Twelve on-the-ground staff members (ten youths, two adults), all from the Frogtown neighborhood, worked to form partnerships with the Frogtown community, encourage youth development and leadership, implement a neighborhood-wide outreach program and promote transportation advocacy.
Frogtown Crew Mission Statement
To awaken and educate the minds of Frogtown through arts and outreach on sustainable transportation while staying rooted in the community.
The creation of the Frogtown Crew represented a shift from the previous neighborhood programs. For the fourth neighborhood program, Frogtown was chosen because it had low rates of walking and biking, both for transportation and leisure, despite being well served by public transit.
The program’s goal was to equip the youth to become leaders in their neighborhood now and for years to come. The program also aimed to successfully engage the neighborhood and create a stronger interest in bicycling and walking among family members, friends, local organizations, and neighbors.
The Frogtown Neighborhoods Program was Smart Trips’ largest neighborhoods program to date. It began with 12 high school students who lived in the Frogtown neighborhood. The youth were chosen for their interest in community issues, leadership skills and use of sustainable transportation to get around. The diverse crew members were able to engage with many different populations of the community by tapping into their specific needs, barriers, and solutions.
At the onset of the program, the youth were evaluated to establish an understanding about the youth’s attitudes and interactions with transportation. The evaluation team found that:
- 100% used public transportation
- 100% walked for transportation
- 1 youth biked for transportation
- 11 youth did not have a bike
- 100% could not define sustainable transportation
From 2013-2014, the youth crew learned about transportation issues in the Frogtown Neighborhood, developed leadership skills, and work on team building. A year later, the youth were evaluated again:
- 100% crew members have bikes
- 100% crew members know basic bike mechanics (i.e. changing a flat tire, fixing a chain)
- 100% know how and where to refer community members to access a bike for free
- 3 youth bike for transportation
- 100% can define sustainable transportation
- 100% can educate others on sustainable transportation
The youth moved into the second phase of the Frogtown Neighborhoods Program in 2014. The crew began to focus on community outreach. They began developing and leading community events. From 2014-2015, the youth engaged their community to walk, bike, and take transit more often.
They were also involved in the creation and the implementation of a neighborhood-wide survey that measure their impact in the community in 2014 and administered supplemental surveys in 2015.
During the summer of 2014:
- 39% of respondents used the bus twice a month or less.
- 43% of respondents biked twice a month or less.
- 65% of respondents rode the light rail* twice a month or less.
Residents also responded to questions about their current perceptions of using sustainable
transportation options in Frogtown, as well as their awareness of local community-based
- 85% of respondents felt “safe” or “very safe” biking, walking or busing in their neighborhood, mostly because they were familiar with the area and knew people who lived nearby.
- Residents who talked about barriers to feeling safe indicated that crime, poor infrastructure, and the behavior of cyclists and motorists made them feel unsafe biking, busing or riding the light rail (the Green Line light rail track opened on June 14th, 2014 in the Frogtown neighborhood after survey collection was completed).
- Many Frogtown residents were unaware of local community-based organizations that support community building and sustainable transportation initiatives in their neighborhood.
The youth crew designed and installed 30 customized bike racks in the Frogtown Neighborhood. They partnered with Dero Bike Racks, a Minneapolis based company, to create a unique bike rack that displayed the Frogtown logo. The crew members found local businesses and other members of the community who were willing to install the Frogtown bike racks on their property.
Chalk the Pavement
The Frogtown Crew held a community event inspired by the art movement Paint the Pavement. The youth created a chalk mural in the middle a St. Paul intersection to celebrate the completion of the Charles Bike Boulevard.
With a goal to celebrate Frogtown’s diversity and build awareness around transportation options, the youth crew painted a mural in the community. They worked with a local artist to design a mural that depicted the themes and goals of the Frogtown Program.
For a full list of their projects, read more at here.
The Frogtown Crew successfully ended in December 2015. Throughout its duration, the crew gave agency to the youth, and the Frogtown community as a whole. The close mentorship of a small group helped them develop community engagement, event planning, and transportation advocacy skills to create transformative change in the neighborhood.
As the Frogtown Crew’s work drew to a close, Smart Trips did not want to stop working with the youth interns to promote transportation initiatives in Frogtown. Crew members were hired to form the Youth Initiative, where they continue to advocacy work to influence transportation policy in Frogtown. Learn more about their work here.
Learn More About the Frogtown Crew
The Metropolitan Council captured a day in the life of the Frogtown Crew as they prepare for their 2014 neighborhood projects. Check out what the crew has been up to, what they’ve learned, and what they plan to do with their new knowledge and skills.
Visit here to learn more about the history of the Frogtown Crew.
Thanks to Our Funders
Funding for this program is provided by:
Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota
Central Corridor Funders Collaborative
Bike Walk Twin Cities, a program of Transit for Livable Communities
Youth Job Corps
Contact Emma Pachuta
Program Director, Smart Trips Neighborhoods
651-224-8555 ext. 22