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New name and new route for East Lake Open Streets July 23

Posted on 27 June 2017 by calvin

Lake + Minnehaha Open Streets 04By MARGIE O’LOUGHLIN
Open Streets Minneapolis is a summer-long series of festivals taking place all across the city on different weekends. An initiative of Our Streets Minneapolis (formerly the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition), it’s being presented by the Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota and co-sponsored by the City of Minneapolis.

The East Lake Open Streets has been renamed and rerouted this year. Redubbed the “Lake + Minnehaha Open Streets,” the festival will begin at Lake St. and Elliot Ave., continue east to Minnehaha Ave., and meander toward Minnehaha Falls on Sun., July 23 from 11am to 5pm.
Why the change? Ales Tsatsoulis, communications manager for Our Streets Minneapolis, said, “After a successful event last year, we reached out to neighborhood stakeholders asking what they wanted to do going forward. There was a lot of interest in highlighting the great businesses, road reconstruction, and many improvements along Minnehaha Ave. It wasn’t feasible to do two events so close together, so we decided to combine the two streets into one event.”

“Minnehaha Ave. was part of the East Lake Open Streets experience back in 2013,” Tsatsoulis continued. “It’s great to be coming back to a street that’s been reimagined and is now so much friendlier to bikers, pedestrians, and motorists. Many of the improvements that came out of the last two summers of construction were discussed at the Open Streets three years ago. Open Streets events are more than just a chance to come out and have fun for a day. We believe that people want to be able to shape the communities they live in. These celebrations are a chance to add your voice to the collective voice that makes change happen.”

Many of the details of participating businesses and non-profits have yet to be worked out. A full schedule will be available closer to the event date at www.ourstreets.org. In the meantime, a few teasers include the following:

First-time participant Minnehaha Lake Liquor (2613 E. Lake St.) will be partnering with Gandhi Mahal to offer Indian food and all manner of drinks in their parking lot. Jason Krause, a member of the family that has owned Minnehaha Lake Liquor for three generations, said, “We also have a cool vintage bicycle that we plan to auction off to benefit a local charity.”

The HUB Bicycle Co-op across the street (3020 Minnehaha Ave.) will be displaying 3-4 models of e-bikes on their newly created front lawn, one of the many improvements of the Minnehaha Ave. reconstruction. “We see this as a good chance to explain e-bikes to the public,” Chelsea Strate, HUB marketing coordinator and worker-owner, said. “These are an interesting new option for people who either have a very long commute or for whom fitness is an issue. The battery-assisted bikes make it possible for cyclists to go faster and farther than they might under their own steam. And because they’re battery powered, they don’t contribute to emissions as motorcycles do.”

Further down the road, Peace Coffee (3262 Minnehaha Ave.) will be serving root beer and cold press floats all afternoon.

Near Minnehaha Communion Church (4101 37th Ave. S.), hip-hop artist AGAPE will have performances starting at 1pm. AGAPE, also known as Dave Scherer, has inspired listeners from Bosnia to Brooklyn with his outreach ministry. Combining rap, dance, and storytelling in English and Spanish, AGAPE connects with audiences in a big way. His hip-hop ministry includes the hard work of addressing social injustice. The well-established recording artist has ten albums to his credit and a recently published book.

The fruit trees of the nearby Adams Grove Orchard will be setting fruit by late July, and are well worth stopping to admire.

Tsatsoulis concluded, saying, “Our Streets Minneapolis will have a pop-up protected bikeway and bump-out somewhere along the route. We’ll have staff people on hand to talk about bicycle and pedestrian safety, and to gather people’s comments about ways to improve their neighborhood. Lake + Minnehaha Open Streets is a chance to promote healthy living, local business, sustainable transportation, and civic pride in South Minneapolis. We’ll be creating safe, car-free streets so that residents of all ages can walk, bike, shop, eat, participate in play activities, and get to know one another.”

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