Creating healthy homes and communities requires us to think about healthy, active ways to get from home to work or school and back. With a mini grant in July, the Alliance for Healthy Homes and Communities supported Cycles for Change’s effort to promote youth bicycle riding to and from school, work, and after-school activities through our Youth Riding Club.
Cycles for Change (C4C) launched its Youth Riding Club this summer; C4C facilitated weekly group rides that took youth on trips to schools, parks, and museums, providing youth with education on safe, responsible, confident cycling techniques. A summer highlight was C4C’s ride from St. Paul Central High School to the University Avenue Open Streets event, where University was closed to cars and fully opened to bikes and pedestrians for an afternoon in September. C4C wrapped up the riding club for the season with a Halloween ride to the Barebones Theatre production, held annually at Hidden Falls park.
Part of C4C’s focus is to support youth leadership to grow the bicycling movement. One unique success story has C4C beginning to partner with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota to empower two C4C youth leaders to speak publicly about the importance of expanding funding for Safe Routes to School to support more youth biking to and from school.
The goal of this project is to educate homeowners on safe and healthy homes and provide resources for improvements. A toolkit will be created and shared with home buyers to make informed decisions.
Staff from HRDC report that the Commission has been busy making some final changes to the “tool kit.” They have met with some local housing service providers to get their input on important things for homeowners to know. The toolkit is 70% finished and staff is working on gathering some final pieces of information before it goes to print.
In the first update, we reported the success of a unique bike tour, or “workshop on wheels,” in September. Participants were engaged in the discussion about issues and opportunities associated with this important corridor while riding their bicycles. We highlighted the critical need for sustainable land use planning at station areas along the SWLRT corridor, educating and engaging more than 100 local residents. Speakers and participants included an architect, a developer, the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District’s Blake Station Area planner, and several decision makers. Notably, a HennepinCounty commissioner, St. Louis Park councilmember, and the City of Minnetonka’s community development director were in attendance.
PROGRESS ON OTHER OUTCOMES
To complement the Annual Bike Tour, we are organizing a more in-depth training workshop with local organizers and stakeholders that will educate and mobilize Sierra Club members residing in the SWLRT corridor to actively participate in land use planning and advocate for TOD and transportation options. By partnering with Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability, and other partners at the Blake Road Corridor Collaborative, we are adding value and advancing regional equity by advocating for the inclusion of affordable housing for TOD at SWLRT station areas.