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Temporary writing room fills vacant storefront

An empty storefront space on University Avenue in St. Paul, along the coming Central Corridor Light Rail Transit line, will soon be transformed into a contemplative writing room, temporarily.

The installation, from artist Rebecca Krinke, is part of a collaborative project with the Starling Project and the St. Anthony Pop-Up Shop, which has filled the storefront with all kinds of creative activities this summer.

Krinke’s writing room, titled “What Needs to Be Said,” will occupy the space from August 15 to 19.

She’s trying to provide a public yet private forum for what often goes unsaid, she explains.

Krinke invites visitors to jot down whatever is on their minds, which they can display or hide away in the room. At the end of the run, the writings will be burned.     

In some ways, the room is a retreat from the daily grind. It has a smoky cedar smell, while the doors are made out of charred wood, crumpled paper, and Mylar.

This lends “an atmospheric feeling to the room--of secrets, pain, joy,” and more, she says.  
Although the room has a see-through quality, outside observers can only see the movement of shadow and light, while “inside has a very different feeling.”

The idea is that speaking up can be cathartic, especially in person--and in a meditative spot--as opposed to online, via blogs or message boards. “This is more random, physical, and visceral,” she says.

Beyond that, Krinke hopes that the project helps draw people to the area, which is known for its creative community.

“I want to show and support the potential for used storefronts in the area,” she says, adding that it demonstrates what artists can do to help revitalize spaces and cities.

University of Minnesota graduate students Michael Richardson and Emily Lowery are assisting Krinke with the installation, especially by exploring the possibilities for an audio component in a future installation, she adds.

Source: Rebecca Krinke, artist
Writer: Anna Pratt

Wayfinding art bikes inspire people to explore the neighborhood on foot or bike

To motivate people to get out of their cars and to explore the area surrounding the Central Corridor by bike or on foot, the St. Anthony Park neighborhood in St. Paul is getting nearly a dozen "wayfinding bikes."

As a part of the project, the artfully decorated bikes/public art pieces will be strategically placed here and there, with signage that conveys travel times and distances to certain local destinations, according to council materials.

The St. Anthony Park Community Council (SAPCC) set the project in motion, which local artist and environmental designer Carrie Christensen took on. Her focus is on sparking “awareness of place and to create more ecologically, socially, and economically functional spaces,” according to council materials.

Irrigate Arts helped make it possible with $1,000 in funding for the collaborative project.

SAPCC, which held a bike painting party in mid-July, is hosting another one today from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. at Hampden Park.

Amy Sparks, who leads the council, says that besides promoting more physical activity, the place-making project helps to mark the neighborhood’s in-progress Creative Enterprise Zone. “This also meets some of our goals in terms of increasing foot traffic and bringing vibrancy to the zone,” which is about cultivating creativity in the area, she says.

She's impressed with how Christensen took the concept and made it her own. Each of the bikes, which were donated, is getting a makeover.

One bike looks like it could be from the 1930s or 40s, with fin-like lines that resemble an old Cadillac car, she says.

Bikes will be adorned according to various themes, creating a mermaid, garden, rainbow and yarn bombing, among others. 

Also, the bikes will be chained to a signpost, so they’ll be fixed in place. Each of the bikes will be on view through Nov. 1, to avoid snowplows, she says.

Source: Amy Sparks, St. Anthony Park Community Council
Writer: Anna Pratt

Mosaic on a Stick gearing up for expansion

Mosaic on a Stick, an art studio in St. Paul that centers on mosaic making, has outgrown its longtime home on Snelling Avenue.  

As such, the studio is planning to expand operations this fall within the nearby Hamline Park Playground building.

It’s a big upgrade for the studio, informally known as "the Stick," which will go from 2,000 square feet to 3,500, according to owner and artist Lori Greene.

Securing more space means that the studio will be able to offer additional classes, have more open workspace, and host formal gallery shows and other community events. “The benefits are huge for both the Stick and the community,” she says.

Greene also needs more room for a new nonprofit organization that she’s starting, called the Urban Mosaic Collaborative, which is about introducing youth to art and community work.

Often, the Stick collaborates with local teens on mosaic-style murals. Recently, Greene led a group of teens from the COMPAS program in the creation of a mural for Canvas at the Hancock Recreation Center.

