Call

Blog

Law
02

Blog

Our Streets: Ash Narayanan

As a Minneapolis-based attorney, I live, work, play and bike in the city. Although my city might be known for its lakes and our infamous Juicy Lucy, Minneapolis’ dedication to having safer streets for all should be included in that list.

To reach the safe streets goal, numerous non-profit organizations and groups are working tirelessly behind the scenes. One of these groups is Our Streets Minneapolis. I recently had the opportunity to chat with Our Streets Minneapolis Executive Director, Ashwat (Ash) Narayanan.

Ash graciously shared his thoughts about bike transportation in the city, as well as the Vision Zero plan. One thing’s for sure—we can all learn a thing or two about his passion and dedication to the cycling community.

A Passion for Transportation Fueled by Community Need

Before moving to the United States, Ash lived in India. Millions of people there all rely on transportation. With so many people per area, transportation is rather unique when compared to the U.S. It was also a big part of Ash’s life and soon became his focus.

Ash realized that most programs or initiatives may have included cycling, but they didn’t include safe areas for pedestrians or individuals requiring wheelchair access. He believed that community and transportation initiatives as a whole needed to change. That’s where his advocacy began.

An Advocate for Transportation for All

Ash’s advocacy for safe transportation for everyone began before he became the Executive Director of Our Streets Minneapolis. Previously, he was the Director of Transportation Policy at 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, a statewide non-profit dedicated to building healthy communities through better land use. He advocated for moving funding away from major highway projects to better support local projects.

Now, Ash focuses on advocating for safe streets for all people who use them, including those who bike, walk and roll. According to Ash, “It’s my goal to bring inclusivity to the forefront and see justice in transportation.” He also currently serves on the MnDOT Sustainable Transportation Advisory Council.

Here is an example of Ash’s vision for Our Streets:

Our Streets Minneapolis & the Vision Zero Initiative

Ash also shared his thoughts on the Our Streets’ initiatives regarding the Minneapolis Vision Zero plan:

“Our Streets supports the Vision Zero goal to reach zero traffic deaths and serious injuries. We also agree that this goal is critical to making Minneapolis an easy, comfortable place for people to bike, walk and roll. We also commend the city’s emphasis on using a data-driven approach to addressing racial and income disparities in traffic crashes and their focus on streets with the most crashes.”

Ash and the Our Streets Minneapolis organization do have some concerns about whether Minneapolis will be able to reach their goal. These concerns are centered on three areas:

Funding

Street ownership

Enforcement

Funding

Our Streets Minneapolis believes that the current funding amount isn’t enough. Yet, they’re excited about the increase in funds recently budgeted for 2021. Says Ash,

“The first year of Vision Zero was funded at only $100,000. The mayor’s draft 2021 budget includes $1 million for Vision Zero. We’ve supported the city’s efforts here by asking our network to tell their council members to support increased funding for Vision Zero.”

Street Ownership

In Minneapolis, streets are owned and operated by many different entities, including the city, Hennepin County, MnDOT and the Parks Board. Unfortunately, many of the streets with the most crashes are owned by Hennepin County, meaning the city doesn’t have control over what happens on them.

To help combat this threat to the Vision Zero goal, Our Streets is advocating on behalf of these streets: “Another way we’re supporting Vision Zero efforts is through our advocacy to improve county-owned streets in Minneapolis.”

Enforcement

For any initiative, enforcement is always in question. In fact, many Vision Zero plans in the U.S. rely heavily on police or automated enforcement as a street safety measure. Our Streets believes there’s a better way.

“We oppose police and automated traffic enforcement because it amplifies racial disparities. Re-designing streets is a more effective way to make streets safer. The city’s Vision Zero Action Plan includes evaluating a traffic enforcement division for MPD. We oppose this and have advocated strongly against it.”

Together We Can Make Minneapolis a Safe Place for All Who Use Our Streets

No matter the challenge, through the advocacy of people like Ash and organizations like Our Streets, Minneapolis can become a safer place for all who use our streets. The goal can only be accomplished by all of us banding together for the cause.

Have you been in an accident on a Minneapolis city street? You have support. Just send me a message or give my law firm, Brazil Law Group, a call.

 

Comments

Ash Our Streets
Daniel Brazil Jan 13, 2021

As a Minneapolis-based attorney, I live, work, play and bike in the city. Although my city might be known for its lakes and our infamous Juicy Lucy, Minneapolis’ dedication to having safer streets for all should be included in that list. To reach the safe streets goal, numerous non-profit organizations and groups are working tirelessly […]

Read More
Ambassador
Rachael Maney Jan 11, 2021

Applications for the Bike Law Foundation Ambassador Program are now live. CLICK HERE FOR THE APPLICATION. The deadline to apply is Sunday, January 24th. Those selected will be notified on or before February 1. Thanks for your support and willingness to work together to make bicycling safer for all. We are committed to you, to one another, and […]

Read More
3-foot passing close call
Charlie Thomas Jan 11, 2021

It happens all the time: Someone emails me video footage, clearly showing they were biking along when a car buzzes past, coming within inches of a horrible crash — and there’s nothing I can do about it because we don’t have the laws in place to do something to help. Luckily, that might be about […]

Read More
killing cyclist bike law
Rachael Maney Dec 22, 2020

BIKE LAW ANNOUNCES THE INDICTMENT OF CARL BEHLER FOR KILLING CYCLIST AND INJURING OTHERS   Today, Carl Behler appeared in court for the first time for killing cyclist Arthur Carter and injuring others. He was indicted on Friday (12/18) by the Anne Arundel County Grand Jury and promptly arrested and detained for 7 crimes related […]

Read More
Bicycle Mayor
Bruce Hagen Dec 03, 2020

When I (Maria of Bike Law Georgia) called Pattie Baker, the first Metro Atlanta Bicycle Mayor, she was trudging through marshland on her bicycle on Alpharetta’s Big Creek Greenway. I pictured her in my mind with her bike, wearing her signature skirts, and mud on her sandals. Always on the go, the newly minted Metro […]

Read More
Alabama Bike Advocacy
Danny Feldman Dec 02, 2020

When Alabama bike advocate Jamie Miernik was growing up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, she dreamed of being an astronaut.  And today, although she is not an astronaut, as a chemical engineer who worked for Boeing on the NASA space station project, she put her knowledge and talents to use keeping the astronauts safe and sound in […]

Read More
Local bike shop Atlanta Bike Shop Mechanic
Bruce Hagen Nov 06, 2020

We have so many amazing local bike shops in the Atlanta Metro Area and in Georgia that it’s hard to single out any for the service that they provide, but here’s a short list of some of the shops from various parts of town and throughout the state. Eight Great Local Bike Shops in Georgia […]

Read More
Justice Ginsberg Bike Law
Lauri Boxer-Macomber Nov 03, 2020

Last month after Justice Ginsberg passed away, I went on one of those long solo rides to pedal things out.  I was hoping that time in the saddle would help settle the emotional torrent within me.  On one hand, I was feeling driven, empowered, and more motivated than ever to step things up a notch […]

Read More
Women on Bikes Rachael
Peter Wilborn Oct 11, 2020

Rachael Maney is the Director of the Bike Law Network and of the non-profit Bike Law Foundation. As most of you know, she has spent the last two weeks on these pages profiling 16 Women on Bikes leading up to yesterday’s inaugural Women’s Cycling Day. If you haven’t yet, read her profiles of and conversations with […]

Read More
Load More