Green digest: Autumn Bike Walk Week

Autumn Bike Walk Week is Oct. 3­–9

The autumn installment of the twice-yearly Twin Cities Bike Walk Week returns Oct. 3–9 and, as usual, the centerpiece event is International Bike and Walk to School Day Oct. 5.

The week’s worth of events are meant to highlight the environmental, economic and health benefits of decreasing reliance on motor vehicles by increasing bicycling and walking. Along with a spring Bike Walk Week held every June, the two events bookend the busiest part of the bicycling season.

Bike Walk Week challenges metro-area residents to spend less time in their cars by signing a pledge to bike or walk at least once a week for the rest of the year. Those who wish to participate can sign a pledge on the Bike Walk Week website, bikewalkweek.org.

The website also is where schools register to officially participate in International Bike and Walk to School Day, an event joined by 41 metro-area schools last year. The National Center for Safe Routes to School reported Lyndale Community School, where parents have led a walking school bus for several year, and City of Lakes Waldorf School were among the Southwest-area schools planning to participate this year.

Downtown office workers who commute to work by foot or bike Oct. 6 on Bike Walk to Work Day can stop by a commuter fair 11 a.m.–1 p.m. in the IDS center to sip free coffee and peruse commuting resources. That evening, a group ride is planned through Northeast on the new 5th Street and 22nd Avenue bicycle boulevards; it runs 4 p.m.–6 p.m. and sets off from Holmes Park, 301 4th Street S.E.

The tours of new city bike lanes continue 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m. Oct. 8, when riders will meet across the street from North Regional Library, 1315 Lowry Ave. N., to begin a tour of the new bicycle lanes on Emerson and Freemont avenues.

Finally, the tour comes to Southwest noon–3 p.m. Oct. 9 for a ride to celebrate the grand opening of the new bicycle lanes on 1st and Blaisdell avenues. Events begin with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Martin Luther King Park, 4055 Nicollet Ave. S., featuring food, music and activities, including a bicycle safety presentation by 5th Precinct Police.

There also are educational events scheduled throughout the week, including a presentation on “Bicycling as Transportation” 11 a.m.­–noon at Commuter Connection, 220 S. 6th St.

Other sessions on winter bicycling safety and bicycle maintenance were scheduled at various times and locations throughout the week. Some events required registration. Information on all events can be found at bikewalkweek.org.

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Watershed improvement grants available

Area groups planning clean water projects can apply for financial support from the Cynthia Krieg Watershed Stewardship Fund through Oct. 19.

Schools, businesses, neighborhood organizations, civic groups and others can apply to the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District for funding for projects that either aim to improve water quality within the district or raise public awareness of clean water issues. For-profit groups must partner with a school or citizen group for consideration, and projects on private property must be shown to have a larger public impact.

Past recipients include Southwest’s Kenny Community School, which used a $4,500 grant to complete a school rain garden project and to develop educational materials for teachers in 2008. Southwest florist and greenhouse Bachman’s won a $30,000 grant that same year and used it to create exhibits at its flagship Lyndale Avenue location demonstrating the environmental benefits of rain gardens, permeable pavers, green roofs and other products.

Minneapolis-based nonprofit Metro Blooms has won a series of Krieg Fund grants to support its rain garden workshops and rain garden installation projects in Minneapolis neighborhoods.

For more information, or to review application guidelines, go to minnehahacreek.org.

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City seeking Food Council applicants

The city was seeking applicants to its new Homegrown Minneapolis Food Council, established Sept. 2 through a unanimous City Council resolution.

The council will develop policy recommendations on matters of locally grown food and will include representatives from both the community and city government. The council is an outgrowth of the three-year-old Homegrown Minneapolis initiative, a city effort to increase the amount of local food grown, processed, distributed and consumed in Minneapolis.

According to the City Council resolution, the Food Council will include up to 19 members, with 14 members selected through the open appointment process. To seek appointment, apply between Oct. 3 and Oct. 21 at minneapolismn.gov/boards-and-commissions under “Current Openings.”

The members of the Food Council will serve two-year terms beginning in January.

Reach Dylan Thomas at dthomas@mnpubs.com.