What is the Portland Legacy Project?
The Portland Legacy project is a collaboration between the cities of Bloomington and Richfield who were selected to participate in the Congress for New Urbanism’s (CNU) 2020 Legacy Project. This project involves a four-day community design workshop that will explore opportunities and actions both cities can take to revitalize this aging commercial area and enhance access and walkability.
Where is this project area?
The Portland Legacy project encompasses the area within a quarter to half mile of the I-494 and Portland Avenue interchange, with a focus on the area along Portland between 77th St. and American Boulevard. The project area straddles Interstate 494, which serves as a major gateway to both Bloomington and Richfield. See map below.
Why focus on the area around Portland and I-494?
Revitalization: Both Bloomington and Richfield are focusing attention on revitalizing aging commercial areas to create attractive, vibrant places that better serve their neighborhoods and changing demographics. This area developed in the 1950s and 60s and many of the buildings are old with poor access and limited parking. While there is a significant amount of nearby housing, the area lacks safe, comfortable routes for pedestrians and bicyclists and is lacking in landscaping or other amenities. Key objectives are to make the area more attractive, create a sense of identity, and improve pedestrian and bicycle safety and access to nearby parks and businesses.
Coordinate with Major Projects: Two major transportation projects are planned that will affect the area:
- MnDOT I-494 Access Study – MnDOT is evaluating access along I-494 that will result in substantial upgrades to the interchange at Portland Avenue. This presents a unique opportunity to improve the streetscape, enhance pedestrian and bicycle safety, and create a major gateway entrance to Bloomington and Richfield.
- D-Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) - Two D-Line transit stops are planned in the area: one on American Boulevard just east of Portland Avenue and another at 77th Street in Richfield. The D-Line – which is expected to begin operating in 2021 - will extend along American Boulevard and Portland Avenue; traveling through the heart of the project area. There is an opportunity to improve pedestrian and bicycle access between the surrounding neighborhood and businesses to the planned transit stations in this area.
Who will lead the project?
The cities of Bloomington and Richfield are working together on this Legacy Project, which pairs us with a national planning and design consultant who will provide pro-bono assistance for the project.
You are welcome to contact us if you have questions or want more information.
When is the design workshop? How can I get involved?
Staff is working to reschedule the Workshop for early May. Two public events will be held to gain input from area residents, businesses, and property owners:
Kickoff & Visioning
At this meeting, you will be able to engage in various activities to let the designers know what you like about the area, what you’d like to change, and what improvements you’d like to see in the future.
- When: TBD
- Where: TBD
At this meeting, the design team will present various concepts and ideas to enhance and revitalize the area based on input received at the kickoff meeting and through discussions with area stakeholders and public officials during the week. At this meeting, participants will be asked to provide feedback on the ideas presented and tell us what ideas you like best, what you don’t like, and what other ideas should be considered.
- When: TBD
- Where: TBD
How will your input be used?
The cities of Bloomington and Richfield are seeking input from residents, businesses, and property owners who use and enjoy this area and who will be most impacted by future changes. Sharing your ideas will help ensure the ideas proposed for this area reflect your needs and wants. The ideas generated during this 4-day workshop will be illustrated in a report that will be used by the cities of Bloomington and Richfield to set priorities for investments in roads, sidewalks, and property redevelopment.