Open Streets, times four

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May 9, 2013
By: Dylan Thomas
A scene from the 2012 Open Streets event on Lyndale.
Dylan Thomas

Every corner of the city is scheduled to get a taste of Open Streets Minneapolis this summer.

There are four Open Streets Minneapolis events planned from June to September, one for each quadrant of the city. For each, a major neighborhood thoroughfare will be temporarily closed to traffic so that the street can be used for bicycling, walking, skating and other non-motorized activities.

A citizens group, Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition, organized the first Open Streets Minneapolis event in June 2011. An estimated 5,000 people showed up when 20 blocks of Lyndale Avenue South were closed to cars for a few hours.

Attendance doubled to an estimated 10,000 people in 2012. And 5,000 more turned out for a second event last year on North Lowry Avenue.

This year’s expansion of Open Streets Minneapolis comes through a new partnership with the City of Minneapolis, which this winter was one of 10 cities across the country awarded a $50,000 Play Streets Grant from Partnership for a Healthier America and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

Colin Harris of the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition said organizers are planning to work with the idea of “play streets” and design more activities to complement this summer’s Open Streets Minneapolis events.

“We’re trying to think of ways to turn the streets into a playground of sorts,” Harris said.

The third annual Open Streets Minneapolis on Lyndale Avenue South kicks off the series June 23. Then it’s on to Central Avenue in Northeast on July 28, Minnehaha Avenue in South on Aug. 11 and North Lowry Avenue in North on Sept. 21, a date that coincides the annual Harvest Fest.

For more information, go to openstreetsmpls.com

Community garden grants available

Grants of up to $500 are available to community gardens in some Southwest neighborhoods.

Minneapolis-based nonprofit Gardening Matters is offering up to 10 of the “minigrants” to community gardens located in Elliot Park, Loring Park, Lowry Hill, Phillips, Powderhorn and the Southwest neighborhoods of East Isles, the Wedge and Whittier. Funding for the grants came from donations to The Wedge Co-op’s Green Patch Program and money raised during the annual Powderhorn Empty Bowls event.

To be eligible, community gardens must participate in Gardening Matters’ Local Food Resource Hub program or register with the nonprofit by completing an online survey at gardeningmatters.org.

The grants are competitive, and Gardening Matters reports priority will be given to those applicants who will use the money to complete a project or take care of a clear need in their community garden. Gardens that are members of the Local Food Resource Hub network and those that serve low-income community members will also be given preference.

Applications are due by May 15. Go to gardeningmatters.org to download an application. 

Second open house on Lake Harriet waters

If you missed last month’s open house on Lake Harriet water quality, there’s a second chance to learn about a recent study and give input on management plans for the lake.

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is hosting a second open house this month to share results of the Lake Harriet Water Quality Diagnostic Study. The discussion will also cover strategies for protecting and improving the lake’s water quality.

Lake Harriet is not on the state’s list of impaired waters, but like many urban lakes it handles a significant amount of storm water runoff. Storm water carries phosphorous, which contributes to summer algae blooms.

The $55,000 water quality study was funded with grant from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. The Park Board provided matching funds for the study.

The open house is 7 p.m.–8:30 p.m. May 16 at Lynnhurst Recreation Center, 1345 W. Minnehaha Parkway.

One-sort rollout continues

Still waiting on your new recycling bin? Chances are you won’t be for long.

The city reports it is on track to finish its rollout of one-sort recycling by mid-June. As soon as residents receive their new, 95-gallon recycling carts, they are no longer required to sort recyclables into separate bags of paper, glass, plastic and so on. All recyclables go into the same one-sort cart.

Some in Southwest got the new carts last fall, before the changeover to one-sort paused for the winter. It started up again in April, and most Southwest residents are scheduled to get their new bins in either late May or early June.

Go to minneapolismn.gov/solid-waste/recycling and click on the link to “One Sort Map” for more information.