Parts of Hennepin Street in Minneapolis are now closed, leaving small business owners 'terrified'

Minneapolis – Parts of Hennepin Street in Minneapolis were closed Monday The first phase of the two-year construction project.

For 34 years, Dale Lee's daily routine has included some floor cleaning at his company, Uncommon Grounds Coffee House.

“I came outside and cleaned the old porch,” he told me.

But things looked a little different on Monday.

“This is very strange. Last night they closed the streets,” he said. “I told some friends last night if you want to drive down Hennepin one last time, this is your chance.”

Cones went up, meters went down, bus stops emptied, cars disappeared.

“I've never seen Hennepin so quiet, you can actually hear the birds,” he said.

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A nearby sign says there is no parking until Nov. 22, which has some business owners concerned.

“We're all scared and terrified, but we have to stay,” said Robert Sorenson, owner of Poppy Bed.

“I'm going to have to get out more, advertise more, just to attract more people,” said Marketa Winters, owner of Quitas Kloset.

“I think it's going to impact their business significantly,” Uptown resident Bill Babcock said.

“Two years is a long time for a company trying to hold on to things until they get better,” Sorenson said.

The two-year project is divided into a first phase from Westlake Street to 26th Street, and a second phase from 26th Street to Douglas Street.

“It makes getting around more difficult is the biggest problem,” Babcock said.

We experienced heavy traffic along the lake and lake at lunchtime on Monday, but the hope is that the new Hennepin Avenue will be better for biking, walking, transit and driving.

There are also plans to accommodate the future Metro E line and a new bus rapid transit line.

Lee says many of his customers walk, and he hopes others will discover new parking spots to continue working until construction is finished.

Metro Transit buses will be diverted to Lyndale Street. Access to the businesses will remain open, and traffic will be restricted or closed depending on the building and stage of construction. Pedestrian diversions will continue to evolve as the project continues.

The weekly stakeholder meeting is held approximately every Friday from 10am to 11am

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