Downtown Bikeways May Report

Thank you to Anna for taking the notes for this blog and to Sara for serving as photographer.

This May evening was as beautiful as April was snowy (catch up on our April work here). All the Dunn Bros bike racks (and sign posts for half a block in every direction) were filled to overflowing by the time the 12 of us all got settled. Our crew grew again, with three new people joining us (welcome Jesse and Nicky and Aaron).

We’ve finally settled on a standing meeting time: the first Monday of the month, from 6-7:30. Put June 4th on your calendar (but note that in July we’re postponing by a week due to the 4th of July). Come join our mighty band of organizers!

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Welcome - we're here to...

While introducing ourselves, we shared what inspires us to volunteer with this downtown bikeways group. The answers varied from wanting a safe way to get home, to wanting co-workers to feel safe riding, to hoping to share the joy of riding a bike with neighbors. Before we dove into an update on what we’d done since our previous meeting, we reminded ourselves what we’re trying to accomplish:

We aim to showcase the demand for safe, protected bikeways on two downtown Minneapolis corridors that are included in the City's Protected Bikeway Update to the Bicycle Master Plan but not yet implemented. The first is north/south from downtown to Whittier on LaSalle/Blaisdell and/or First Avenues, and the second corridor is east/west across downtown on 9th and 10th Streets.

We start our meetings with updates from the corridor work groups, and they have been busy!

Reports from Corridor Working Groups

 

Lasalle/1st Group

  • Created a sample coloring sheet for an event activity.  “My vision for a safer LaSalle:” OR “I want to make LaSalle better by…”
  • Lakes & Legends is open to hosting but need to secure a date. Hope to secure several locations in the future for more events.
  • Have also considered a “how’d you get here today” survey to share with event locations to help them understand the true volume of people walking, biking, or coming by transit.
  • Connected with Lydia Apartments as a partner for a workshop.

 

9th & 10th Group

  • Met with the lead at Target for the bike group. Discussed different options for engaging Target bike commuters to vote or take a survey on types of bike corridor, and to invite pledges of support for improvements. Discussed possibility of a luncheon, possibly invite Ethan to speak about Our Streets Mpls.
  • Created a survey to get cyclist opinions on options for improving 9th/10th. This could be used at Target event OR when stopping folks during high-traffic times, e.g. Farmers Market days.

 

We took a slight detour into traffic counts, and parking, and Janne gave a mini history lesson about what's possible. She shared how Amsterdam used to be very car-centric - but record numbers of deaths of people walking and biking, and especially of children, prompted widespread protests. People demanded safe streets for walking and biking, leaders listened, and now everyone bikes. Check out these pictures of the same spot in Amsterdam (there are more examples at the link above).

That opportunity exists for us in Minneapolis, too.

 haarlemmerdijk2.pngHaarlemmerdijk in 1900, 1971 & 2013. Historical photos from the Amsterdam Archives & modern images by Thomas Schlijper. Publicized via Corneila Dinca’s masters thesis.

The project-focused work

Then, we dove into the details. After two months of work, each corridor group has a few plans underway. We asked, “What is your challenge to get your event planned? What do you need?” using a Peer-to-Peer Consulting activity. Everyone broke into groups of 3 to discuss the events planned by the two corridor groups.

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Armed with those ideas, we regrouped with our corridor teams to update our plans, discuss the events, set dates for events, and map out who is going to do what by when, before reporting back to the whole group.

LaSalle/1st EVENT

  • Working with Lakes & Legends to:
    • Possibly table at their event where they are shutting down the street.
    • Select a date for the coloring event (aiming for mid-May).
  • Several activities to support the event; team will be connecting after the meeting to assign responsibilities

 

9th/10th EVENT  -

  • First “event” will be e-communications to Target bike commuters; possibly Our Streets email lists
  • Second opportunity will be a luncheon event for Target bike commuters
  • Third event will be a possible on-street outreach to get surveys filled out + supporters signed up.

 

Wrap up - and an invitation for YOU to join us in June

Before we headed out, we confirmed we’ll meet on June 4th, 6-7:30pm at the Dunn Bros in Loring Park (329 W 15th St), and that we’ll postpone July’s meeting until the after the big holiday, gathering on July 9th. (Come join us, and e-mail ethan@ourstreetsmpls.org or show up 15 minutes early to get plugged into a work group.)

We also took a couple minutes to share what we’re taking away from the meeting, or what we’re reflecting on. People shared their growing hope for making real change, wondered how to translate our activities into change, and expressed excitement that so many people are willing to work together to make downtown protected bikeways a reality. And Sara wrangled us to take a whole-group selfie before we headed out the door.