Separately, soon her handiwork will be visible at the in-progress Café 180 and Holistic Health Farms, according to a St. Paul Monitor story.
Since it opened in 2004, the Stick has become a neighborhood hub and something of a local recycling center. “People bring me their old plates and dishes and old tiles and plastic containers for reuse,” she says, adding that the items pour in weekly. “Most people tell me they would rather give it to me than throw it away.”   

In the move, the place will retain its colorful, bright, and welcoming aesthetic, with mosaics everywhere, she says.  

At the same time, the Stick will work with the city to preserve the building’s historic character.

“We’ve already made a difference and want to continue to be in the Midway Hamline Park Neighborhood so we can do more of what we’ve been doing,” she wrote in her application for the new space.

Source: Lori Greene, Mosaic on a Stick
Writer: Anna Pratt

Aerial photography shows a unique view of the land

A twofold event dubbed “exp-Air-iment” offers participants the opportunity to see the neighborhood from a new perspective--literally.

The St. Anthony Park Community Council Pop-Up Shop is hosting an aerial photography “open lab” and separately, a workshop, from Aug. 1 to 5.

The pop-up shop, which temporarily fills an empty storefront space on University Avenue, is among the numerous creative initiatives to come out of Irrigate Arts. The initiative is funding all kinds of place-making projects along the Central Corridor light rail transit line.

Kristen Murray, a co-founder of the Starling Project, which is helping to program the pop-up shop, is leading “exp-Air-iment.”   

In the “open lab,” visitors will get a chance to try the special aerial photography rig in the shop and see the images that come from a custom-built 3D printer, which was designed by Will Janicke, a local maker.

The workshop takes it a step further; people will learn the basics to get started with aerial photography, which involves sending digital cameras into the air with balloons, she says.

Also over the coming week, Murray is doing aerial photography with the Teen Tech Crew at the Science Museum of Minnesota, where she previously led hands-on technology-based programs.

Recently, she worked with teens from the nearby Skyline Tower housing complex. “We took a couple of cameras, rigs, and a bunch of balloons over to Dunning Field and captured some great shots,” she says, adding that they also suspended cameras from kites.  

The playing field’s wide-open spaces worked well for the balloons, which hovered overhead about 50 feet high. The group also got views of Marshall Avenue, Central High School, the St. Anthony Park community garden along with other local landmarks--and the photographers themselves.

“I enjoy seeing broad views where you can recognize the place easily, as well as more accidental angles and perspectives that catch interesting patterns,” she says.

The images show that “The railyard is just an impressive site--amazing that so much activity happens in a place that is smack-dab in the middle of the city but yet mostly out-of-mind and out-of-sight,” the website reads.  

The images can be seen on the website and hanging in the pop-up shop this week.

Source: Kristen Murray, Co-founder, Starling Project
Writer: Anna Pratt

Minneapolis Club undergoes $900,000 renovation of its grill and patio

The historic Minneapolis Club’s restaurant, which hasn’t changed since 1974, will soon get a facelift.

As a part of the $900,000 project, the club, which has long been a gathering place for city leaders and businesspeople, is adding a new bar and patio, while the first-floor grill’s hours will expand to include dinner.

This part of the building hasn’t seen any renovations since 1974, according to the club’s general manager, Frank DiLapo. “Everyone loved it and they were reluctant to do anything in there,” he says.  

However, it finally got to the point where it was tired enough that “We needed to do something to spruce it up" and give it a contemporary atmosphere. The changes will help make it a better gathering place, says DiLapo. “We looked at the clubhouse and the ways members want to use it now,” he says. “The hallmark of a great club is that it transitions for its members.”

Although the place will be updated, it’ll still have an old-fashioned look. Design-wise, the club looked to a London hotel called The Connaught. “It resembles the clubhouse in a lot of ways, with dark wood in the lobby area,” DiLapo says.  

In the 110-seat restaurant, the club preserved the woodwork without painting over it. To inject some color into the space, colorful furniture and white tablecloths were brought in. “The whole room is a brighter, lighter spot,” he says.

The 40-seat bar will be something of a throwback to what the space looked like in the past, with familiar yet refurbished chairs. A mural referencing the skyline will grace the walls.  

An area alongside the building, which had been a lawn, has been turned into a 50-seat patio. The patio, which will have its grand opening today, is going for a modernized speakeasy feel with stone, black wrought-iron furniture, and a white-flower garden.

Altogether, “Now we’ll have this whole little dining complex,” DiLapo says.

