We are thrilled to announce the creation of the Streets for People Work Group. This volunteer work group is a combination of the Downtown Bikeways and Pedestrian Work Groups. This change enables volunteers to discuss street space holistically and more efficiently advocate for streets that deliver safety, justice, and equity regardless of a person’s identity and lived experience.
The newly formed work group held their first meeting with familiar faces and new initiatives. The group discussed 2020 initiatives, reflected on our history and discussed ways for volunteers to get involved from helping with research to community building. Note: To get involved please fill out the 2020 Volunteer Survey!
The meeting kicked off with people sharing their stories of why they are passionate about streets. We heard stories of parents wanting a safe place for their children to play, people wanting a safe journey to their bus stop on the way to work or to pick up groceries and people who want to use zero or low emissions travel options to ensure a habitable, people-focused place for all of us to live now and into the future. We also learned that many people in our group play a variety of instruments so we can field a pretty solid band if we ever need a musical demonstration.
To inspire the group to action, Ash led a presentation on the change Minneapolis has undergone in just 50 years as a result of urban renewal, redlining and other destructive programs that Minneapolis and its people are enduring the effects of to this day.
Downtown Minneapolis in 1954 (above) and 2014 (below). Images from 60 Years of Urban Change, Institute for Quality Communities, 2014.
The message was clear: Minneapolis can make the change and it is up to us to be leaders in what this change will be. We can choose the status quo or we can join together in creating vibrant streets that heal the city while delivering long awaited justice, equity and safety.
To do its part in this work, Our Streets Minneapolis is currently performing community engagement along County streets, planning Open Streets Minneapolis 2020 celebrations across Minneapolis, and waiting for the city to release the Transportation Action Plan for public comment. Volunteers also shared their vision for the city from creating a North/South Greenway, achieving zero deaths on our streets as other cities across the world are doing, and improving a variety of ongoing bicycle infrastructure projects throughout the city.
Just before going home for the night, we discussed how people can get involved in this work through:
- In-person Advocacy (Canvass, volunteer at Open Streets Minneapolis, attend City meetings)
- Digital Advocacy (Participate in social media, write blog posts or op-eds)
- Research (Identify upcoming city meetings, summarize transportation policies, identify key stakeholders)