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Minneapolis, MN

Walk Friendly Communities - Gold Level

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Community Highlights

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:

  • The City adopted a Complete Streets Policy in 2016 to address the needs of pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit users. The policy establishes a modal priority system that puts pedestrians first among road users.
  • Innovative Parklet and Street Cafe programs seek to enhance pedestrian spaces through partnerships with businesses and community organizations. By creating these unique spaces for people to gather, the City is being proactive about improving the pedestrian environment.
  • 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 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. 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.
    • Open Streets MPLS is hosted by the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition and co-sponsored by the City of Minneapolis. The event started in 2010 and now it takes place in multiple neighborhoods throughout the city each year! The events focus on promoting healthy living, sustainable transportation, civic pride, and local business.  
  • Since 2007, the Minneapolis Public Works Department has conducted annual pedestrian and bicyclist traffic counts at locations throughout the city. To determine annual changes in non-motorized traffic volumes, Public Works counts 23 benchmark locations for pedestrians. There are over 300 additional locations that are counted once every three or four years, and another 100 locations where special counts were conducted.
  • 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. 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 marked midblock crosswalks have overhead flashing beacons and use high visibility striping. Marked crosswalks are provided at all signalized intersections throughout the City.