The restaurant and bar changes will wrap up in September. “Some of the most important decisions about the city have been made here at the club, he says, adding, “We want to make sure we’re around for another 130 years.”

Source: Frank DiLapo, general manager, Minneapolis Club
Writer: Anna Pratt

Mona restaurant elevates dining experience in downtown Minneapolis neighborhood

Mona, a new small-plate restaurant on South Seventh Street in downtown Minneapolis, takes its name from the famous Mona Lisa painting, which depicts a “woman with a mysterious smile.”  

Restaurant owner Lisa Hanson, who is also its head chef, says that like the painting, she thought the place might pique people’s curiosity: “Since I haven’t been cooking long in this town, I thought there might be a sense of mystery about how I became the 100-percent owner of this restaurant and built it from scratch,” she says.  

Hanson revamped the place earlier this year. Previously it had housed an Asian restaurant called Black Bamboo. “There was a lot of work to do,” she says, adding, that only the floor stayed intact. “We gutted the whole thing.”  

Today, the 3,000-square-foot space includes an open kitchen, counter seating, and booths, which can accommodate up to 102 people, along with a 75-seat patio.

A 20-foot island-style bar, chandeliers, tiled kitchen, dark wood, gilded mirrors and plenty of white and stainless steel define the space. “The media has said it looks like surgery,” she says. “The dining room is much softer and snazzy-looking.” 

Further, the patio is recessed from the street, so it has a more private feel.

Even though the restaurant has only been open for a few months, already it has seen an uptick in foot traffic. “A lot of people have said this is an area that’s underserved,” in terms of the cuisine, she says.  “We bring an opportunity for a lovely dining experience” as opposed to the more casual service at a bar.  
The restaurant also supports a number of local purveyors and farms and has a seasonal menu--something that she says is also lacking in this part of town. “We bring a lot of those factors to the area,” she says.

In a neighborhood that has many condos and apartment buildings, Mona seems to meet a need. “People come in and are so excited to have a real restaurant in their neighborhood,” she says. “We already have regulars.”  

Source: Lisa Hanson, owner and head chef, Mona
Writer: Anna Pratt

Met Council gets an app to improve regional bike-ability

To make the area more amenable to bicyclists, the Metropolitan Council has started gathering information about individual rides with the help of a smartphone app called CycleTracks.

The San Francisco County Transportation Authority originally developed the app to improve its transit system. Recently the California agency licensed the Met Council, for a fee, to use the same program locally, according to council information. 

Using GPS technology, the free app, which is available to both iPhone and Android users, captures data about cyclists’ routes, distance, and travel times. The app also collects demographic information such as age, gender, ride frequency, and so forth.  

Jonathan Ehrlich, a senior planner with the council, explains: “We’re using it for transportation planning. We can get data about cyclists, what facilities they’re using, and for what purpose.”

“The app tells us everywhere a bicyclist has been,” he says.

It also distinguishes recreational bicyclists from commuters and others who bike as a primary mode of transportation.

This information will tell the council “what roads and paths are being used and what ones are being avoided,” he says.  

People can also add notes about their ride.  

Right now the app has a couple hundred users and the council hopes to get several thousand. “We’re very pleased with the response so far,” Ehrlich says.

The council is trying to get as much data as possible this summer and fall, to aid in a private study.  
Another senior transportation planner, David Vessel, adds that this is “a great way for regional cyclists to contribute to a more accurate model of cycling activity and improve the plan for future cycling facilities.”  

At the same time, “The app stores the ride map and stats for the cyclist on their phone too,” he says, adding, “It is a handy free cycle computer.”

Source: David Vessel, Jonathan Ehrlich, senior transit planners, Met Council
Writer: Anna Pratt

Minnesota Orchestra's iconic blue tubes to be repurposed

The recognizable blue tubes that once graced Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis, along the building’s exterior, are getting a new life.

The 16 tubes, which are 10 and 20 feet tall, had epitomized the building's style, which dates back to 1974, according to orchestra information. The tubes also helped with the lobby's ventilation system.  

Right now, Orchestra Hall, which is home to the Minnesota Orchestra, is undergoing a $40 million expansion project for which construction will wrap up next summer. Its new look didn’t include the retro blue tubes, according to orchestra spokesperson Gwen Pappas.

This got orchestra staffers thinking about what to do with them. Since the tubes are so well known, “We thought it would be neat to find life for them outside of Orchestra Hall,” she says.

