SPOKES is a neighborhood program sponsored by Seward Neighborhood Group. This program is a community bicycle and walking resource, located near the LRT Bike Trial on East 22nd Street. It’s later than hoped for, but Spokes-Bike Walk Connect should be up and running this month with a grand opening party scheduled for Wednesday, August 22 from 5 PM to 8 PM. To get ready for the grand opening, there are volunteer nights from 4 to 8 PM every Thursday night–painting, carpentry and sorting new bike tools are on the volunteer agenda.
The aim of this new and innovative program is to make bicycling more accessible and enhancing a pedestrian friendly environment. Katya Pilling, former associate director of Redesign, designed a survey which identifies some factors contributing to the lack of bikers in our neighborhood. Pilling’s survey revealed that many people don’t bike because they simply don’t know how. SPOKES is planning to solve that problem by offering a wide array of programs for various target populations in order to increase non-motor transportation. These programs include:
• Earn-a-Bike program– Give community members the opportunity to volunteer time to earn a bicycle, helmet and lock.
•Women-Only program– Classes, rides and open shop for women only, attempting to bridge cultural and gender barriers.
•Free and low cost classes — classes on safe cycling, bike commuting, year-round biking, learn to ride a bike classes and basic bike maintenance.
•Youth Junior Mechanics classes –Youth will learn bike maintenance skills and fix up a bike to keep.
•Open shop hours for specific groups– a chance to use the centers tools and facilities for groups in our community who usually do not fix their own bikes.
•Open shop hours for the whole community.
•Community Partners Bike Library—in partnership with Sibley Bike Depot, this program allows low-income community members to check out a bike for 6 months
•Share the Roads program—events and programs to remind drivers and bikers to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and to remind bikers, pedestrians and drivers that they all have rights and responsibilities.
•Complete Streets – making sure that Minneapolis and Hennepin County plan “complete streets” that provide for cars, pedestrians and bikes. SPOKES first goal is to create bike lanes on the part of Franklin that goes under the LRT station and Hiawatha Avenue.
Spokes is partly funded by Non-motorized Transit Program of Bike Walk Twin Cities/ Transit for Livable Communities with funds from the Federal Highway Administration. SPOKES received significant funding from Seward Coop customers when it was the recipient of the Coop’s SEED “round-up” program in July. SPOKES is always in need of neighborhood volunteers, if interested in volunteering or making a donation please contact Sheldon Mains, Director of SPOKES at Sheldon@spokesconnect.org.