On December 30, a group of Hmong students living on the Humboldt/Irving route of the proposed North Minneapolis Greenway went to city hall and met with Minneapolis city staff.
The purpose of the meeting was to inform city staff about Hmong families, culture, religion and gatherings. They spoke about problems North Minneapolis Hmong have with bike robberies and other crimes, and explained how these impact Hmong families’ views of the proposed bikeway.
They described how a dozen or more people may be living in a typical Hmong household, ranging from babies to grandparents. Hmong households may have six or more cars because many family members use them to go to work and school, and many of these cars get parked on the street in front of the house. Many Hmong households have religious ceremonies and family gatherings that pull in 75 people, and the guest’s cars pack the block. All reasons why Hmong families do not want to lose their parking to the bikeway.
Several of the youth talked about how they, and their family and friends have been the victims of bike thefts and other crimes. One youth described how his bike was stolen by a drunken man, and when his brother came out to get the bike back, the drunken man fought him.
Another youth described how he was riding his bike when a group of youth ambushed him. They were pulling him off his bike when a Hmong neighbor came outside and pulled out a gun. The ambushers ran away, and the Hmong youth kept his bike, but now he will not ride his bike in his neighborhood.
Minneapolis police officer Kou Vang explained that bike thefts are a major problem for North Minneapolis Hmong youth and that often Hmong are reluctant to call the police. Minneapolis Community Relations’ Michael Yang explained that large house gatherings are important to Hmong families, religion and culture.
City staff said that a mockup of the greenway/bikeway would be put up on several blocks along the Irving/Humboldt route in the spring.