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Avivo participants work with Our Streets Minneapolis for safer streets

Avivo program participants in Minneapolis have a strong voice to advocate for safer streets, thanks to a partnership between Avivo and Our Streets Minneapolis.

“The vision of Our Streets is to make Minneapolis safer for biking, walking, and rolling,” Kirsten, a volunteer with Our Streets, told Avivo participants at a recent gathering. “We’re here to get your vision.”

“The vision of Our Streets is to make Minneapolis safer for biking, walking, and rolling,” Kirsten, a volunteer with Our Streets, told Avivo participants at a recent gathering. “We’re here to get your vision.”

Our Streets volunteers met with Avivo program participants living in the Lydia Apartments on Lasalle Avenue, seeking ideas for a safe bikeway as part of their Downtown Bikeways Work Group. Lydia is home to roughly 40 individuals living with mental illness, and Lasalle Avenue to Blaisdell Avenue is a priority bikeway for the working group. It is also part of Minneapolis’ Bikeway Master Plan.

Participants in the Avivo and Our Streets event placed an object in a jar to indicate their most common mode of transportation.

Lasalle cuts through north to south through Loring Park, one of Minneapolis’ most-dense neighborhoods. On a daily basis there are large quantities of car, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic, which make finding a solution difficult. Enter a group volunteers from Our Streets, who collaborated with Avivo staff to create an inclusive event to draw out innovative ideas.

Amber Phelps, case manager at Avivo, helped find residents who wanted to share their ideas at the event. She has an office at the Lydia Apartments and says she sees the danger on Lasalle daily. “When the whole street’s backed up, I worry about people walking or biking.”

“This is the most dangerous stretch of road around… right outside. We see that every day.”

Residents at Lydia say there are a number of issues preventing a solution on Lasalle. Those include a lack of parking, heavy traffic load, and lack of space for creative solutions.

Over a lunch-time gathering, Avivo program participants and staff did their best to tackle those issues. These were some thoughts from the conversation:

“This is the most dangerous stretch of road around… right outside. We see that every day.”

“We cross Lasalle frequently. There are a lot of events across the street.”

“They should eliminate parking spots near driveways and streets that create blind spots.”

“People exiting homelessness don’t just leave homeless culture behind. Having material things like a vehicle or a bicycle is really important for them.”

“I pretty much hold my breath all the way to Lake Street.”

After a pizza lunch and conversation, participants were encouraged to draw, color, or write their ideas. Our Streets plans to conduct more events to gather additional ideas, and then submit the ideas to Minneapolis Public Works and the Minneapolis City Council.

Find out more about how you can volunteer with Our Streets or their Downtown Bikeways Work Group.