Pedestrian master plan approval is first step to making city more walkable

The Minneapolis City Council approved its first-ever pedestrian master plan Friday, Oct. 16, providing guidance on creating a great walking city where people choose to walk for transportation, recreation and health. The pedestrian master plan defines and addresses ways to increase and improve walking in Minneapolis using various approaches. The plan is part of Access Minneapolis, the City's 10-year transportation plan.

Minneapolis has an extensive sidewalk system, many great places to walk, and many programs and policies for improving walking and the pedestrian environment. But there’s room for improvement. Public input was sought at three open houses in the creation of the pedestrian master plan. With assistance from the public, common barriers to walking were identified including those that relate to conflicts between pedestrians and cars at intersections and along busy streets; streets that lack trees and have little buffer from traffic lanes; and maintenance issues related to snow, newspaper boxes and construction zones.

One approach to improving walking identifies gaps in infrastructure, such as places where sidewalks are missing or don’t connect. Other approaches are about making streets and crossings safer, improving accessibility, promoting a walking culture, and fostering a vibrant street life and public spaces where people want to be. This includes streets that are comfortable and attractive for walking – with street trees, pedestrian-level lighting and street furnishings. Maintenance issues, such as sidewalk snow clearance, are also addressed.

Access Minneapolis is the City of Minneapolis’ transportation plan that addresses a full range of transportation options and issues, including pedestrians, bicycles, transit, automobiles and freight. The purpose of Access Minneapolis is to identify specific actions that the City and its partner agencies need to take within the next 10 years to implement transportation policies.

Oct. 19, 2009

Published Oct. 19, 2009