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“Certain groups are going to benefit more from those investments,” said Yang, the first Hmong-American to be elected to the City Council. However, a greenway would provide a safer environment for children to play outside, he said.
During a meeting at the Hmong American Mutual Assistance Association on Thursday, parking was by far the largest concern. Other concerns ranged from privacy and whether more lighting would be needed.
‘A community project’
In order for residents to visualize how a full greenway would look on their block, the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition laid sod along Humboldt Avenue N. during an Open Streets event May 31. The demonstration created green space and a narrower path for biking. Volunteers also lined the street to explain how a greenway could revitalize surrounding neighborhoods with public art, parks and community gardens.
The message was that it wasn’t just a “biking” project. “It’s mostly a community project that is as much about green space and what you can do with that space as it is about having a linear biking connection,” said Ethan Fawley, coalition president.
If the proposed greenway is built, it would link the North Side to Minneapolis’ regional bike trails — allowing families access to prized recreation spots.
A direct connection with the greenway would have physical and economic benefits, said Gary Cunningham of the Metropolitan Council, because it would begin to close the gap between the north and the rest of the city. Met Council studies show that the North Side has a disproportionately high number of transit users, low-income families and residents suffering from heart disease.
“We know that ZIP code matters when it comes to health and life expectancy,” he said.
And with the city’s recent uptick in population, some commuters have turned to bicycles for transportation to avoid crowded highways.
On Saturday, Major Taylor Bicycling Club of Minnesota is expected to participate in the annual Twin Cities Juneteenth event while wearing T-shirts supporting the North Side greenway proposal. About 40 percent of the club members live on the North Side.
“Once they understand it, people will feel more comfortable with it,” said Louis J. Moore, president of the primarily black biking group. “There’s always going to be hesitation, especially in the beginning.”
Liz Sawyer • 612-673-4648