Welcome to the third edition of Voices of Downtown, a collection of recent comments from our readers, which we'll continue to share from time to time.

Buses may come off of Nicollet Mall, but not for awhile

One of the negative factors that discourage more pedestrian use of Nicollet Mall is its the lack of public restroom facilities. I recommend that the plaza space in front of the former Panera restaurant be repurposed with the construction of a building similar to those that have been built on the grounds of the Minnesota State Fair. Such a facility must be handicap accessible with security cameras and maintained by paid staff.  Another thought would be to eventually allow only electric buses on the mall for free rides. – Raymond F. Kroll, retired teacher and former transportation director for Minneapolis Public Schools

I have traveled to many places throughout Europe and am always struck by the pedestrian-only zones at the center of the city. Restaurants and coffee shops thrive with outdoor seating areas (without bus exhaust choking you!). Holiday events occur there. Children can wander without fear of being run over by cars or buses. Nicollet Mall is the center of our city and should be the active heart of civic activity, not a bus/transit corridor! – Tim Palmquist, downtown resident

The mall should be a pedestrian-only mall with only the exception of motorized scooters for disabled citizens. But without some real controls, scooters, bikes, rollerblades, and skateboards will end up seeping in at every intersection and turn the mall into a free-for-all. – Thomas Ruffaner, concerned citizen and resident of Minneapolis for 40+ years

If one travels to London, Paris, or even Palo Alto, California, one can see restaurants and cafés spilling into the streets. Seems to me that this is a "no brainer!" We have the perfect setting on Nicollet Mall. It's just sad that it will take two years to accomplish something that is relatively simple. In the meantime, we who live downtown wait for change. I live downtown and can see the many possibilities; I just don't know why that it is taking so long to act. – Ruth Benson

With commuting still down from pre-pandemic levels, what's the future of downtown’s Marq2 transit corridor?

The Nicollet Mall will never, ever be a vibrant, hustle-bustle, exciting Nicollet Mall again, ever. It's an embarrassment, especially those two blocks with those silver things sticking out of the sidewalks, with cheap, tacky, flashing lights; bright spray-painted pianos with birds and butterflies; loud, blasting music out of a cheap speaker system at the top of those silver, tall construction flood lights; but worst of all are those games that are set up. No one from all the wealthy, affluent suburbs we have or the west Minneapolis neighborhoods would ever bring their out-of-town guests to Nicollet Mall. It's nothing to be proud of. It's nothing but cheap, tacky and embarrassing. It's nothing anybody would want to show off to their guests, especially their guests from Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, or any of the other big American cities. – Jeff Tennant

Downtown residents weigh in on scooters during community meeting

Whenever I see a scooter illegally parked on the sidewalk, I snap a photo and send it to the 311 app. However, it appears that the City never seems to follow up when these issues are reported. Over the past couple of years, I have found at least two or three scooters per day and reported them. Sometimes those scooters are still there hours later. – Brad

Hennepin Avenue road construction hits Nicollet Island-East Bank neighborhood

Is there an opportunity to eliminate street parking during rush hour? It is causing extensive backups and accidents in the construction zone. – Suzy, NE Mpls commuter

Corner Coffee’s fifth shop is opening soon on Nicollet Mall

The Assemblies of God denomination discriminates against queer people. Corner Coffee's website does not mention that they are a church because they know their bigotry is unpopular. Please take your coffee dollars somewhere less homophobic. – Lily

Nonprofits hope to close on YWCA Minneapolis buildings by the end of June

The Tending the Soil Rise Up Center is doomed to fail. The MN Legislature adjourned without passing the bonding bill. The additional $9 million promised by the bonding bill is not available.  Where will the additional funds needed for renovation come from? The YWCA leadership of (Shelley) Carthen Watson abandoned a beloved community of members by failing to understand how to manage the facility. Highly doubtful that this deal will close. The building will be on the market again. – Paulette Will, current member of YWCA, fundraiser, community activist

Revisit the second edition of Voices of Downtown from April 18.