Bringing Bicycling to North Minneapolis
Minneapolis also realizes that what of the most efficient ways to improve public health is to build up resources on an established foundation. Venture North Bike Walk & Coffee, a bike repair and rental center, is working to bring the city’s culture of bicycling to North Minneapolis.
“One part of our city has a wonderful bicycle path going across the center part of town with almost no street intersections, and it’s a very popular, safe place to ride. It goes through diverse communities of all income levels and races,” said Shaun Murphy, bicycle and pedestrian coordinator for the City of Minneapolis. “On our other side of town where we don’t see so much bicycling, we don’t have that infrastructure there.”
The non-profit is able to sell affordable bikes to the members of the community by fixing up old bikes. It also works closely with the youth to train them how to fix and tune up bikes—real, solid job skills. And of course the new center of the community also sells coffee.
“It becomes a place where people can come and gather, as well as a place out of which programming can be done to help folks get a real sense of where they can go and what they can do with a bike and where they can walk and what's nearby and what's interesting,” said Musicant.
Toward A Healthier Future
Gradually and deliberately the health enjoyed by the residents in the higher-income areas of Minneapolis is spreading to those in the lower-income areas. Musicant, for one, says she is optimistic about the city’s future.
We have so many people who want to work together,” said Musicant. “This notion of collaborative effort is strong here and we’ve found that with a plan and with a convening of these people that we can achieve many things together that none of us could achieve alone.”