In Depth: Nicollet Mall LRT Station Neighborhood

 – South 6th St, west of Nicollet Mall (between Hennepin & Nicollet) –

The north side has four eating/drinking establishments, all with outdoor dining (The Oceanaire, Ike’s, Murray’s, and Lyon’s Pub):

S 6th St just west of Nicollet S 6th St West of Nicollet


The south side of the street is a dismal scene, featuring a totally unsheltered bus stop, and not a single commercial enterprise (the nearby doors to Office Depot are locked):

S 6th St just west of Nicollet - facing south
Note that this bus stop provides zero information on which busses stop here, and when. Compare and contrast with the bus stops on Marquette.


– South 6th St, just east of Nicollet Mall (between Nicollet & Marquette) –

Pretty much empty except for a Bruegger’s bagel shop:

S 6th St just east of Nicollet - facing south


– South 6th St, just east of Marquette (between Marquette & 2nd Ave) –

Commercial desert (not a single store or restaurant):

S 6th St east of Marquette


– Marquette, just north of S 6th St (between 6th & 5th) –

A tobacco store near 6th street:

Marquette just north of S 6th St


Marquette also features Minneapolis’s only first-world bus stops:

special bus stop
Notice the very visible signs designating this as a type “D” stop.


There is also a business (with outdoor seating) near 5th street:

Marquette just south of 5th St


– Marquette, north of S 5th St (between 5th & 2nd) –

Marquette north of the LRT station is – for now – commercial desert (no stores facing the street for the next 4 blocks):

looking north on Marquette


 – South 5th St, east of Marquette (between Marquette & 2nd Ave) –

Some of the only wide sidewalks in Minneapolis, but utterly lacking in commerce:

S 5th St just east of Marquette


 – Nicollet Mall Station (South 5th St, between Nicollet & Marquette) –

Here’s the most shocking thing of all; there are zero businesses facing Nicollet Mall Station.  Not one cafe.  Not one konbini.  Not even a vending machine.

And here’s something you don’t see in Japan; the short distance from the station to “The Nic” apartment tower is completely uncovered.  If it were raining, you would literally have to walk in the rain.  Brand new station.  Brand new apartment tower.  Walking in the rain.

Nicollet Mall Station - facing east Nicollet Mall Station


 – South 5th St, west of Nicollet (between Nicollet and Hennepin) –

Another commercial desert.  Within several hundred feet of Nicollet Mall, there are zero businesses facing the street.

S 5th St west of Nicollet


 – Nicollet Mall (between 5th and 6th) –

The north end of Nicollet Mall also has surprisingly few businesses facing the street, but it does have wide brick sidewalks, nice bus stands, and regular farmer’s markets.  It may be a commercial desert, but at least its usually busy.

Nicollet Mall - facing north towards 5th.

 – Summary –

Green indicates “OK”.

Red indicates “commercial desert / unsafe” (strongly violates Jane Jacobs’s Condition #1).



– Conclusion –

At the current time, this area is shockingly lacking in urban street life.  On the plus side, the bustling Skyway system is a different story.  But it is a different story in every sense.  The Skyway and the Street exist as two separate entities.


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