Walk the Talk: Survey Sifting, Canvassing and Mapping Olson Memorial

Editor’s noteWalk the Talk is Streets.mn’s carefully curated, highly partisan collection of both serious and fun-loving events, community meetings and opportunities for engagement that we think will interest our readers. Email your ideas to Hawken Habig, one of our daily editors, at hawkenhabig@gmail.com.

2024 Minnesota Bike Walk Summit on Capitol Hill — Thursday, March 18

The annual 2024 Minnesota Bike/Walk Summit returns for a day of advocacy at Minnesota’s Capitol on Thursday, March 14. The summit offers participants the opportunity to meet with state legislators to discuss the future of bicycling and multimodal transportation in Minnesota. The event will include a light breakfast and lunch, plus a series of speakers in the morning and an after-party in the evening. Registration is required (minimum $25). Be sure to register before March 1 in order to guarantee an opportunity to meet with your senator or representative. More comprehensive information on the summit may be found here.

Purple Line Update — Plus a Canvassing Opportunity

Potential lane configuration for the Purple Line along part of its White Bear Avenue alignment. Courtesy of Metro Transit.

The Purple Line of the northeast metro has had its fair share of trials and tribulations. After the White Bear Lake City Council chose to opt their community out of the bus rapid transit alignment, the project struggled to retain financial viability for a dedicated busway along the Bruce Vento Trail. In response to this, and after years of pushback from neighbors who don’t want BRT on the trail, Metro Transit has been conducting a Route Modification Study to explore the possibility of an alignment along White Bear Avenue with dedicated bus lanes (final configuration pending). Public engagement for the project is alive and well, and so I encourage utilizing Metro Transit’s online map to provide comment on the southern half of the project — and keep an eye on the multitude of public meetings for the project. The next is on March 20 at Maplewood YMCA Community Center.

Additionally: If you want to support the White Bear Avenue alignment in earnest, consider joining Move Minnesota in canvassing to garner public support on Tuesday, February 27 at 6 p.m. outside of Downtown St. Paul’s Landmark Center, where organizers hope to engage with Minnesota Wild hockey fans. This accompanies an online petition supporting the Purple Line along White Bear Avenue. Find more information about it here!

Mapping Prejudice on Old 6th Ave North — Saturday, February 24, 2–3 p.m.

Development is currently underway by MnDOT in what could be a transformational, multimodal overhaul of Olson Memorial Highway in North Minneapolis. The dangerous and divisive corridor is in desperate need of change — and what better way to guide that change than to reflect on the harmful practices that led to the highway’s development? On that note, Our Streets Minneapolis and Mapping Prejudice are teaming up to explore how racist housing and transportation policies influenced the development of the highway, and why that history necessitates transforming the highway and bringing back safety and accessibility. The presentation will take place on February 24, 2 p.m., at the Best Buy Teen Tech Center at Summit Academy OIC adjacent to the corridor. More information on the event can be found here!

And while you’re at it, check out MnDOT’s current project timeline for the highway. The agency will also be presenting on options for the corridor at a Policy Advisory Committee meeting via Zoom on March 5.

I-94 Survey Sifting Party — Saturday, February 24, 10 a.m.

You may recall in previous versions of this series my incessant badgering to fill out surveys related to the Rethinking I-94 project. Well, now MnDOT has wrapped up its round of surveying and passed the data on to Our Streets Minneapolis, which will be sorting and analyzing the data to make it publicly accessible and presentable. That’s where you come in: Our Streets is looking for some helping hands to sort through the more than 3,000 survey results at a Survey Sorting Party on February 24 at noon! Participants will be prepped with a brief training before moving on to the reviewing, with plenty of fun and food along the way (bring a laptop or tablet if you have one). The event will be on the University of Minnesota’s East Bank (exact location will be emailed once you sign up). RSVP here!

Night of Ideas: Social Activism in Architecture — Friday, February 23, 6–8 p.m.

Here is an unconventional opportunity! Night of Ideas is a series of national late-night discussions tackling major global issues, with this year’s overarching focus on urban issues. The local chapter of a French cultural organization, Alliance Française Mpls/St. Paul, will be hosting one of these events the evening of February 23 at their building in North Minneapolis for a discussion about urban development, architecture, climate change and other topics concerning the contemporary evolution of cities, featuring guest speakers from the East Phillips Neighborhood Institute and MSR Design. The event is free with no registration required, but donations are, of course, encouraged! You can learn more about the event and the organizations involved here.

About Hawken Habig

Hawken is a student of Urban Studies at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and a copy editor at Streets.mn. He also composes Streets.mn's bi-weekly event listing "Walk the Talk;" email any ideas for events or opportunities to hawkenhabig@gmail.com!