Friendly Streets Initiative recaps a successful 2015

October 14, 2015

By Lars Christiansen, Friendly Streets Initiative (FSI)


2015 for Friendly Streets Initiative (FSI) has been like no other year.  While every year has posed new challenges and afforded great successes, this year we have expanded our capacities, collaborations, demonstrations, geographies, and partnerships to a degree unforeseeable when we began six years ago.  We strive and thrive on keeping up with the ambitions of our community partners.  We have learned so much from residents, workers, business owners, our public agency partners, organizations and community members. 

We are thrilled by the accomplishments of this year and excited about what we can do together in 2016.  Here are a few recent highlights and upcoming events:

Making Fairview Friendlier

For the past two years, FSI has been working with community members and organizations to envision a Fairview Avenue that is friendlier for all road users.  This has culminated in extraordinary community input on the problems and opportunities of Fairview Avenue.  This coming spring, we are partnering with the City of St. Paul to install new pedestrian facilities at the intersection of Fairview and Marshall.  The facilities will be in place for a six-month test.

Better Bridges: Fairview Avenue

As part of our larger Fairview project, we have focused on the challenges of the Fairview Avenue I-94 underpass.  One evening last October 2014, we transformed the underpass into a bright, festive place. 

Join us again at our Second Fairview Underpass Party!  Mark your calendars on Saturday, October 24th from 6pm to 10pm.  We will be located on Fairview Avenue beneath I-94 (a few blocks south of University Avenue).  Based on community input and working with Crows Nest Design and lighting artist Kyle Waites, this year we are installing creative pedestrian lighting at the Fairview Avenue I-94 underpass for a 60-90 day test!  Come on out for another intriguing night at the Fairview underpass.

Better Bridges:  Victoria Street

On a beautiful September 16 night, even with occasional light rain, the Victoria Better Bridges project held a party for an estimated 275 people on the Victoria Street bridge.  The event included performances, demonstration of a protected bike lane, food, surveys, input on map and gallery of images, wheelchair demonstrations, and more.  As we do for all of our events, we repurposed public space in ways that spark the imagination and transform a place of fear into a place of play and carefreeness (and car-freeness!). 

See more pictures of the event and take the opportunity to provide your own feedback on the Victoria Street bridge over I-94 here!

Better Bridges:  Lexington Parkway

After collaborating with community and public agency partners, we are working to identify and install temporary demonstrations of improvement of the Lexington Parkway bridge over I-94.  This is arguably the most challenging bridge of the eight bridges that comprise our Better Bridges project, as it supplies some of the most difficult conditions for people who walk, bike, roll, and drive.  Great work has been done by community members, the Saint Paul Riverfront Corporation, and others to envision an improved Lexington Parkway bridge.   We are aiming to hold an event on the Lexington bridge in April or May of 2016.

Better Bridges: Snelling Avenue

The Snelling Avenue bridge over I-94 was recently completed now with much wider sidewalks, better pedestrian facilities, and improved aesthetics.  Our focus is on the green space at the northwest intersection of Snelling and St. Anthony.  Working with Union Park District Council, we are helping to facilitate community conversations about how that space might best serve nearby residents, workers, and passersby.  Click here to provide your input!

FSI’s new Parklet 

This year we commissioned Glow Ox Builders to design and create a parklet, FSI’s second.  A parklet is an extension of the sidewalk, a public space where people can relax and enjoy their surroundings.  They repurpose one car parking spot and promote the pedestrian life of a street.

This handsome creation spent some time near the intersection of Selby and Snelling (pictured right) and is next headed to the intersection of Thomas and Hamline either later this fall or next spring.

For a complete look at all of our projects and to get involved, click here!