On October 8, 35 Hmong living on the proposed Irving/Humboldt part of the North Minneapolis Greenway met with 5th Ward Councilmember Blong Yang at the Hmong International Academy. Their main message: they want their street to stay as is, and they have not been asked their opinions.
Their top concern was losing their parking. They said that many Hmong households have a lot of family members and several cars, and need to be able to park their cars on the street in front of their house. They cannot fit all their cars in the garage.
They worried that if their cars were parked a distance away they would be more vulnerable to car break-ins and car theft. In addition, they worried that having to walk a significant distance between car and house would make family members more vulnerable to holdups and assaults, especially at night. They also worried that the distances could be difficult for small children and the elderly.
Several Hmong families also said that they frequently have gatherings and religious ceremonies with 50 or 60 guests, and the with the greenway they won’t have parking on their block to accommodate their guests
The meeting was a follow-up to a summer survey, done by John Yang, of Hmong families living on the proposed Irving/Humboldt greenway route. Between June and August John Yang went out every week door-to-door to survey those Hmong families. John is a U of M student, and his family lives along the Logan Ave. greenway option.
By the end of August, he had surveyed 20 Hmong families living along the Irving route, and asked their opinions on the proposed North Minneapolis Greenway. (This is in addition to 20 Hmong families living on all three proposed routes surveyed in the spring of 2014) Below are the survey questions and the responses of the families:
Have you heard of the proposed bikeway/greenway? Yes 25%, No 75%.
Did you know that your street is being proposed for the bikeway/greenway? Yes 10%, No 90%. Of the four options which do you like? Keep as is 64%, Bike boulevard 22%, Half and half 7%, Full greenway 7%. Have you been asked your opinion before about the bikeway/greenway? Yes 10%, No 90%.
After the surveying was completed, John went back to the families to report on the results of the survey and to invite them to meet with Councilmember Yang. At the meeting, Hmong families asked Councilmember Yang many questions about the proposed greenway.
At the end of the meeting, Councilmember Yang asked how many of the Hmong had, before John Yang came to their door, been surveyed about the greenway. No hands went up.
Also at the end of the meeting a poll was taken of the people present about which bikeway option they preferred. Keep street as is: 28 hands went up; Bike boulevard: 0 votes; half-and-half: 0 votes; full greenway: 0 votes.