DIY





How to Make City Streets More Friendly


| 10/3/2016 9:36:00 AM



Afoutayi Music and Dance Company performs in St. Paul, Minnesota. Photo by Jon Pavlica

Laughter, lively music and lip-smacking appreciation of food from many cultures animates St. Anthony Avenue in St. Paul, Minnesota as a crowd whoops it up at the Better Bridges Bash.

Even chilly temperatures and gusty winds can’t dampen folks’ enthusiasm — nor does the unpromising location right next to the roaring traffic on the I-94 freeway. Indeed, that’s the point of the event: to better connect neighborhoods on either side of the freeway by improving the bridges and to explore ways to make the area more friendly to people when they are not in cars.

This is why — in addition to enjoying a kazoo parade, a Liberian-American rapper and the Lexington-Hamline Community Band — festival goers wander into tents where they are encouraged to think expansively about their neighborhood’s future.



“We’re seeing that this community is engaged in how the streets feel, and they are letting local leaders know what they want,” offers Isaak Rooble, who is standing next to a gallery of photos showing possible improvement projects for this mixed-income, mixed-race community. People stick green post-its to ones they like, pink ones to those they don’t, and yellow for maybe.



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