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!

 

Staff

 

Ashwat Narayanan

Ashwat Narayanan, Executive Director
Pronouns: he/him
ash@ourstreetsmpls.org 

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.


 

  Cindy at Open Streets West Broadway
  Photo by Will Elsas

Cindy Vue, Community Engagement Director
Pronouns: she/her
cindy@ourstreetsmpls.org | 651-447-8696

Cindy has a passion in bringing resources about health and wellness to under-served communities. She has over 11 years of experience working with diverse populations doing direct services across the Twin Cities. Cindy’s favorite thing about bicycling is being able to slow her life down and connect with her community and the earth. In her spare time she loves to cook, continue her yoga practice, and teach others about being more conscious about environmental impact.

Cindy is excited to utilize this space and position to bring awareness about not only seeing bicycling used recreationally, but as a part of life and its huge contribution to overall mental health and physical health stability.


 

Emily Wade
Photo by Rhea Pappas

Emily Wade, Development & Communications Director
Pronouns: she, her, hers
ewade@ourstreetsmpls.org | 612-758-0203 

Emily joined Our Streets Minneapolis in December 2017 after serving in fundraising and communications roles at nonprofits doing work in mental health, housing, reproductive justice, and active transportation. She is passionate about connecting people to movements that excite them. 

Growing up, Emily walked everywhere in her small hometown in Ohio. She fell for biking after learning to ride a bike as an adult in the Twin Cities. Since then, Emily's bikes took her on many adventures including racing at the National Sports Center Velodrome in Blaine, serving on the Minneapolis Bicycle Advisory Committee, and commuting to and from all corners of Minneapolis. Her favorite thing about biking and walking in the city is seeing friends' faces crossing her path. Emily is excited to work toward a Minneapolis where more and more people feel comfortable experiencing our city by biking, walking, and rolling. 


 

Karlie Cole

Karlie Cole, Web, Data and Systems Manager
Pronouns: they, them, theirs / she, her, hers
karlie@ourstreetsmpls.org 

Karlie joined Our Streets Minneapolis (formerly the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition) in December 2013. She loves using her tech skills to support people to connect in their neighborhoods through Open Streets as well as helping to make our streets better and safer for pedestrians and people on bikes.

She has over 15 years of international, national and local web design, development and training experience. Her B.A. in Sustainable Community Development was one of the first in the nation completed via distance learning through Prescott College.

Her advocacy work on local food and environmental issues continues including building web tools and data visualizations that support awareness and taking action. She makes most of her family's food from scratch and is working with others to eliminate pesticide use in our parks.


 

Nick Ray Olson

Nick Ray Olson, Event & Program Director
Pronouns: he, him, his
nickray@ourstreetsmpls.org | 612-758-0722

Intermittently riding with Our Streets Minneapolis (formerly the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition) for four years now, Nick Ray went pro just in time for the 2016 season. Previously, he was tackling bicycle and pedestrian initiatives with the City of Minneapolis.Performance enhancers of choice include fresh, colorful food, mid-ride reading breaks and handlebar baskets.


 

Board of Directors

 

Abigail Johnson
Pronouns: she/her

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 and volunteers for Feet First Minneapolis.


Dave Herrera
Pronouns: he/him

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.


Elissa Y. Schufman
Pronouns: she/her/hers

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 relates to her body and her community. As an abolitionist, year-round bicyclist, and person who has been injured by a driver while on my 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, as well as a passion for climate action, racial justice, and accessible communities. Outside of transportation work, she loves to cook, play tabletop RPGs, and journal. Elissa reads about 100 books each year & is always looking for recommendations!


Jessica Blair
Pronouns: she/her

Jessica brings her passion for pedestrian safety and 18 years of fundraising experience to Our Streets Minneapolis, where she hopes to help the organization grow a culture of support for travelers using non-vehicular modes of transportation throughout the Twin Cities. As a former resident of San Francisco, CA and Stockholm, Sweden, Jessica was surprised by the prominence given to cars on the road when she first moved to Minneapolis. Jessica works for The Nature Conservancy and also serves on the board of directors of the SUNY Geneseo Foundation, her alma mater in upstate NY.


Joe Mitchell
Pronouns: he/him

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.


Julia Curran
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.


Maria Wardoku
Pronouns: she, her, hers

Maria joined the Our Streets Minneapolis board to grow the power of community members to advocate collectively for the kind of infrastructure that makes our city an easy place to bike and walk, and a more fun place to live. She especially hopes to make our streets safer for women and people who are targets of street harassment and police harassment and violence. 

As a transportation planner at Alta Planning + Design, Maria works in communities across the country to transform streets into joyful places of safety and connection that welcome people on foot and on bikes. She is a Longfellow resident and enjoys biking and walking to the Midtown Farmer’s Market, Riverview Theater, East Lake Library, and local restaurants.


Mary Blitzer
Pronouns: she/her

Mary joined the Our Streets Board in 2020. Professionally, she works at Sierra Club, North Star Chapter as the Engagement Manager since December 2017. She is passionate about connecting people across different backgrounds to improve human and natural communities. In her role with the Sierra Club, she works to strengthen and empower Chapter volunteers and members.   

She holds a masters degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Minnesota - Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. 

Mary’s professional experience ranges from advocacy and nonprofit management in Texas to working as a Park Ranger with the National Park Service in Minnesota. In Texas, Mary served as Advocacy Director for BikeHouston and is proud to have lead the creation and adoption of Houston’s first bicycle master plan in over 20 years.

In Minnesota, Mary managed a partnership program which annually brought over 10,000 urban youth onto the Mississippi River in the Twin Cities. Mary also brings volunteer leadership experience from the National Parks Conservation Association, the YMCA, and the Girls Empowerment Network.


Natela Jordan
Pronouns: she/her

As someone who has lived, worked, and studied in vibrant urban communities around the globe, Natela is excited to join the Our Streets Minneapolis board to help realize its vision of such a community here. She moved to Minneapolis in 2005 and began exploring the city by bike with her husband. Now Natela continues this tradition with her two daughters. 

Natela hopes to bring her passion for equity and the common good to the organization, along with her background in public affairs and human rights. With these skills, she wants to create a healthier and more equitable place where everyone has access to safe, fun, and practical ways of getting around. Natela lives in South Uptown and spends many happy moments by Bde Maka Ska, Lake Harriet, and in her own small garden.


Olivia St. Martin, President
Pronouns: she/her

While growing up in Minneapolis, Olivia got around primarily on foot and by taking transit. As an adult she discovered the joy and freedom of traveling by bike. Olivia believes that moving through Minneapolis in these ways helped her develop a connection and intimacy with the city that wouldn’t have been possible in a car. 

Olivia is passionate about making life better for all citizens and is excited to work for changes that empower and enrich our communities, as well as protect our environment. She hopes to use her background in child development and education to connect with children and their families to create a future full of passionate bikers, walkers, and rollers.


Scott Engel, Vice President 
Pronouns: he/him


 

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 info@ourstreetsmpls.org.

 

 

 


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