I'm not sure single-lane alleys are really suited to commercial traffic of any consequence. Sometimes you'll see apartment buildings using them (West Broadway Crescent is one good example.) But high turnover from commercial stuff would make that hard.I 120% agree. <warning: "There outta be a law" ahead>all parking lots people turn into have alley access. Nicollet could be much better if the city just forced them to close off those curb cuts.
As we plan for the city's future, we ought to consider zoning/ordinances that require businesses and other developments with alley access to use it. Forbid curb cuts unless there is really no other way to get into the property. It would not only make the pedestrian experience noticeably better, I think it would encourage better building design and certainly street frontage.
I look at the the stuff built along the Greenway and ask, "why do we have all these huge curb cuts?"
There are a lot of ways you could address the curb cuts, but they all have issues:
1. Build district parking and use the space for something else (but, business owners might not be on board, and that could be a large public expense)
2. Require cross-access easements to consolidate access (but this would functionally require bigger parking lots and might be hard to do with zero-lot-line buildings)
3. Encourage consolidation into newer and larger multi-tenant buildings. The market seems to somewhat do this on its own, but you lose some "fine-grained urbanism" and existing attractive buildings.
I'm a little hazy on remembering my land use law class, but I believe simply removing all curb cuts could be considered a "taking", and the city would be responsible for the loss of value for the property.
Given the consistent grid, they could potentially install a narrow median and disallow left turns in and out of driveways. That would probably help with the more dangerous behaviors.