Friendly Streets Initiative: Learning From and Supporting Communities in Saint Paul

October 22, 2014
By Lars Christiansen, Friendly Streets Initiative 
2014 has been a breakout year for the Friendly Streets Initiative (FSI).  With projects in nearly every Green Line community, we have assisted residents, businesses, and organizations in improving public spaces, particularly streets (for a list of our projects, go to  We have worked closely with dozens of folks, facilitated in-depth community visioning, hosted over a dozen events attracting hundreds of people, collaborated with fifteen artists, demonstrated bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure facilities, and completed two studies.  
FSI’s on-street parklet was an instant hit this summer.

We continue to facilitate dialogues between community members, design and transportation advocacy organizations, and government agencies.  Conversations about streets reveal so much about community values, histories, relationships, victories, defeats, hopes and dreams.  We have the privilege of learning from community members about how their neighborhoods could be better, more equitable, safer, enjoyable, and vibrant. 
Fairview Avenue and the I-94 Underpass Party
Identified by the City of Saint Paul as a potential bikeway, residents in Hamline-Midway and Union Park have formed a working group to engage neighbors about the problems and prospects of Fairview Avenue.  This group is tackling the challenge of how to make Fairview safer and more pleasant for residents, business patrons, and all road users.
Regarded as an uninviting, sometimes scary space with perennially problematic road conditions, the Fairview underpass beneath I-94 holds immense possibility for temporary and long-term transformation.  St. Paul residents are invited to join us this Saturday, October 25th from 7-11pm. Bring your BRIGHT ideas and help us light up the underpass with games, videos, stories, and color!

2015:  Better Bridges for Stronger Communities
In addition to continuing our current projects, we are launching “Better Bridges for Stronger Communities,” a project that will address the aesthetic and non-motorized safety challenges of eight bridges over (or under) I-94. FSI is honored to have been selected as a recipient of a Knight Green Line Challenge Award for “Better Bridges.”  2015 promises to be as challenging and rewarding as 2014!  See you on the streets of Saint Paul!