By JAY CLARK
AAP contributing writer
MINNEAPOLIS (Oct. 8, 2015) — Hmong resident living on the Irving/Humboldt route of the proposed North Minneapolis Greenway met with 5th Ward Minneapolis City Council Member Blong Yang at Hmong International Academy on Oct. 8.
The meeting, according to organizers, was to emphasize to Yang that the residents want their street to stay as it is, and that they feel their voices have not been heard or sought out on the issue.
The top concern was losing their street parking. They said that many Hmong households have a lot of family members and several cars, and need to be able to park their cars on the street in front of their house. They cannot fit all their cars in the garage.
They worried that if their cars were parked a distance away they would be more vulnerable to car break-ins and cars being stolen. In addition, they worried that having to walk a significant distance between car and house would make family members more vulnerable to holdups and assaults, especially at night. They also worried that the distances could be difficult for small children and the elderly.
Several Hmong families also said that they frequently have gatherings and religious ceremonies with 50 or 60 guests, and the with the greenway they won’t have parking on their block to accommodate their guests
Several Hmong youth living on the route also participated in the meeting. When asked if they had bikes stolen, most put up their hands. Several also said that they had been pushed off their bikes and had their bikes pulled out from under them. During the door-to-door surveying, many of the families listed bike safety as a major concern, and many families said their children do not ride their bikes around the neighborhood for fear of being jumped.
The meeting was a follow-up to a summer survey of Hmong families living on the Irving-Humboldt proposed greenway route by John Yang
Between June and Augsut John Yang went out every week door-to-door to survey Hmong families living on the proposed Irving/Humboldt greeway route. John Is a student at the University of Minnesota, and his family lives along the Logan Ave. greenway option.
By the end of August, he had surveyed 20 Hmong families living along the Irving route. and asked their opinions on the proposed North Minneapolis Greenway. (This is in addition to 20 Hmong families living on all three proposed routes surveyed in the Spring of 2014) Below are the survey questions and the responses of the families.:
Have you heard of the proposed bikeway/greenway?
YES: 5 (25 percent)
NO: 15 (75 percent)
Did you know that your street is being proposed for the bikeway/greenway?
YES: 2 (10 percent)
NO: 18 (90 percent)
Here are four options which do you like (pictures of options shown)
KEEP AS IS: 12
BIKE BOULEVARD: 4
HALF AND HALF: 1
FULL GREENWAY: 1
(One house chose three options: at another house multiple people answered and gave different responses)
Have you been asked your opinion before about the bikeway/greenway?
YES: 2 (10 percent)
NO: 18 (90 percent)
After the surveying was completed, John went back to the families to report on the results of the survey and to invite them to meet with Council Member Yang.
At the meeting, Hmong families asked councilmember Yang many questions about the proposed greenway.
At the end of the meeting, councilmember Yang asked how many of the Hmong had, before John Yang came to their door, been surveyed about the greenway. No hands went up.
Also At the end of the meeting a poll as taken of the people present about which bikeway option they preferred. Keep street as is: 28 hands went up. Bike boulevard: 0 votes: half-and-half: 0 votes: full greenway: 0 votes.
During outreach several families also said that if the full Greenway is built and they lose their parking and their street, then they want the option of having their houses bought out with moving expenses paid for by the city.