It’s Open Streets season

The Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition is preparing to launch its sixth season of Open Streets Minneapolis on Lyndale Avenue in June.

The first of eight 2016 Open Streets events runs 11 a.m.–5 p.m. June 5 on Lyndale Avenue. That means six hours of zero automobile traffic on 20 blocks of a main Southwest Minneapolis thoroughfare.

The whole idea behind Open Streets is to get cars out of the way so communities can come together — by bicycling, walking, skating, playing or just hanging out, all in the street. After several years of expanding the number of Open Streets events, the coalition is now focusing on building stronger connections with the communities that host them, Ethan Fawley, the coalition’s executive director.

“We’re going to be doing more with each event is the hope,” Fawley said.

About 100 different groups and businesses plan to contribute programming to Lyndale Open Streets, an event that can draw 25,000 people on a day with nice weather. This year, Lyndale Avenue will host two kid zones, a BMX stunt show, a skateboarding contest and several areas of live music. That’s all in addition to the Lyn-Lake Street Festival, an outdoor concert in the Garfield parking lot behind Fuji Ya that is taking place the same day as Open Streets.

Last year, the eight Open Streets events drew 65,000 people, the coalition estimates. The Lake Street event (scheduled this year for July 24) was the most popular.

“It’s continued to grow and grow and grow each year,” Fawley said.

For a full schedule of this year’s Open Streets Minneapolis events, go to openstreetsmpls.org. Click on the “volunteer” tab to find out more about how you can help.