Al’s breakfast is a staple in Dinkytown. People in the area started their day with the restaurant decades ago.
“People generally stand in line here for a long time before coming to eat on a Saturday morning,” said Alison Kerwin, owner of Al’s Breakfast.
Kerwin said those lines have recently been shorter than usual.
“We were a little off in terms of our sales this weekend and last weekend, but not in a big way as I thought we’d see,” Kerwin said.
The concrete barriers were to blame, she said.
At the end of July, the City of Minneapolis closed parts of Fifth Street and 14th Avenue SE to vehicular traffic.
Dinkytown Barriers is part of a pilot project. The bulkheads were put in place Thursday afternoon through Sunday morning with an end date of August 14.
The goal is to reduce the crime that is increasing in Dinkytown.
“I think there have to be other ways of dealing with this because shutting down parts of the city rather than policing it doesn’t seem like an effective way to do that,” Kerwin said.
The companies told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that food delivery drivers are also having problems choosing food for customers when the street is closed.
“Along 14th Street, we’ve definitely seen a drop in business,” said Chris Luttenschlager, CEO of the Denktown Business Alliance.
Lautenschlager said blocking parking spaces on 14th Avenue when it is already difficult to access by customers.
“We prefer to have some kind of barrier installed late at night when major issues happen at 11 or midnight or near the bar,” he said.
Kerwin agrees that the recent wave of Dinktown crime is a problem, but said the current solution is doing more harm to small businesses than good.
“I think they need to take everyone into account, not just the people who come here, but the people who have to survive here,” Kerwin said.
At the end of the three-week pilot project, Minneapolis Police and University of Minnesota partners will take a look at the impact of the barriers on the area and the community. Then, they will decide next steps based on the results.