Community organizations in the Near North neighborhood of Minneapolis joined together to ask the City of Minneapolis, Vision Zero, and MnDOT to apply for funding to install an asphalt art pilot project at the intersection of Olson Memorial Highway and Van White Boulevard. The dangerous intersection could benefit from a project like this, as data shows asphalt art projects significantly reduce pedestrian crashes and unsafe driving behavior.
The Bloomberg Philanthropies Asphalt Art Initiative accepts applications through June 12 and provides up to $25,000 for cities to install asphalt art pilot projects on high-injury streets.
Every year, people are killed and seriously injured in crashes on Olson Memorial Highway. The City of Minneapolis Vision Zero Initiative first identified Olson Memorial Highway as a crash concentration corridor and high-injury street in 2017. Our Streets Minneapolis has been advocating for the inclusion of artwork crosswalks in the interim safety improvements on Olson Memorial Highway, as data has shown that asphalt art projects significantly reduce pedestrian crashes and unsafe driving behavior.
Projects like these are also an opportunity to meaningfully engage community members and employ local artists.
Asphalt Art Initiative project at Baum Grove in Pittsburgh, PA. Mural by Tim Engelhardt and Randi Stewart with Friendship Community Group.
The grant application specifies the project team:
"must include a Lead City Agency, which is the primary government agency with oversight of the project (e.g., Department of Transportation, Cultural Affairs, or other appropriate agency). If the Lead City Agency is not the government agency with jurisdiction over city streets, then that agency must be a part of the Project Team."
This is an exciting opportunity to install an asphalt art pilot project at the intersection of Olson Memorial Highway and Van White Boulevard. This intersection is used to access many key destinations in the neighborhood, including Summit Academy, Bethune Community School, Sumner Library, and Glenwood Lake.
Community partners alongside Olson Memorial Highway have signed a letter of support, asking MnDOT and the City of Minneapolis to apply for funding and support an asphalt art demonstration project at this location. This includes students at the Best Buy Teen Tech Center at Summit Academy. These students are currently undertaking a project to design safety improvements for this intersection. They started this project after one of their classmates was struck by a car while crossing the highway. Other partners include Green Garden Bakery, Urban Strategies, Harrison Neighborhood Association, and Heritage Park Neighborhood Association.