Lake Effect Design

Lake Effect Public Open House Overview

At the Lake Effect Community Open House on August 16, 2018, residents were able to walk through, review and discuss with the design team, Civitas, and staff their thoughts on the design refinements for the Lake street, Lake Street Plaza and Depot Park. 

Boards of the design alternatives were on display and below are the images with descriptions of each of the areas.

18.08-16 WLE Lake St  Plaza Board

Lake Street

At the conclusion of the validation phase it was determined that the option to remove the center turn lane on Lake Street provided the most added benefit to the project.  The space previously used for the center lane has been re-allocated to provide a dedicated off-street bike facility, stormwater planting, and expand the public realm north of Lake Street.

A dedicated bike lane will safely bring riders of all ages on to Lake Street to take advantage of the shops and restaurants. The bike facility will feature a visually contrasting pavement treatment from the pedestrian walking space as well as a visual and textural material change in the step out zone between the parked cars and the bike lane and between the transition from pedestrian walk to bike lane.  In addition to the dedicated bike facility, the design of the south-side of Lake Street includes an expanded 8’ sidewalk to better accommodate the higher pedestrian traffic that exists throughout the warmer summer months.

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Stormwater planting along the south side of Lake Street will capture and treat street runoff in a storm event before it is discharged into lake Minnetonka.  This feature will provide an environmental benefit, but will also contribute to the visual impact and patterning along Lake Street by creating a rhythm of green planting. 

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The increased public realm space accommodates outdoor seating for current and future tenants, additional seating for community, and ample pedestrian space to enjoy the restaurants, shops, businesses and incredible lake views.  The Lake Street design from Broadway to Walker will have an enhanced paving and lighting.  Special attention has been given to this important and thriving retail block to embrace the views of the lake and enhance the pedestrian, bike, and vehicular experience.  Striking light poles resembling the masts of sail boats are proposed to march down Lake Street from Walker Avenue to Broadway Avenue creating an alluring rhythm and calling attention to the 600 block.  From these posts catenary lighting will be secured, creating a charming celling. 

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Lake Street Plaza 

Currently the municipal parking lot, the Lake Street Plaza will dramatically transform the asphalt parking into a community space to be used during all seasons.  A series of green outdoor rooms will flank a flexible plaza space that can be used to accommodate existing uses such as farmers markets, Art Experience, James J. Hill Days and also provide new uses in the winter such as ice skating and informal games of hockey or curling.  A permanent restroom will be located at the East end of the park and plaza providing year-round facilities for the public.  Shaded green rooms build upon the existing elevated garden spaces by providing additional space for siting, relaxing or a shady spot to enjoy a picnic.  Two slender shade structures framing the flexible plaza create a respite from the sun in the summer and a place to gather near a fire pit in the fall and winter.   Catenary lighting over Lake Street extends into the park space creating a ceiling and defining the outdoor rooms over the tilted lawns. 

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Depot Park

Since design validation the Depot Park design has evolved to ensure existing uses and character are maintained, while at the same time enhancing accessibility and function.  Consideration has been made to maintain the parks primary passive nature by keeping the boardwalk down at the water level leaving most of the existing open grass lawn as a passive family oriented gathering space.  The ramp system from the boat docks to the Depot has been simplified creating direct access to the Depot and railroad crossing at Barry Street.  A small deck floats in the open lawn providing an opportunity for viewing the lake, lounging, picnicking or a stage for concerts at the depot. 18.08-16 WLE Depot  Eco Park Boards_Page_7

18.08-16 WLE Depot Eco Park Boards_Page_2Eco-Park

One of the most significant changes that has been made to the Eco-Park is the boardwalk itself.  Rather than a static pier that reaches out into the marsh land, now the boardwalk creates a loop taking visitors through several plant communities.  This new experience creates many opportunities for learning about the variety of plants and animal species that are integral to this the lake ecosystem. 

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