Initiative details

You can learn more details about the Open Streets initiative.

Initiative details

The importance of Open Streets

Reimagining our streets as places

Open Streets Minneapolis helps the City reach many goals around

  • Public health
  • Community engagement
  • Active transportation

Community engagement

Open Streets Minneapolis provides opportunities to engage with the public around

  • City initiatives
  • Upcoming infrastructure projects
  • Open Streets allows people to socialize with fellow citizen.

They can do so in a non-threatening, apolitical environment.

It allows individuals, community organizations, and City officials to

  • Build social capital
  • Develop a wider understanding of their City and each other
  • Has the potential to make streets friendlier to all people

Open Streets Minneapolis events

Open Streets events are

  • Free for participants
  • Not competitive (are not races)
  • Do not have a designated beginning or end point. This means people that attend can join and exit at any location along route

The Open Streets Minneapolis initiative is unique to Minneapolis. It is not affiliated with other state, national, or international Open Streets initiatives.

Open Streets Minneapolis events have the following features:

Take place on major urban corridors

These events happen on corridors (streets, roads) that mostly serve motorized traffic. This includes streets that tend to act as business and commercial corridors.

Connect many neighborhoods

  • Open Streets events allow nearby neighborhoods to connect.
  • Especially neighborhoods that may feel isolated from each other due to:
  • Land use patterns
  • High-volume roadways

Foot traffic for local businesses

The events encourage visitors the discover businesses along the route. This supports local economic vitality.

Strong destinations

Open Streets have strong destinations such as

  • Parks
  • Major businesses
  • Areas of programming

Occur over many blocks of City streets

Ideally, Open Streets events span over two miles in length.

Different types of routes

Organizers design Open Streets events in different arrangements. While historically linear, routes can also be in a loop or with an “arm and loop”


Open Streets Minneapolis events are free.

They allow people to

  • Engage in physical activity
  • Meet their neighbors
  • Discover businesses in neighborhoods throughout the City

How Open Streets has influenced City departments

Many departments have used Open Streets Minneapolis to further their missions. Open Streets Minneapolis goals align with City department's goals. It holds potential for growing partnerships.

Minneapolis Health Department

The Minneapolis Health Department, for example, has a mission to Improve the quality of life for all people in the City by

  • Protecting the environment
  • Preventing disease and injury
  • Promoting healthy behaviors
  • Creating a city that is a healthy place to live, work, and play

The Health Department has also

  • Led the community engagement and planning around the North Minneapolis Greenway Project.
  • Helped to develop an Open Streets route along one of the proposed corridors. They did this to allow people to experience what the future Greenway may feel like

Minneapolis Police Department (MPD)

The Minneapolis Police Department exists to

  • Provide quality and professional service in partnership with all communities and
  • Continue to advance the City's safety, growth and viability

MPD uses Open Streets Minneapolis to further goals around community interaction. Open Streets allows MPD to promote public safety and public trust.

How the initiative relates to other cities

There's a growing number of Open Streets initiatives throughout the United States.

Cities and towns of all sizes seek innovative ways to achieve goals of

  • Public health
  • Environmental
  • Social and economic goals
  • Fulfill residents’ desires to experience their streets in a different way

Similar initiatives

Throughout the country, similar initiatives go by names such as:

  • Sunday Parkways
  • Summer Streets
  • Streets Alive

Permitting process

When Open Streets Minneapolis started

The City approved it through the block event permit process. We use this permit type for a range of street events that need traffic control.

For the first two years of the initiative

The City required:

  • Written signature
  • Approval of 75 percent of adjacent property owners along the routes

To receive approval for the Open Streets routes:

The organizer worked closely with the City Block Event / Special Event (BESE) Committee. The process was long and tough. The proposed routes were longer than any event that has needed Block Event permit before.

Approval process changes in 2013

After accepting the Play Streets Grant:

We worked with the BESE Committee and other partners to develop a new process. This process did not need the written approval of the adjacent property owners.

With enough buy-in from local representatives and partner organizations:

We provided at least one round of door-hanger notifications to adjacent properties.

Contact us

Public Works




City Hall
350 Fifth St. S.
Room 203
Minneapolis, MN 55415


8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Monday – Friday

The office is not open to the public at this time.