The month of April began not with a bang, but with a very cold windy day. April 1 was the UMN Bikeways for Everyone Workgroup’s first of four tabling events. All through the month of April we have been holding tabling events around the U of M campus to raise awareness of the need for a protected bikeway along University Ave. Instead of just a regular petition, we decided to make this a photo campaign. We thought that having each person take a picture with the sign would make the campaign more personal – these are real people with real smiles, and real lives that deserve to be protected on the road.
The Bikeways for Everyone workgroup is made up of U of M students who bike to get around campus, and want to feel safer when we do. We had a great success last year with the installation of a two-way protected bikeway on Oak St, but now we’re taking on the incredibly busy University Avenue. In partnership with the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition and Varsity Bikes, we have been getting the word out about the need for safer streets. We’ve taken hundreds of photos over the last few weeks, and are encouraging people to use the hashtag #UniAve4Everyone on their social media sites. We spoke to countless students and community members with a wide range of biking experience, even some who had never biked on campus before. The great news is that a protected bike lane will make University Ave safer for everyone, even non-bikers!
The wintry winds finally broke to sunny skies. We were no longer huddling around a table, luring people to our table with warm coffee. By mid-April we were sprawled out on the grass greeting passersby with vegan ice cream. While the weather did a beautiful 180, our campaign has been consistently working hard and gaining support. We’re thrilled with our progress, and the connections we’ve made over just a few weeks.
Our last event is a Group Ride on Friday, April 29th. Come join us at 12:30pm at the Bohemian Flats (on West Bank) to give this great campaign a strong send off.
Soon we will be reaching out to city and county decision makers to show them that the U of M community is calling for a safer, strong, healthier campus and city!