By JAY CLARK
MINNEAPOLIS (May 22, 2014) — To learn more about the possible impact of the proposed North Minneapolis Bikeway, a group presented the idea to some North Minneapolis Hmong families living on proposed bikeway routes.
The tour’s first stop was the Milwaukee Ave. full greenway. They scouted the corner parking lots used by Milwaukee Ave. residents. Hmong families said they thought Milwaukee ave. was pretty, quiet, and safe: but they did not like that there was no parking in front of houses, and said that the distance was too far between the parking lot and houses.
One participant mentioned that Hmong families often have religious ceremonies and other gatherings where 50 or more people come to visit, and saw no place on Milwaukee Ave. to accommodate their cars. A mom also wondered how children would be dropped off and picked up at her daycare. Another participant wondered how moms with several young children would manage hiking between their houses and the corner parking lot several times a day.
Next the families headed over to the Midtown full Greenway at 12th Ave. S. They waved at bikers going under the bridge, then evaluated the bikeway. The Hmong liked that the greenway was quiet, and separated from houses. Hmong families did not like that full greenways have no space for cars, that nobody can see you, and said there could be safety Issues. They also said that this below street level greenway was not practical on their residential streets.
Their next stop was the Bryant Ave. bike boulevard at Lyndale Park. The Hmong liked that there is parking, and room both for bikes and for parked cars. However Hmong families felt that the street decals and signage were confusing.
The final stop of the tour was the bikeway half and half at 37th Ave. N. and Logan. They liked that half the space could be used for cars, did not like that there was no parking, they also thought the garden was ugly.
Following the tour, the participants met in the nearby back yard of one of the families, discussed what they saw, and voted on what they wanted for their streets. Ten voted to keep their street the way it is, one said he wanted a bike boulevard, one said he wanted a half and half, and nobody voted for the full greenway.
When asked if they would they want their houses bought out with moving expenses paid for, if the full greenway was built and they lost their parking and street, everybody on the tour voted yes.
After reviewing their votes, some tour participants said that Hmong kids when riding their bikes have been ambushed by other youth, knocked off their bikes, had their bikes stolen out from under them, and worried the bikeway could increase strong arm bike thefts.