Every year, Move Minneapolis hosts the Transportation Summit as an opportunity for residents, commuters, employers, and advocates to share space and push the transportation narrative forward. While most of Move Minneapolis’ work focuses on your commute today, this event explores big topics in transportation on a local and national scale. Past Transportation Summits have included explorations of mobility justice and the impacts of urban highways; this year’s topic was Envisioning Downtown Streets That Prioritize People.
New this year, the Summit was developed in a workshop style focusing on attendee engagement rather than education.
Overview and Examples of Spaces that Prioritize People
The Summit was curated to equip attendees new to the transportation conversation with a toolkit of new frameworks to analyze their own transportation decisions. Intentionally, this event explored streets as public space beyond a specific infrastructure project’s scope or budget. Our goal was to create a blank canvas and equip attendees with the tools to lean into vulnerable questions about the public realm before they are faced with the question affecting their own back yard.
“Knock down walls of exclusion and build accessible pathways to success, and everyone gains.” – Angela Glover Blackwell
The Move team shared concepts to such as The Curb-Cut Effect as grounding in people-centered urban planning, provided a broad overview of transportation decisions that built our current context and closed with examples of recent projects completed both locally and nationally.
Examples of Minneapolis’ transportation context:
Examples of local projects shown:
The Summit hosted an interdisciplinary panel of local experts featuring:
- Lesley Kandaras – General Manager, Metro Transit
- Joo Hee Pomplun – Executive Director, The Alliance
- Kyle Shelton – Director, Center for Transportation Studies
- Neil Reardon – Vice President, ESG Architecture & Design
- Ben Shardlow – Director of Urban Design, Downtown Council (moderator)
Watch the Panel Recording:
How do you envision the types of trips people take on downtown streets changing in the future?
“It’s not just workers and it’s not just people coming for activities in the evening because if those are the two populations we target, the built environment is very different from.. getting any one of our neighbors from throughout the city to come and see themselves here.. that is just as much about how they get here and travel through here as it is what’s here.” – Kyle Shelton
How do changes in traffic volumes and patterns create opportunities to rebalance transportation in our right of ways?
“Mature trees, give them a chance to live, keep the salt out of them out of the soil and give them a chance to create an urban tree canopy on a downtown street. Maybe our streets are still one ways, but there’s one less lane and there’s mature trees on both sides.” – Neil Reardon
What barriers exist to achieving a more walkable downtown?
“Many transit trips start with somebody walking there, using a mobility device there.. walking is also critical to the success of transit. Certainly, when we talked with customers, it intercepts with perceptions of safety.. some of that can be addressed with well lit areas and being really mindful of those types of improvements.” – Lesley Kandaras
In your experience, what do people tend to misunderstand about this topic?
“What I think is really important as you think about downtown, as you think about transportation, transit, mobility, one of the import things about the scorecard tool is that it forces a person to think comprehensively about the communities we’re building and designing. Transportation and transit can’t be successful without the people. We have to have a concentration of people that are going to use it.. we need to be thinking about housing and the affordability, who can live along transit lines so that they can get to places.. the types of jobs people need to get to.. we need to think about climate sustainability, that equilibrium, how are we caring for our land.. we need to be thinking about empowering communities to be their best selves, to see themselves as a part of the community.” – Joo Hee Pomplun
Closing with a majority of the day, I Act Co facilitated an art-based approach to envisioning public space. Facilitators Heidi and Adel guided attendees through a travel privilege diagnostic, rotating small group discussions on individual experiences and finally got hands on with artistic visions of streets designed to prioritize people.
Explore the visions created:
Preview the facilitation framework: