Who We Are
Our Streets Minneapolis is a community supported organization that works for a city where biking, walking, and rolling are easy and comfortable for everyone. Every year hundreds of volunteers help make our work possible; doing everything from street monitoring (and sometimes hula hooping) at Open Streets Minneapolis events to leading work groups and group rides.
Have questions or want to learn more about getting involved? Contact one of the staff below!
Ashwat Narayanan, Executive Director
Ash has nine years of experience advocating for cleaner, more inclusive and resilient transportation systems in the Midwest. Before Our Streets Minneapolis, Ash was Director of Transportation Policy at 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, a statewide nonprofit dedicated to building healthy communities through better land use. He developed campaigns that shifted state funding away from auto-centric infrastructure and into walking, biking, and public transit through legislative, legal, and community organizing means. He authored and co-authored numerous reports including The Road to Clean Transportation: A Bold, Broad Strategy to Cut Carbon Emissions and Arrive Together: Transportation Access and Equity in Wisconsin.
Most recently, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers appointed Ash to the State's Transportation Task Force, advising the state on future transportation investment. He served on the City of Madison's Transportation Commission and the City's Transportation Policy and Planning Board. He also chaired the Dane County Climate Council's Transportation and Land Use Working Group. He has a Bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from SRM University, India, and a Master's degree in Transportation Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Ash currently serves on the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) Sustainable Transportation Advisory Council.
Nick Ray Olson, Deputy Director
Nick Ray has been at Our Streets since 2016, primarily leading the Open Streets Minneapolis program. Previously, he tackled bicycle and pedestrian initiatives at the City of Minneapolis. He is a proponent of streets as vibrant community spaces, frequent mid-ride snack breaks, and handlebar baskets.
Haley Foydel, Fundraising and Volunteer Coordinator
Haley comes to Our Streets Minneapolis after working, walking, and biking in multiple cities across the East Coast and mid-Atlantic. Most recently, she was the Volunteer Manager for Maine's largest social services agency, overseeing the staffing of soup kitchens, food pantries, and residential programs in Portland. Haley's favorite pastime is taking advantage of every trail, bike path, bus, and train available to get to her destination.
Board of Directors
Abigail Johnson, President
Abigail finds wonder in walking. When she was young, she’d read books about long journeys on foot. In college she’d walk miles to new coffee shops to study in, enjoying the discovery of each new neighborhood. As an adult in New York city, walking was Abigail’s preferred method of transport. If she had to go anywhere, Abigail would skip the subway for foot, meandering through Manhattan.
Back in Minneapolis, Abigail sees a city thriving with life and spirit, hindered and crushed by the car-centric street culture. She can’t wait to change our city, block by block, until the streets again become our streets. To reach that goal, Abigail also serves as the Chair for the City of Minneapolis Pedestrian Advisory Committee.
For the last four years, Dave attended the University of Minnesota Duluth, where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. During that time Dave dedicated himself to sustainability by working at the Office of Sustainability, leading the Sustainability Coalition, and by serving as the Director of Sustainability for his Student Association.
As an immigrant to this country and a person of color, Dave remembers hardships he and his mother faced with transportation, equity, and accessibility. These experiences led him to center empathy and equity in all he does. Since completing school Dave realizes more than ever that life is a classroom. As he works with Our Streets Minneapolis, Dave hopes to bring new perspectives and connections to the table while learning from those around him to make our community better for everyone.
Drew Halunen, Vice President
Drew’s love of public transit began in Milwaukee as an undergraduate. Living in a “big city” for the first time, he would spend holiday breaks freshman year learning the city’s bus routes—often with no destination in mind, simply to explore his new city. Upon graduation, he moved to Washington, DC, where he relied on walking, busing and rail transit for all of his needs.
Since moving to Minneapolis and becoming a proud Northeasterner, Drew has been an advocate for pedestrian-friendly developments throughout NE Minneapolis. He works to bring his appreciation for safe, reliable multimodal transit and infrastructure into public conversations about the future of the city, county, and state. He sees his service on the Our Streets Board as an opportunity to continue building on this work—making Minneapolis a safer place for all residents choosing to bike, walk, or roll.
Elissa Y. Schufman, Treasurer
Elissa is a multimodal commuter and Midtown Phillips resident who loves exploring her community on foot, bike, bus, and train. When Elissa shifted the way she got around, it changed the way she related to her body and her community. As an abolitionist, year-round bicyclist, and person who has been injured by a driver while on her bike, she cares deeply about making Minneapolis a better place for people walking, rolling, and bicycling.
Elissa brings a decade of experience in the nonprofit sector to her service on the board, and also serves on the City of Minneapolis Bicycle Advisory Committee. Outside of transportation work, she loves to ferment, play tabletop RPGs, and write speculative fiction. Elissa reads about 100 books each year and is always looking for recommendations!
Joe Mitchell, Secretary
Joe loves getting around Minneapolis by bicycle, foot, or transit. He spends a lot of time thinking about government power, and how that power is used and misused in the name of making our communities safer. Joe wants our community to build power for better infrastructure for people, for mitigating climate collapse, and against ineffective, punitive, discriminatory enforcement strategies. Joe lives on the West Bank and works downtown.
Pronoun flexible (they/she/he/???)
Julia is car free for life. They first made the decision to not get their license as a teen afraid of climate breakdown, angry at racial inequality in housing/transportation, and unwilling to take on the moral responsibility of an object that kills and injures so many people. Julia affirms this commitment every time they walk, bike, and take transit.
Julia’s transportation experiences include being a car-free caretaker for an elderly loved one, bike commuting in college, moving apartments by foot, and walking on the coldest days of winter. They love how walking, biking, using wheelchairs, and taking transit are all deeply human experiences that build community and coster contentedness. Julia serves on the Our Streets Minneapolis board because they’re excited for the just and sustainable future we must rapidly create together. Their background is in urban and environmental geography, user-focused systems, and graphic design.
As a new board member in 2021, Kenny is excited to be part of Our Streets work to achieve its overarching vision to improve people's lives by embedding equity and justice into the transportation system. Indeed, from his work as a consultant with WSP-USA on emerging transportation policy issues, Kenny knows that the choices we make every day in how we design our transportation system affects whether we improve economic opportunity for everyone, reduce air pollution and the effects of climate change in all of our neighborhoods, and simply enjoy our time outside regardless of why we've ventured from our home.
Living in Minneapolis since 2019, What Kenny most enjoys about the city is how easy it is to find a local restaurant where he can try delicious new foods or a local grocery store where he can buy quality ingredients for whichever pastry project he is starting next.
Nina Clark has worked for over twenty-five years in cultural organizations, which has led her to her position today as a program officer making grants to arts and cultural organizations. Her professional interests lie in artist collaboration, community engagement, organizational development, and dynamic public offerings. She is passionate about the possibilities around marrying community needs, broad social issues, and cultural offerings.
Nina has a Bachelor of Arts in history from Macalester College, and her masters of professional studies in arts and cultural leadership at the University of Minnesota. She was a founding board member of the Cycling Museum of Minnesota and has volunteered with several other Minnesota nonprofits. During her free time, the weather usually decides for her whether she’ll be on her bike or at her sewing machine.
Saumya has been an advocate for active transportation and VMT reduction for a while now. At her day job at State Smart Transportation Initiative, she helps state DOTs and local governments make greener mobility investments. Saumya holds a degree in Master of Urban Planning from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and comes to Our Streets Minneapolis with a diverse background in transportation planning and community engagement.
Two years back, Saumya made the decision of selling her car and relying completely on non-auto modes of travel. In her six years of stay in the US, she has lived in four different Midwestern cities and loves to explore them on foot and through their transit network. She finally moved to Minneapolis in early 2020 and hopes to call it home for the foreseeable future. She believes that being able to work towards improving active traveling in Minneapolis, isn’t just part of her professional goals, but would be extremely fulfilling personally.
The Board meets on the first Tuesday of every other month at 6:00pm. If you are interested in more information about the Board, contact us at [email protected]