Last month’s Bike Walk Leadership Network webinar featured the movers and shakers who put on beloved events across Minneapolis, Bike, Walk, Roll & Stroll to Open Streets. The webinar also spotlighted West Broadway Open Streets, Open Streets West Broadway Celebrates Community, Culture & Creativity! We learned so much from our panelists, we encourage you to check out the highlights below and watch the full replay available on YouTube.
Haley Foydel – Our Streets Minneapolis
Haley Foydel supports business operations and fundraising for Our Streets Minneapolis as well as volunteer and sponsorship coordination for the Open Streets Minneapolis event series. Haley began her presentation by sharing a brief history and overview of Open Streets events.
Open Streets Minneapolis drew inspiration from ciclovia, or cycleway, which originated in 1974 in Colombia when roads were temporarily closed to encourage biking and walking. Ciclovia has a rich history that continues today, opening streets to people worldwide in cities and towns big and small, including right here in Minneapolis. Over the summer and fall, Lyndale, Franklin, East Lake, West Broadway, and Minnehaha are closed to cars and opened for people to come together and enjoy their streets and neighborhoods in new ways.
After the first Open Streets event in 2011, there have been 54 events drawing 575,000 attendees. Each Open Streets event takes months of planning and coordination. Our Streets and local partners work with local businesses, nonprofits, community organizations, vendors, artists, and others to bring open streets to life each year in Minneapolis. Today, Open Streets has expanded to include more events and more neighborhoods.
“When thinking about local involvement, community engagement is one thing we really prioritize. We have lots of different ways people can participate, from nonprofits and local businesses to local leaders championing causes, to artisan vendors, performers, and artists. We leave [each Open Streets event] very open to anyone, which makes it really exciting! We try to make the route as open, engaging, and active as possible while keeping it kid-friendly and welcoming for everyone.”
Shemeka Bogan – Project Manager for Open Streets West Broadway
Shemeka Bogan serves as the Project Manager for Open Streets West Broadway. Shemeka has supported coordinating West Broadway Open Streets since 2016. West Broadway is a thriving and diverse community rich in culture in Minneapolis, and ensuring Open Streets reflects this diversity is a crucial part of a successful event. Shemeka shared that a 17-block range allows people to walk and roll on bikes or scooters, and helps show off the range of businesses, local artists, and landmarks. Shemeka, and the West Broadway Business and Area Coalition, aim to fill the street primarily with businesses, organizations, and people who live and work within five blocks of each route.
“Community engagement for the West Broadway event especially is extremely important with reaching out to local businesses and community organizations that serve people along the corridor. Inviting them to come out and be creative and work alongside the community and different artists and musicians. It really helps connect people.”
West Broadway’s Open Streets event is more than a festival, Shemeka shared, it allows neighbors to experience their local streets as public spaces where communities thrive.
After both speakers shared their insights, attendees had time for a Q&A with both panelists, Haley and Shemeka. In closing remarks, Leadership Network host and BikeMN staff Natalie Gille shared information about upcoming grants and opportunities that communities can apply for. Natalie also shared Bike Month events throughout May. Did you know BikeMN has a calendar full of fun events and rides across Minnesota? You can even add your own event and spread the word.
We hope you enjoyed this brief recap of the May Bike Walk Leadership Network Webinar. If you missed it, don’t worry! You can watch the full webinar on BikeMN’s YouTube channel here. The Bike Walk Leadership Network meets every third Wednesday around the lunch hour (11:30 am) via Zoom with the purpose of connecting local leaders to share stories and ideas on how they are lifting the walking and bing culture in their communities.
If you haven’t already signed up for the group, we want you to come along for the ride! Learn more about the Bike Walk Leadership Network and sign up for the group here.
Join us for this month’s webinar on June 15th, where we’ll spotlight Mankato, Minnesota, and its events, programs, and initiatives during Bike Month in May. We’re excited to learn from local changemakers and advocates about hosting fun, timely, and engaging events that make our communities fun places to live, learn, work, and play.