So the orchestra turned to fans on Facebook, asking for their suggestions for how to go about repurposing them. “It was a whimsical thing,” she says. “There were lots of clever answers and it started to gather steam.”

Based on that feedback, the orchestra sent out a request for proposals on possible new uses for the tubes. The orchestra planned to donate the tubes. “We were hoping to find people with creative ideas, possibly musically related,” but that wasn’t a requirement, she says. “We also wanted to see a public component and have them be spread out geographically.”  

Out of a dozen submissions, the orchestra went with five that met the criteria and had practical implementation plans, she says.

The tubes, for which Mortenson Construction covered delivery costs, landed at the Anderson Center at Tower View, a sculpture park in Red Wing; a private home in St. Paul, where they’ll be used for a sound installation and bat house (yes, a house for bats), and Big Stone Mini Golf and Sculpture Garden in Minnetrista.

Separately, sculptor Peter Morales, who is affiliated with Franconia Sculpture Park in Shafer, plans to fashion a three- or four-legged blue beast with some of the tubes. Franconia received another 10 of the tubes.   

“It was a real connection that people felt for the tubes,” she says. “We feel really good about it.”  

 Source: Gwen Pappas, spokesperson, Minnesota Orchestra
Writer: Anna Pratt

The Lynn on Bryant to build out space for fall opening

While scoping out possible sites for a new French-style café and bistro, co-owners Peter Ireland and Jay Peterson sought a place with a strong neighborhood feel.  

They settled on a space in the complex shared by the Patina gift shop and the George and the Dragon neighborhood pub at 50th and Bryant in Southwest Minneapolis.

Construction for The Lynn on Bryant, whose name references its home in the Lynnhurst neighborhood, starts this week, according to Peterson.  

The restaurateurs are drawing from the fact that “Lynnhurst is beginning to identify itself strongly,” says Peterson.

To take it a step further, he hopes that businesses here, including the restaurant, can turn the corner “into a nexus of sorts for residents.”

Already, the pair’s concept has been well received by neighbors, he says. “There’s support for independent restaurants and businesses in the neighborhood.”  

He knows, he says, that making it work is about “lots of community-building and being out in public.”

The 1,600-square-foot restaurant will be divided into two rooms, each with 28 seats. The front room will have a casual feel, with a large communal table, while the back room will be a more formal dining room.

Since the building is new, The Lynn has the flexibility to build it out with the help of an architect. “We can lay out the kitchen and service area exactly as we like.” 

As a nod to his and Ireland’s farm backgrounds, reclaimed barn wood will figure into the place. Other reclaimed materials will also be used throughout.  

He describes the aesthetic as "warm Scandinavian modern," with plenty of natural light coming in. “Overall it’s going to be a light space, with a lot of white, soft grays, and a little red,” he says. “It’ll be elegant but playful.”

The restaurant is set to open by early October.

Source: Jay Peterson, manager, The Lynn on Bryant
Writer: Anna Pratt

Subtext bookstore goes into old Common Good space in St. Paul

It's hard to imagine a bookstore not being in the basement space of the historic Blair Arcade building in St. Paul--at least that's how building owner June Berkowitz feels.

So, when Common Good Books, which writer and radio personality Garrison Keillor owns, relocated to the Macalester College campus, she got to work finding a new bookstore tenant. (See The Line story here.)
Today, Berkowitz is a partner in the venture; Sue Zumberge owns the shop. Berkowitz, who also owns Nina’s Coffee Café, which is above the basement-level bookstore, is helping by offsetting the cost of rent and utilities. She went that route because “I decided it was important to do what I could do," she says. 
Although the place’s redesign is still in progress, it has already taken on a different atmosphere from the former Keillor bookstore, with plenty of soft seating and a red-tufted bar that dates back to the 1940s. They're going for sort of a parlor feel, Berkowitz says. The bar had once been in a building on Summit Avenue, she adds. “It’s very cozy. It’s supposed to be an extension of Nina’s as a community gathering place.” 
The built-in bookshelves, which will be a design centerpiece, are getting a facelift, too. 
Already, the space is starting to live up to the community vision that she and Zumberge share, she says.
Besides author readings and other kinds of art-related events, including a teen program, the space is a good spot for meetings or quiet readings. The idea is to “fill it up with people. It’s not just [for] browsing for books, but people are able to hang out,” she says.  
The bookstore plans to have its grand opening in September. 
Source: June Berkowitz, Nina’s Coffee Café and building landlord for Subtext
Writer: Anna Pratt

ArtPlace grants $325K to Creative Citymaking project

Creative Citymaking, which is a collaboration of the city of Minneapolis and Intermedia Arts, recently received $325,000 from the national ArtPlace consortium for a project that gets artists involved in city planning.

