Accessible Transportation Summit in Minneapolis

At the end of June, Susan Gaeddert and Carl Glasemeyer attended the Accessible Transportation Summit in Minneapolis hosted by the RE-AMP Network. Carl was on the committee to plan the summit, which focused on equity, accessibility, and the impact of past decisions on current systems and infrastructure.

Susan and Carl smile for a selfie at the end of the summit

The conference was many things – informative, inspiring, intense. At times it was also fun! The 50 or so people who gathered together are dedicated, knowledgeable advocates for equitable transportation around the Midwest. We were in good company.

For much of the summit, we gathered in a circle.

It would be impossible to share everything we experienced at the summit, but a few highlights are below, along with some links to more information.

Carl hosted a Q&A session with José Antonio Zayas Cabán, Executive Director of Our Streets MN about strategies they used to successfully secure funding from the federal Re-Connecting Communities program to revitalize 6th Avenue in North Minneapolis.

Carl speaks into a microphone while José prepares to respond.

A Tuesday afternoon field trip took us to the Summit Academy where we viewed a presentation of the Mapping Prejudice project from UMN, which maps decades of racially restrictive covenants, redlining, and highway building in American cities paired with historical photos of what was lost. Our Streets has put together a StoryMap of 6th Avenue.

The group watches a presentation at Summit Academy.

The presentation was followed by a walking tour of a portion of the Olsen Memorial Highway, led by Jessie Merriam, Public History Specialist at Our Streets.

The most impactful part of the field trip was a pilgrimage journey to George Floyd Square. Local residents lead the tours. We met Marquise, Georgio, and Kia, who shared their community, their love, and their pain with us.

Local guides Marquise and Kia.

It feels impossible to put into words the experience of standing in the street where a man was murdered by police as the whole world watched.

Cup Foods, where George Floyd died, is surrounded by memorials.

We saw statues and gardens and murals and names painted in the street, all memorials to men, women, and children who have died from police violence and gun violence. Afterward, we were all very quiet on the bus.

Other presentations and discussions at the summit were dedicated to paratransit, over-policing/decriminalizing mobility (i.e. enforcement of jaywalking and bike helmet laws) from BikeWalkKC, anti-displacement strategies from the Blue Line Coalition in Minnapolis, and tackling the challenges of local transit funding. It’s kind of hard to believe we covered all that in just 2 days!

There are many transport options in the UMN campus area of Minneapolis.