It’s the second weekend of Dinkytown street closures aimed at combating a recent spike in crime in the area, and business owners say the barriers are slowing foot traffic.
Al’s Breakfast is a Dinkytown staple. People in the area have started their day with the restaurant for decades.
“People generally line up here for a long time before they come to eat on a Saturday morning,” said Alison Kirwin, owner of Al’s Breakfast.
Kirwin said recently those lines have been shorter than normal.
“We were a little off as far as our sales went both this weekend and last weekend, but not in as big a way as I thought we were going to see,” Kirwin said.
She said that concrete barriers are to blame.
In late July, the city of Minneapolis closed portions of 5th Street and 14th Avenue SE to car traffic.
The Dinkytown barricades are part of a pilot project. Barriers are placed Thursday afternoon through Sunday morning with an end date of August 14.
The goal is to reduce the crime that has increased in Dinkytown.
“I think there have to be other ways to deal with this, because shutting down parts of the city instead of policing them doesn’t seem to be an effective way to go about it,” Kirwin said.
Businesses told 5 Eyewitnesses that food delivery drivers are also facing problems getting food to customers when the road is blocked.
“Along 14th Avenue, we’ve certainly seen a drop in business,” said Chris Lautenschlager, Executive Director of the Dinkytown Business Alliance.
Lautenschlager said blocking parking spaces on 14th Avenue when parking is already hard to come by drives customers away.
“We would prefer to have some sort of barricade installed late at night when the main problems happen at 11 o’clock, midnight or near the bar,” he said.
Kirwin admits the recent crime wave in Dinkytown is a problem, but she said the current solution is doing small businesses more harm than good.
“I think they have to consider everybody, not just the people who come here, but the people who have to survive here,” Kirwin said.
At the end of the three-week pilot project, Minneapolis police and University of Minnesota partners will take a look at the impact the barriers are having on the area and community. They will then decide next steps based on the findings.