Open Streets comes to Minneapolis

This Sunday, for the last day of Bike Walk Week, Lyndale Avenue will be closed to cars and open for pedestrians, bicyclists, rollerbladers, dancers, unicyclists, and any other non-car movers for a celebration of Open Streets, a family-friendly day of community modeled after the 
Ciclovía from Bogotá, Colombia. The event takes place on Lyndale Avenue South between 22nd and 42nd Streets from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 


Since the 1970s, the city of Bogotá has been a world leader in organizing Ciclovía events and the practice has become widespread in the city. Now each Sunday and holiday all of the main streets in the city are blocked off from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., and are used by 2 million people.  

Inspired by Bogotá's success, other countries around the world have hosted their own ciclovía events. Cities such as Melbourne, Quito, Ecuador, Mexico City, and U.S. cities such as New York, Miami, Portland, El Paso, and others all have hosted their own versions.
The Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition, formed in October of 2009, has been working hard to organize an Open Streets event in addition to advocating work for creating bicycle-friendly improvements around the city. The all-volunteer run coalition hopes to make Minneapolis a better city for bicycling, according to Open Streets Coordinator Colin Harris.  

For the past year and a half, MBC has been working with the city to see if an event like this would be possible to do. "It was a long process," Harris says. They looked at several routes, focusing on busy streets that were at least two miles long. "We were limited by what the city thought would be possible," he says. In the end, they chose Lyndale Avenue because of the adequate detour routes for emergency vehicles.  

The opening ceremony for the event will occur at 10 a.m. at the Midtown Greenway Bridge on Lyndale Avenue and 29th Street. Mayor Rybak and other city officials will speak, followed by a dance party by DJ Strangelove.  

At 10:30 a.m. the Gorilla Yogis will lead an outdoor yoga session at Lyndale and Lake Street, followed by another yoga session at noon by Blooma Yoga at the same location. 

Jon Nielson will be playing by Twin Town Guitars at 11 a.m. followed by Adam Levy at noon, and Brianna Lane at one p.m. French Meadow will have music from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m including Keaton Dronberg, Geoffrey Fischbein, and DJ Yuppie Scum. Roaming throughout the streets will be Cadillac Kolstad and Jack Klatt.

Also, SooVAC will host its Sideshow Soo, with carnival-inspired games where people can rescue stranded unicorns, spear stuffed animal wiener-dogs with antlers, play constrained table tennis, and visit Zoroya, Lady of Mysticism, played by performance artist Jaime Carrera.


Over at 41st and Lyndale by Bethlehem Lutheran Church, the East Harriet Farmstead Neighborhood Association will be hosting a Bike Decorating and Parade event. Kids can get their bikes decorated at 10:30 and then participate in a bike parade at 11 a.m. The church will also host a bike clinic for pumping tires, minor repairs, and sharing information with Tommy T Cyclery of Linden Hills from 10 a.m. to noon as well as music, refreshments, face painting and more.  

There will also be bike mechanics stationed all around Lyndale from Freewheel, Recovery Bikes, and Alt.

"We want to emphasize that it's not a race," says Harris. "People can go at their own speed."  Walkers are encouraged to keep to the right side of the street, while bikers can travel on the left side of the travel lane. "People can move into the situation where they feel most comfortable. We encourage walking as much as biking," Harris says.  

If you live near the Seward area, you can join a community bike ride from the Seward Bike Center at 2310 Snelling Avenue. The group ride, organized by the Sibley Bike Depot and the Seward Bike Center, will gather at 10 a.m. and ride to Lyndale.