It’s one of four local art projects for which ArtPlace is granting $1.3 million, according to city information.

Separately, ArtPlace also backed Irrigate Arts, which is an artistic place-making project that’s underway along the coming Central Corridor light rail transit line.

As a part of Creative Citymaking, four artists will be “embedded” in the city’s planning division next year. Over the course of a yearlong timeframe, they’ll work with the city’s planners on certain transportation, economic, environmental and social issues, according to Theresa Sweetland, who leads Intermedia.

Although the project’s details are still being fleshed out, the resulting work will get exposure throughout the year at various community events, including a final exhibit and forum at Intermedia.

The project builds on Intermedia’s work on cross-sector leadership training and its co-working space for artists, organizations and community organizers, she says.  

It dovetails with the city’s Plan for Arts and Culture, which the arts commission put together a handful of years ago. The idea is for the city and artists to come together to “explore creative ideas for addressing city problems.”   

It helps that right now, “Many artists are initiating discussions with community members around key civic issues,” she says.

Thinkers like Ann Markusen, Charles Landry and public artist Candy Chang have led the way with their philosophies “centering on the impact of people-oriented planning and the role of the arts and the creative process on developing vibrant urban places.”

One of the project’s goals is to bring more diverse communities into the fold.

Gulgun Kayim, who works on the city’s side of the project, says that both artists and city planners will get training on this process. It’s not about making public art, but bringing more social capital to the planning process, she says, adding, “It needs to be done in an intentional way.”  

‘We think it brings creative assets to the table,” she says. “The process of planning and art-making is similar,” she says. “Hopefully we get that crossover intelligence, and it makes us smarter.

Source: Theresa Sweetland, Intermedia Arts, Gulgun Kayim, city of Minneapolis
Writer: Anna Pratt

Kuramoto Model (1000 Fireflies) bike-light project makes community connections visible

Close to midnight on June 9, up to 1,000 bicyclists will be outfitted with special LED lights that will create a synchronized spectacle across the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis.

This experiment/public art display, which is part of the arts-geared Northern Spark Festival that will go all night in Minneapolis and St. Paul, is called, “The Kuramoto Model (1000 Fireflies).”  

The artist/techie behind it, David Rueter, an MFA candidate in art and technology studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, explains that whenever the lights blink, they broadcast a radio signal. As the lights "hear" each other, they begin to blink in synchronized patterns. By themselves, they look like regular LED cycling safety lights,  “but in groups, they exhibit an immediately noticeable and striking phenomenon,” a statement about the project reads. Reuter explains that the lights “can adjust or form a consensus” visually. “These lights are always listening.”

The project takes its name from Yoshiki Kuramoto, who pioneered research along these lines, Rueter says. He hopes that the bike ride/public art display will reveal the connections between individuals “and what amounts to a system of urban cycling, and connections that exist, whether or not they’re intentional.” He’s interested in seeing how that “transforms the way people perceive cycling,” and how it “changes the flow of cyclists.” For starters, it “alters the social rules of proximity. Different ways that people form in groups will be unveiled. It’ll change the way people approach interacting on bikes,” he says.

Well after the festival, people may continue to use them, and have chance encounters with each other.

It’s encouraging having the support of those who contributed to his $1,000 Kickstarter campaign, he says. “Everyone seems to latch onto the idea,” he adds. “Their imaginations run wild.”   

Source: David Reuter, Kuramoto Model Project
Writer: Anna Pratt

Lake Street utility boxes to be turned into works of art

The Lake Street Council hopes to spruce up Minneapolis's Lake Street by turning its utility boxes into objets d'art.

ZoeAna Martinez, who is the council’s outreach and services manager, explains that the project will help deter graffiti while also making “ugly boxes look better," as she puts it, adding, “We want to help our street look better."

The initiative is similar to ones in the Kingfield and Corcoran neighborhoods. Those neighborhoods used different methods to cover up the utility boxes; one way was to paint right on the surface of the structures. The boxes can also be covered with colorful shrink-wrap that has designs on it, Martinez explains.

