Minneapolis is designated as a Gold-level community due to the city's excellent planning policies, high level of staff commitment to pedestrian safety, and pedestrian campaigns and events. Highlights of Minneapolis’s application include:
- Minneapolis has a large amount of staff dedicated to pedestrian issues. Through the Public Works Department employing staff to maintain and repair sidewalks, the Minneapolis Public School System employing full time staff to work on Safe Routes to School, and several ambassador programs promoting walking and working towards creating a welcoming pedestrian environment throughout the City, Minneapolis has a multitude of opportunities for pedestrian issues to be addressed.
- Minneapolis’s extensive sidewalk network is an example of how the City is devoted to providing pedestrian facilities. Over 90 percent of streets in Minneapolis have complete sidewalks and over 80 percent of streets have sidewalks on both sides of the street. The City’s Sidewalk Inspections Office conducts an annual sidewalk and curb ramp repair program that replaces any defective sidewalks and curb ramps on a regular basis. Minneapolis also promotes the walking environment by providing pedestrian facilities on bridges throughout the City. Currently, all bridges have sidewalks on at least one side and all new bridges must provide pedestrian facilities.
- Minneapolis has a number of pedestrian-oriented campaigns and events to educate and encourage residents to walk.
- Safe Routes is a collection of educational lessons for various school grades on pedestrian and bicycle safety.
- BikeWalkMove is part of a public service campaign conducted by BikeWalk Twin Cities and the City of Minneapolis Department of Health and Family Support in North Minneapolis to provide educational messages and awareness messages about bicycling and walking in a variety of public spaces including newspapers, bus boards, and radio ads.
- Bike/Walk to Work Week is an event meant to showcase the advantages of commuting to work in alternate ways.
- Open Streets, based on the Colombian ciclovia, is a walking and cycling event for all in the City. By closing the street to motorists, residents are able to recreate and explore their City without the presence of automobiles.
- Minneapolis conducts pedestrian counts through several different methods and agencies to help provide an accurate depiction of the pedestrian activity within the City. The Department of Public Works has conducted pedestrian counts around the City every September from 2007 on. Since 1958, the City of Minneapolis has conducted counts of all modes of transportation through its periodic Downtown Cordon Count, the most recent being in 2003. The third instance of pedestrian counting is conducted as part of the periodic intersection turning movement counts conducted by the Department of Public Works.
- The pedestrian street lighting in Minneapolis provides a safe walking environment for pedestrians during the hours when visibility is limited. Nearly all arterial and non-arterial streets have lighting on one or both sides of the streets making walking at night safer.
- Minneapolis’s parking standards are representative of working towards creating a more pedestrian friendly environment. All zoning districts in Minneapolis have maximum parking standards and no minimum parking standards. The City has a number of priced parking spaces in garages and metered spaces as well as a large number of park and ride spaces with bus service to the downtown area. Ground floor parking garages must have commercial, residential, office, or hotel uses between the parking garage and public sidewalks to foster a better walking environment.
- The crosswalk practices in Minneapolis are indicative of the City’s push for a safe walking environment. All designated midblock crosswalks have overhead flashing beacons and use high visibility striping. Marked crosswalks are provided at all signalized intersections throughout the City.
News and Updates
- November 1, 2013: Applications open (Deadline: December 15, 2013).
- Oct. 29, 2013: PBIC names Eight new Walk Friendly Communities.
- May 21, 2013: Three new communities earn Walk Friendly designations.
- Nov. 28, 2012: "Giving Cities Legs: Ideas and Inspirations From Walk Friendly Communities" is now available online.