What’s wrong with Nicollet Mall?

Nicollet Mall stretches 12 blocks through the heart of downtown Minneapolis.
(MPR photo/Brandt Williams)

For starters, Nicollet Mall has gone 23 years without a facelift; its sidewalk heating system doesn’t work anymore; and its granite pavers are too costly to repair and maintain.  That’s according to a presentation given today to members of the Minneapolis City Council’s Transportation and Public Works Committee.

The city is beginning the process of looking for redesign ideas for the more than 130-year-old, 12-block-long thoroughfare.  According to the report, the idea is to make the street more “green” and more durable.  The report lists a reconstruction budget of $30-40 million dollars.

Committee chair Sandy Colvin Roy suggested that future architects might want to start by taking the word “mall” out of the name.  “It is just so retro,” said Colvin Roy. “Not retro enough to be cool.”

What do you think?  Is Nicollet Mall in desperate need of a makeover?

  • Sarah Marie

    I think Nicollet Mall could use some updating but this is a historic area and Minneapolis already gets too much flack for being “too modern” compared to it’s twin, St. Paul. I’m excited to see what kind of design proposals will be popping up as the conversation continues.

  • Also a Sarah Marie. Weird.

    The granite pavers are super slippery when wet – fixing that would be great; it’s almost impossible to walk anywhere on the mall when it’s raining or snowing. I’d also love to see the mall updated to provide more small pockets of civic space – like Denver’s 16th Street Mall (which, incidentally, was modeled after Nicollet Mall), which has a strip down the middle between the two lanes with trees, benches, and, for some reason, pianos. Nicollet Mall is probably too narrow to add a median, but similar types of public space would improve the mall a lot, in my opinion.

  • Also a Sarah Marie. Weird.

    The granite pavers are super slippery when wet – fixing that would be great; it’s almost impossible to walk anywhere on the mall when it’s raining or snowing. I’d also love to see the mall updated to provide more small pockets of civic space – like Denver’s 16th Street Mall (which, incidentally, was modeled after Nicollet Mall), which has a strip down the middle between the two lanes with trees, benches, and, for some reason, pianos. Nicollet Mall is probably too narrow to add a median, but similar types of public space would improve the mall a lot, in my opinion.

  • Alex

    There is a great deal of bus congestion at rush hour because the current layout doesn’t allow for buses to easily pass another bus (they may need to pass because the bus ahead is waiting for a wheelchair to be loaded, for example. The new design should allow for buses to pass at stops.

  • Alex

    There is a great deal of bus congestion at rush hour because the current layout doesn’t allow for buses to easily pass another bus (they may need to pass because the bus ahead is waiting for a wheelchair to be loaded, for example. The new design should allow for buses to pass at stops.

  • j

    Best thing to do with Nicolet is to get the busses and taxies off and to have the entire mall be walk and bike only. Expand the sidewalk seating areas for restaurants and add in some more greenery. Honestly I never knew that Nicollet ever had sidewalk heating because I use the skyway during winter.