To set the project in motion on Lake Street, Martinez is reaching out to local businesses. “We’re just trying to get feedback from businesses,” she says, adding that the council is hoping that the stakeholders will pitch in by sponsoring local boxes. 

The more utility boxes it can cover up, the better, she says, adding that sponsorship means a price break for the council as well.

Right now, the project's budget is still being determined. It’ll be based on how many boxes the council decides to do. “We’re still at the beginning of the process,” she says.  

The council is also working with the city on a project that’s titled Minneapolis Art Wrap, whose purpose is to make the process smoother for others who want to decorate their local utility boxes.

“In the last two years, the City of Minneapolis has seen increased interest by community groups in wrapping City-owned utility boxes with artistic designs,” council materials state.

Soon the city will be sending out a request for proposals to artists to design 12 pre-approved wrap covers to go on utility boxes all over the city.

It'll help streamline the city process, in that applicants won’t have to go through the art-related city committee to get designs approved. They can simply choose from one of the pre-approved designs, she says. “It makes it easier for groups to get city-owned utility boxes wrapped."   

Although the details are still up in the air at this point, the council hopes to complete it this year, Martinez says.

Source: ZoeAna Martinez, outreach and services manager, Lake Street Council
Writer: Anna Pratt

High hopes for redevelopment at vintage Fire Hall

Lately, a number of community members in St. Paul’s West Seventh neighborhood have been contemplating the future of the historic Fire Hall.

The 1872 building, which is considered to be the oldest fire station in the city, has been vacant for a couple of years, according to architect John Yust.

The building, which was previously known as Hope Engine Company No. 3, has unique features, including the remains of a bell tower on the second floor, he says.

To start spurring possible redevelopment plans, a design class at the University of Minnesota came up with plans for a restaurant to go into the space.

Yust provided original drawings of the building along with other reference material to the students, who worked in 11 teams of three as a part of Prof. Abimbola O. Asojo’s “Lighting Design and Life Safety Issues” class.

As a part of the assignment, students paid special attention to lighting needs in the brick building, but they also thought more broadly. Many of the students had plans that involved family-friendly restaurants in the daytime that would transition into more romantic settings at night, according to Yust, who attended the class critique last month.

Students came up with everything from sushi to New Orleans-style cooking. “It was fun. There was a huge variation and lots of great ideas,” Yust says, adding, “My hope is that somebody might find this an amazing opportunity [to redevelop].”

“We want the city to know how important it is to the community,” he says. “It would be appropriate to save this site as a part of the historic fabric.”

Source: John Yust, architect
Writer: Anna Pratt

Walkability survey to help make areas surrounding light rail stations more pedestrian-friendly

St. Paul’s District Councils Collaborative (DCC) is kicking off a “walkability survey” for the Central Corridor Light Rail Transit stations on May 6.

It involves group walks from various neighborhood spots to coming light rail stations in St. Paul and Minneapolis. The walks will take about 20 minutes or so; combined with the survey, it's less than an hour-long commitment, according to DCC staffer Anne White.

The walks will also have a cultural component; urban activist Charles Landry, who is an advocate for walking, will be taking part in the event on Sunday, she says.

Landry will also have a number of speaking engagements around town on the theme of "Creating 21st Century Intercultural and Creative Cities," as a part of a week-long residency with the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative through May 11. (For a full schedule of events, go here.)

Walkability surveys can be turned in any time until May 28 at the DCC website, which also has a map for making notations. The DCC is hoping to collect 1,500 surveys, or 100 for each of the 15 stops.

The survey will look at “both the physical environment and at how people feel, which isn’t strictly physical. Do they feel safe and comfortable walking?”

For that reason, the feedback will be valuable on many different levels. “It highlights the importance of a good walking environment,” she says, adding, “We’re also getting people looking forward,” in terms of getting used to the idea of taking the train.

Additionally, the walks will help identify areas in need of repair or in bad condition, as well as zones that aren't pedestrian-friendly, she says. “We’ll be helping identify priorities. Where are the greatest needs? Where should they put limited funding to work?”

Part of the survey will also include ensuring accessibility along the way for people with disabilities.  

Hopefully, related streetscape improvements can be made before the light rail is up and running because “It has potential to boost light rail ridership,” White says.

Source: Anne White, District Councils Collaborative
Writer: Anna Pratt
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