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COMMUNITY VOICES | North Minneapolis Hmong Families Question Proposed Bikeway
North Minneapolis Hmong Student Surveys Hmong Families Living on Proposed Bikeway Routes
During the first three weeks of March, North Minneapolis Hmong students interviewed 20 Hmong families about a proposed bike path in North Minneapolis. All 20 families surveyed live on one of the proposed routes
The City of Minneapolis has announced that plans are being developed for a greenway and bike path in north Minneapolis, and has offered three different possible routes. The Hmong families were given maps showing the possible bike routes, and then asked these questions:
- Did you know about the proposed bike path? Answer: 19 out of 20 families said they had not heard of the proposed bike paths. 1 woman said she had heard of the proposed bike path.
- Has anybody asked you your opinion of the proposed bike path? Answer: All twenty families said that nobody had asked them of their opinions of the proposed Bike path
- Based on the map, do you want to see the bike path go in, or keep your street the way it is? Answer: 19 ½ families said that they prefer to keep the street as it is. At one house the younger sister said she wanted the bike path, her older brother said that he wanted to keep the street as is.
Many Hmong families surveyed mentioned losing parking as a top concern. They said that many Hmong households have a lot of family members and several cars, and need to be able to park their cars on the street in front of their house. Several surveyed Hmong families also said that they frequently have gatherings with many guests, and they need the street parking to accommodate their guest’s vehicles. One student surveyor said his family just bought a new car for his sister to get to work, and his family doesn’t have space in the back to put the new car.
Several Hmong families also expressed concerns about safety. Many Hmong families report that their kids have had bikes stolen – that their children go for a bike ride and are ambushed by other youth who push them off their bikes and then ride off with the stolen bikes. Many, many Hmong families in north Minneapolis report having lost bikes this way. Some Hmong families worried that if the bike path is built without improving safety, more people will get jumped and their bikes stolen.
Councilmember Blong Yang listens to concerned Hmong neighbors at house meeting on Irving Ave.
At a recent house meeting with 5th ward councilmember Blong Yang, Hmong neighbors living along proposed routes expressed great concern about how loss of their parking and their street would hurt their families. One family said that they had 12 people and 8 cars at their house, and they could not fit all eight cars into their garage. Another family wondered how they could do pickups and drop-offs for their daycare if their street vanished. A third family said it would be very difficult to transport their elderly grandmother if their street disappeared.
At the house meeting, Hmong families also said that if the bikeway was built and they lose their parking and their street, then they want the option of having their house bought out, with moving expenses paid for.
Proponents of the bike path are planning a major publicity and outreach effort in late May. Hmong families also said that after the publicity campaign, all the families living on the proposed routes need to be surveyed, by people who are neutral.
A map showing the three proposed routes can be seen by clicking this link:
© 2014 Jay Clark