-day workshop to show city officials, city planners, transportation officials, and downtown business owners, their study done on what would happen if I35 was right-sized.
“Our study is really focused on just the downtown area and more on the economic opportunities that might exist if there was a transformation on that space, says Monica Haynes.
The Director of UMD Bureau of Business & Economic Research believes that right-sizing I35 shows promise.
“Our study is really focused on just the downtown area and more on the economic opportunities that might exist if there was a transformation on that space.”
When researching cities similar to Duluth it was shown that they did have economic growth from right-sizing, by reusing the interstate infrastructure in a way that betters the walkability of the city.
Tracy Hadden Loh who is a part of The Center for Transformative Placemaking says, “The first thing you notice about I-35 is how how little utilization of the capacity there is on the interstate. Traffic volumes on the interstate have declined by almost a quarter over the last generation, and that kind of weakening demand in infrastructure suggests, “is there a better use?'”