Franklin Avenue, a Past and Future Native Home: An Interview with NACDI’s Andy Hestness

[Image at right: Rendering of the coming Anpetu Was’te cultural market on Franklin Avenue.] Franklin Avenue was once the border of Minneapolis, marking the edge of the city. Before that it was home to the Dakota people, and since the 1950’s post-“relocation era”, it is the site of the Little Earth community, the country’s only Indian-preference affordable housing site. But Franklin Avenue, which is controlled by Hennepin County, is also one of the most danerously designed streets in the city, home to a disproportionate amount of bicycle and pedestrian accidents. In particular, the corner of Franklin, Riverside, and Hiawatha, around the light rail station, has long been a dark, unpleasant place for people to walk and divded communities around. Transforming Franklin from a dangerous eyesore into a welcoming home for the surrounding Native community is one of the top priorities for Andy Hestness, vice president of the Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI), which runs the All My Relations gallery on Franklin Avenue and works as an intermediary for the Twin Cities Native Amerian people. We caught up with him last week to talk about how Native American’s are starting to challenge and transform how sideawlks, buses, and bikes work in and around Franklin Avenue, Minneapolis’ most neglected busy street. Continue Reading

Bikes, cars, pedestrians: Crashes and safety on Franklin Ave discussed at public meeting in Minneapolis

“We have a safety problem on this corridor. This corridor gets higher than normal motor vehicle crash rates, almost two and a half times what the base line should be,” said Bill Schultheiss, a senior engineer for Toole Design Group, during the third public meeting addressing prospective biking and walking improvements on Franklin Avenue.

“It’s a city, it’s a built environment. We’re not going to tear down buildings and widen things and move people away and spend hundreds of millions of dollars,” said Schultheiss as many questions about new street arrangements came up. The discussion was fueled mainly by bicyclists concerned about safely and mobility on Franklin Avenue, a corridor that currently has no bike lanes and narrow sidewalks which poses big issues for the hundreds of bikers and pedestrians who use it daily.

Continue Reading

First look at Franklin Avenue “vision” at Frankly 27th Open House-September 27

Seward’s first chance to check out aspects of the new draft vision for Franklin Avenue will come on Sept. 27, when Seward Redesign will put some ideas to the street test with temporary chalk treatments on the pavement, more permanent landscaping and a doorframe at an intersection, where the sidewalk meets the street, intended to “create a human scale on sidewalk,” said Wergin. Frankly 27th open houseSaturday, Sept. 27, 2–5 p.m.East Franklin Avenue between 26th and 27th avenues
The demonstration projects coincide with Redesign’s open house for its “Frankly 27th” building, which will showcase Redesign and the other five business located in the newly renovated building. Highlights will include the grand opening of ArtiCulture, with a a clothesline art sale, family art activities, music and more; free spinal exams and neck and back consultations from Dr. Gary Miller, chiropractor, and Prime Meridian Acupuncture; an “Astrosatchel” trunk show at Fast and Furless; a prototype bike fix it station, information about a grassroots gardening project; new sidewalk benches; food and refreshments and balloons for the kids. Continue Reading

Franklin redevelopment depends on grassroots

Partners for the redesign of the nearly mile and a quarter of Franklin Avenue that serves as the central business corridor through the Seward neighborhood released a “Draft Community Vision” document last week that details what its title page calls “an interim look at a community process for making Franklin Avenue a Great Street.”
“We’re sort of inventing the project as we go along,” said Sheldon Mains, Seward Neighborhood Group (SNG) board chair. “Our direction has come out of something I like to call ‘group sourcing,’” Mains said. Distributed throughout the neighborhood, redevelopment partners SNG, Seward Redesign and Seward Civic and Commerce Association, say the draft document is an effort to engage Seward residents and businesses in its design process at a grassroots level. Almost half of the draft’s 18 pages are blank space reserved for reader comments and their commitments to volunteering for four different project areas—improving street crossings, implementing informative street graphics, envisioning street landscaping/green space and enhancing traffic options for local bicyclists. “This project isn’t about a big street resurfacing like the one on Lake Street,” Mains said. Continue Reading