City Council votes on redesign of Riverfront Drive

The Mankato City Council voted unanimously for city design work on the future of Riverfront Drive.
Published: Apr. 25, 2023 at 9:33 AM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - The Mankato City Council voted unanimously for city design work on the future of Riverfront Drive.

There’s no final decision on the lane configuration until the designs are complete. The project to improve Riverfront Drive in downtown Mankato has been ongoing since 2017.

A demonstration was installed on the street last summer, a test for drivers and businesses lining Riverfront as it became three-lanes.

The project aims to make the busy street safer for foot traffic, an effort that those involved in the project say is pivotal for the development of downtown Mankato.

“People aren’t going to walk up and down the street and cross the street when it feels like it’s not safe to do so. So the idea in slowing down the traffic but still allowing people to pass through the corridor in a reasonable amount of time really makes it so people feel safe walking around the neighborhood and going into those shops,” said Wesley Gilbert, President of the Mankato Old Town Association.

The city has been collecting feedback on the project throughout the year, and public feedback is split nearly down the middle on the changes.

Mankato’s Old Town Association gave their official letter of support to the project, saying businesses on the street have seen improvement in the area, while also listening to feedback from pedestrians.

The association says that they’ve seen a lot of growth in Old Town over the past few years, and that they hope to see the city continuing to support that growth well into the future.

“For a community to really thrive you need a good core. You need a core downtown like communities have had for decades in America, which we’ve kind of lost over the years in Mankato, at least on the Old Town side of things, where it went to a point where there weren’t many businesses there. We’ve really seen a comeback over the last ten years,” said Gilbert.