The City Code of Minneapolis, Minnesota provides for pedestrian oriented overlay districts (“PO”) for smaller sized areas throughout the city in the vicinity of public transit service stations (bus, train, or both) that consist of regulations aimed to promote pedestrian activity and street life in addition to the underlying zone’s original regulations. The city recently constructed Metro Transit Hiawatha Light Rail Line that makes 17 stops between the popular Mall of America and downtown Minneapolis, with dozen of bus routes timed to connect with the train at each stop. Some of the PO districts consist of the area surrounding these stops, and other transit centers.
The ordinance prohibits drive-through facilities and automobile service uses. The maximum off-street parking allowed for nonresidential uses is 75% of that which is allowed elsewhere in the city, and shared-parking is encouraged. Design standards to enhance the pedestrian-friendly atmosphere include a requirement that nonresidential building facades have at least 40% of their frontage covered with glass that allow views into and out of the building at eye level, and awnings and canopies are encouraged to protect pedestrians from the elements. The ordinance has specific PO regulations for several particular areas of the city (with sections within the ordinance identifying each area and describing the area’s location and boundaries), such as requiring a travel demand management plan (TDMP) for new developments over 4,000 square feet in the “Lake and Hennepin Area.” In specified transit station areas, the ordinance prohibits the development of any new commercial parking lots or the expansion of existing commercial parking lots. The minimum FAR requirements for both commercial and industrial uses in the transit station areas are set at 1.0. Building placement shall be in a manner that facilitates pedestrian access and circulation, with at least one principal entrance facing the public street. To enhance the pedestrian experience, the ordinance requires building to provide amenities such as tables, seating and landscaping in the area between the building and the lot line.