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What the Hell’s Going on with the Bryant Ave Reconstruction Plan?

Plus the Minneapolis-Duluth rail plan moves forward, 'The Price is Right' sends a poor winner to Minnesota, and Valleyfair announces the 2023 season in today's Flyover.

4:07 PM CDT on April 11, 2023

Minneapolis Public Works|

That 4.5-foot boulevard buffer between the bike lane and the street? It’s history.

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

Bryant Ave Meeting "Did Not Go Smoothly"

That's according to friend of Racket Bill Lindeke, who attended a contentious "stakeholder meeting" last Thursday on the $4.7 million, two-and-a-half mile project that will reimagine Bryant Avenue through south Minneapolis. City official Jeni Hager did her best to downplay concerns, Lindeke writes, though it became clear that the plans—ones that have already been green-lit by the City Council and mayor—"were hastily being altered" on the fly. Complicating matters: Shovels are already in the ground. "It feels very fast to us as well," Hager said.

The alterations to the project might seem like, and ultimately be, "small potatoes," Lindeke acknowledges; the biggest changes include the removal of chicanes and moving bike lanes closer to traffic. The murky, top-down fashion in which Minneapolis Public Works has handled the process is of much greater concern. "Don’t email your council member to ask for changes to the vague plans," Lindeke concludes. "Instead, the people of south Minneapolis, including most of its elected officials, will find out what the street will look like when it’s done."

Minneapolis-Duluth Passenger Choo-Choo Plan Chugs Along

Would it be nice to connect the Twin Cities to the Twin Ports with high-speed rail, thus inching our backwater country closer to the rest of the developed world? Sure, but that's not in the cards for the $450 million Northern Lights Express project, which would link Minneapolis to Duluth by normal-speed passenger rail, provided funding works its way through the DFL-controlled state government. It's getting closer to becoming a reality, per this new story from Trains.com.

Two bills—one in the House, one in the Senate—are nearing the finish line, the Duluth News Tribune reports, though they're far apart on dollar amounts. And here's the thing: This whole damn thing could be effectively free! Once Minnesota taxpayers kick in 20%, federal funding is triggered to cover the remaining 80%. The House bill calls for $194 million, enough to unlock about $1 billion in federal bux; the low-ball $50 million Senate one would accomplish diddly squat. Click here to learn more about the project that intends to reclaim 152 miles of old BNSF rail corridor. Once completed, it would provide 2.5-hour, $30 trips four times per day from Target Field to the St. Louis County Depot, with four stops along the way. Neat!

"It's Cold. It's Really Cold."

Last fall, Racket correspondents Natalia Mendez and Joel Swenson spent an alternately delightful and grueling 38 consecutive hours at the Mall of America—any more time than that, we figured, would be cruel and unnecessary. So imagine our surprise/horror when, earlier today, a clip started circulating on Twitter that showed a Tuesday The Price is Right contestant named Stephanie winning a six-night stay at the Mall of America's Radison Blu hotel.

Oh, Stephanie. We feel for you, girl. Sometimes The Price is Right contestants are competing for trips to Hawaii, or Cancún, or Playa del Carmen, or Tahiti, or Tokyo... and you got Bloomington, Minnesota. Thoughts and prayers. Let us know if you want to write about it.

Valleyfair's 2023 Lineup

In the spirit of "It's not a Friday, but it's hit 80 degrees and no one wants to be at work and it feels like a Friday," let's take a look at today's Valleyfair 2023 season announcement! The Shakopee amusement park will open on May 14, with Soak City Waterpark (calm down, Mormons) following on the 27th. Delighting children, the park also announced a new food stand, Xtreme Confections, which'll have desserts including elephant ears, funnel cake fries, and mini donut sundaes; delighting adults, there's the new Wild Thing Brews and Spirits, which'll have mixed drinks and local beers near the Wild Thing coaster. Getting a little drunk and spinning around on a roller coaster is a high risk, high reward situation, my friends.

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