Open Streets Minneapolis season begins in June and brings us all the way into October. In these five months the City of Minneapolis is given the unique opportunity to envision our streets in a whole new way: without motorized vehicles and with pedestrians, bicyclists, skaters, local vendors, artists, and many more. For one glorious day, a typically busy and chaotic street is filled with chalk, bubbles, and free movement of people; it’s the one day a year that communities can see their streets in a whole new way.
While this beautiful day only happens once a year, advocacy groups are taking advantage of the car-free street to create an awareness and take strides to make them permanently safer for all modes of transportation. At Open Streets Downtown on July 10th, two advocacy groups set up demonstrations to connect to as many people at the event as possible.
The Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition set up a Pop-Up Protected Bikeway Demonstration that highlighted what a protected bikeway could look on Washington Avenue. The Pop-Up had several types of protected; planters and bollards.
Cyclists were encouraged to ride through, see how they felt with a physical protection from car traffic, and sign a postcard if they wanted to support more protected bikeways in Minneapolis. The Pop-Up is brought out to every Open Streets, and it is always a time to connect with community members and have meaningful interactions about the safety and accessibility of our streets by bicycle.
At Open Streets Downtown, a pedestrian bumpout demonstration made its first appearance! The Pedestrian Advisory Committee (PAC) displayed a fresh cross walk complete with painted pedestrian bump outs.
A member of the PAC reflects on the demonstration: "The 'Pop-Up Bumpout' was an opportunity for the Minneapolis Pedestrian Advisory Committee to engage people around ways to improve pedestrian crossings in Minneapolos. This included a chalked out Bumpout showing where the curb could be moved to shorten the crossing. It also included an enhanced 'zebra' crosswalk marking."
Just as Open Streets is an opportunity for fun, excitement, and freedom in the streets, it also presents a unique opportunity to accelerate change. We are looking forward to seeing more demonstrations in the future, make sure to come to Open Streets East Lake on July 24th and stop by the Humanize Hi-Lake Demonstration on Hiawatha and Lake, as well as the Pop-Up Protected Bikeway Demonstration on Lake and 18th!
Interested in being a change facilitator? Sign-up for a shift as a Pop-Up Ambassador with the Protected Bikeway Team. The second and third shifts are still in need of volunteers, sign-up by clicking here!
Photo Credit: Colin Harris and Pedestrian Advisory Committee