Open Streets Minneapolis expands to six events this summer

For the fourth year in a row, Open Streets Minneapolis is expanding. This summer there will be six events in neighborhoods throughout the city. During an Open Streets event, a significant length of a busy street is closed to automobile traffic for four to six hours to allow families and neighbors to walk, bike, skate, have fun and shop in a safe, car-free environment.

Open Streets events are designed to help promote environmentally friendly transportation choices such as walking, bicycling and mass transit. They also help promote good public health by encouraging active, healthy lifestyles. 

“Open Streets is not only here to stay, it has become a living, breathing part of summer in Minneapolis,” says Colin Harris of the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition, which is helping to oversee this year’s six events. “When we organized the first event in 2011, people asked, ‘what is Open Streets?’ Now, residents throughout the city are asking, ‘can you please hold an Open Streets event in my neighborhood?’ The transition has been monumental.”

The first Open Streets event in Minneapolis was held in 2011 on Lyndale Avenue South and drew more than 5,000 participants. The following year, events were held on South Lyndale and on North Lowry Avenue in conjunction with Harvest Fest. Last year, Open Streets expanded to include events on Lyndale Avenue South, Central Avenue Northeast, Minnehaha Avenue and Lowry Avenue North.

This year’s Open Streets Minneapolis events will take place from May through September at the following locations:

The season’s kickoff event will be the North Minneapolis Greenway Experience, where participants can also learn about the proposal to create a north Minneapolis greenway that would provide a safe, accessible route for bicyclists and pedestrians. More information on the North Minneapolis Greenway project can be found at www.minneapolismn.gov/health/living/northminneapolisgreenway.

Open Streets Minneapolis events are now officially sanctioned by the City of Minneapolis. The Minneapolis City Council authorized the Department of Public Works and Police Department to provide in-kind services for the events.

Open Streets Minneapolis has a number of financial sponsors including the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition, the Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, City of Minneapolis, Metro Transit, 89.3 The Current, car2go Minneapolis and Peace Coffee.

For more information on this year’s events, visit the Open Streets website at www.openstreetsmpls.com. To learn more about bicycling in Minneapolis, visit the City’s bicycling website at www.minneapolismn.gov/bicycles.

Published Apr 30, 2014