Minneapolis Highrise Representative Council resident leaders
More than 5,000 people live in 42 Minneapolis public housing high rises and the Minneapolis Highrise Representative Council works with residents to advance issues that support their quality of life.
In recent years, resident leaders have been organizing for sidewalk and crossing improvements around many of the highrises. In too many cases, there are dangerous crossings that limit the ability of residents to get to bus stops, nearby places of worship, and other important destinations. They have done “walk audits” at more than a dozen buildings, collected postcards in support of funding to improve crossings, and told their stories directly to elected officials. Their work is leading to a real and important focus on areas where safety improvements have been needed for years.
Bike Walk Champion
Mayor Betsy Hodges
Left photo courtesy of Go MN
During her time as Mayor and Council Member, Betsy Hodges has been strong and consistent supporter of biking and walking for everyone in Minneapolis. She also consistently put racial equity front and center. Some of the bike/walk accomplishments she has played an important role in include:
- Nation-leading Complete Streets policy, protected bikeway plan, and Vision Zero commitment to eliminate traffic deaths in the city;
- Landmark 20-year funding plan to support the repaid of streets (to be implemented with Complete Streets);
- First-ever dedicated City funding for protected bike lanes, pedestrian crossing improvements, and Safe Routes to Schools;
- Funding for improved winter maintenance of bikeways and at bus stops;
- 3rd Avenue protected bikeway in downtown among 12 miles of new protected bikeways installed in her tenure as Mayor;
- Expanding Open Streets Minneapolis; and
- Appointing the talented and visionary Robin Hutcheson as Public Works Director and supporting a new division within Public Works focused on transportation planning.
Walk Bike Champion
Council Member Elizabeth Glidden
Bottom photo courtesy of TC Daily Planet.
Council Member Glidden has been a consistent supporter of making streets more walk and bike friendly as a long-serving member of the Transportation and Public Works Committee. She was a part of the committee that shaped the City's great Complete Streets policy. She has strongly supported Open Streets, funding for biking and walking, the Blaisdell protected bike lane, and making sure that the 35W Access project benefits city residents with transit and connection to the Midtown Greenway. She has ensured that equity stays central to the City's work on transportation.
Bike Walk School
Pillsbury Pedal Power
Bottom photo courtesy of Susan Truck.
Pillsbury Elementary school hosts a club led and attended by elementary school students called “Pillsbury Pedal Power.” The group meets twice a week to ride their bikes and share skills. Pedal Power was started by two teachers: Mark Trumper and Susan Tuck who realized many of their students didn’t have bikes or even know how to ride them five years ago. Today these kids are riding strong and leading themselves in many ways, if you see a group of kids in bright yellow hoodies riding together it’s probably the Power Pedal kids!
Bike Walk School
Seward Montessori is home to a great bike reward program. Students who bike at least eight times a month are eligible for prizes. Parents and staff can also win prizes for biking. A group of students from Seward Montessori even gathered at a city council meeting in January to urge the council to keep 29th Avenue South closed to automobile traffic permanently. The street was closed on a trial basis since 2015. This route is used by many students as a safe route to school. The school hosts fun bike rides and encourages students to bike and walk to school.
Street Art Project
FLOW Northside Art Crawl
Bottom photo courtesy of Westbroadway.org.
Over the last 12 years, FLOW has showcased local art in North Minneapolis in a fun and interactive way that invites people to connect with their community and walk and bike between self-guided stops along West Broadway. Thanks to Dudley Voigt and the West Broadway Business and Area Coalition for leading FLOW!
Bike Walk Business
Junket: Tossed and Found
Top right photo courtesy of TC Daily Planet.
This eclectic secondhand shop has awesome bike parking and offers extra bike locks for forgetful patrons. They are a champion for Open Streets on Minnehaha and also supported biking and walking improvements in the redesign of Minnehaha Avenue.They have free coffee, tea, and water for a welcome respite from the cold of the winter or the heat of the summer. They also have a nice restroom, which can be great for bike and walk commuters who need a place to gather themselves and their things before they start their shopping. The storefront is engaging and Junket even does sidewalk sales. Thanks owner Julie Kearns for all her work!
Bottom photo courtesy of the City of Minneapolis.
One of the biggest changes in pedestrian infrastructure in Minneapolis this year has been the placement of zebra crosswalks at most intersections across the city. Previously the city of Minneapolis utilized parallel line crossings which had low visibility. Zebra crossings have high visibility and increased amount of material in view, studies proving zebra crossings are more visible at night time making them 40% safer than parallel line crossings. The move to zebra crossings is a huge advancement for pedestrian safety in Minneapolis. Thank you to leadership of current and former City Public Works staff Mackenzie Turner Bargen, Matthew Dyrdahl, Steve Mosing, and the tremendous striping crews who lead and implemented this change!
Neighborhood Bike Program
The Neighborhood Bike Program, housed this year at North Point Health and Wellness, provides bicycles, events, and support to hundreds of residents in North Minneapolis and Phillips. The stories of people getting back on a bike after decades are inspiring and the vibrant orange bikes have become a staple around neighborhoods since the program was launched by Nice Ride in 2014. Thanks to LaTrisha Vetaw, Tami Traeger, and the many partners who have made this program so amazing!
Northside Temporary Greenway
The potential North Minneapolis Greenway is an idea to convert all or part of a quiet residential street into a linear park and trail. Deep community engagement has been going on since 2012 with a majority or residents in favor of the potential Greenway, but many had questions as well. So, a Temporary Greenway was installed for a year with different potential treatments to engage residents.
The Temporary Greenway answered questions about access and maintenance and what it would mean to have your street turned into a park and bikeway. At the end of the pilot, a strong majority of residents are in support of the Greenway in some form and community members are beginning to organize to try to get the community’s vision for the Greenway built. Thanks to the many community volunteers (including Will Lumpkins), the Minneapolis Health Department (including Sarah Stewart), and the Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota who made the Temporary Greenway possible
Washington Avenue Reconstruction
Bottom photo courtesy of Colin Cox.
The Washington Avenue Reconstruction was a significant investment in streetscaping making the Downtown East area more walkable, bikeable, and in general liveable. The improvements included: increased sidewalk area, space for transit stops, and a raised protected bikeway. Previously the area was difficult to bike through due to the lack bike lanes and the large amount of automobile traffic that runs through the area. Before reconstruction the area was difficult to cross as a pedestrian and had little room on sidewalks, leaving pedestrians feeling unsafe. The reconstruction is physically and visibility a major improvement which is easy to see with significantly more users on the bikeway and sidewalk. The new bikeway was named in People for Bikes top 10 best new bikeways of 2017. Thanks to Commissioner Peter McLaughlin who got Board approval for the project, former County staff members Debra Brisk and Jennifer Lowry who played key roles in the design, and current staff including Nathan Ellingson and Stan Lim who finalized the design and construction of Washington.