Public Works

350 South 5th Street
RM 203 City Hall
Minneapolis, MN  55415-1390

Minneapolis Pedestrian Master Plan

Table of Contents

Appendices

Acknowledgements

This plan was prepared by the City of Minneapolis Public Works Department with support from the Pedestrian Advisory Committee, Technical Staff Team and Consultant Team. Funding for this plan was provided by the City of Minneapolis, as well as through grants from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, and Bike/Walk Twin Cities.

Pedestrian Advisory Committee

James Adams, Senior Citizens Advisory Committee
James Andrew, Metropolitan Council
Theresa Cain, Metro Transit
Aaron Day, City of Lakes Chamber of Commerce
Anna Flintoft, Minneapolis Department of Public Works
Anna Gillette, Minneapolis Resident
Martha Hage, Mayor’s Committee on People with Disabilities
Diane Hansen, Minneapolis Resident
Sarah Harris, Walking Minneapolis
Elizabeth Haugen, Minneapolis Communications Department
Steven Hay, Minneapolis Community Planning & Economic Development (CPED)
Robin Hennessy, Minneapolis Attorney’s Office
Mary Jackson, Minnesota Department of Transportation
Kristin Klingler, Minneapolis Department of Health and Family Support
Karen Nikolai, Hennepin County
Jennifer Ringold, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board
Mike Rumppe, Minneapolis Fire Department
Jan Sandberg, Minneapolis Resident
Steve Sanders, University of Minnesota
David Smith, Minneapolis School District
Mackenzie Turner, Bicycle Advisory Committee
Kathy Waite, Minneapolis Police Department
Mary Watson, Minneapolis Resident

City Technical Staff Team

Dan Bauer, Public Works Sidewalk Inspections
Beth Elliott, CPED – Community Planning
Anna Flintoft, Public Works – Transportation Planning & Engineering
Mark Garner, CPED – Business Development
Greg Schroeder, Public Works – Transportation Planning & Engineering
Jim Steffel, Public Works – Traffic and Parking Services
Janelle Widmeier, CPED – Land Use Planning
Jack Yuzna, Public Works – Transportation Planning & Engineering

Consultant Team

T. Y. Lin International, Inc.
SRF Consulting Group, Inc.

Executive Summary

Everyone walks, whether young or old, whether on foot or using a mobility device, whether as a walking trip alone or in conjunction with driving, taking transit, or bicycling. Walking is an essential mode of transportation for everyone in Minneapolis, and it contributes to the success of public transit, vibrant business districts, healthy citizens, and safe neighborhoods.

Minneapolis has an extensive sidewalk system, many great places to walk, and many programs and policies oriented to improving walking and the pedestrian environment. But theres room for improvement. Some of the most common barriers to walking identified by the public through the Minneapolis Pedestrian Master Plan process 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.

The Minneapolis Pedestrian Master Plan is one of six components of Access Minneapolis, the City’s transportation action plan to implement the transportation policies articulated in The Minneapolis Plan for Sustainable Growth, the City’s long-range comprehensive plan. The plan was developed under the guidance of the City’s Pedestrian Advisory Committee and contains detailed implementation strategies focused upon 7 goals for making Minneapolis a great walking city where people choose to walk for transportation, recreation, and health:

Goal 1: A Well-Connected Walkway System

Pedestrians need a well-connected network of walkways to provide direct access to many origins and destinations and facilitate short walking trips. Minneapolis’ historic street grid provides small block sizes that are appropriately sized for walking throughout most of the city and an extensive sidewalk system covering 92% of streets. The City also has a large bicycle/pedestrian trail system, over 100 pedestrian/bicycle bridges, and an 8 mile network of skyways in downtown. Maintaining and improving the connectivity of these walkway systems is essential to increasing walking in Minneapolis.

The landmark Stone Arch Bridge across the Mississippi River is an important connection in the pedestrian network.

This section of Osseo Road in North Minneapolis is an example of a street with no sidewalks.

Goal 2: Accessibility for All Pedestrians

Pedestrians of all ages and ability levels need to be able to safely and conveniently travel on foot or with a mobility device. Accessible pedestrian facilities benefit a broad range of users, including people with temporary and permanent disabilities, senior citizens, children on bicycles, and adults with wheeled luggage, strollers/wagons or grocery carts.

A part of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), originally passed in 1990, required that infrastructure in the public right of way be made accessible to all users, which triggered significant changes to the design and construction of pedestrian facilities. As a result, pedestrian curb ramps were installed at nearly all intersections in Minneapolis. However, the pedestrian system is not yet fully accessible and barriers remain.

People of all ages and abilities need to safely and conveniently travel as pedestrians.

All pedestrians benefit from accessible facilities, including pedestrians with wheeled luggage.

Goal 3: Safe Streets and Crossings

Pedestrians need to be able to safely and conveniently cross streets and travel along streets. Concerns about the safety of crossing streets was a common concern reported through the pedestrian master planning process.

Curb extensions such as these crossing Lake Street shorten pedestrian crossings and improve visibility between pedestrians and drivers.

The intersection of Cedar Avenue and Washington Avenue ("Seven Corners") is a complex intersection with a high incidence of pedestrian crashes.

Goal 4: A Pedestrian Environment that Fosters Walking

In addition to needing physical walkway connections, accessible pedestrian facilities and safe street crossings, pedestrians need a walking environment that feels safe and secure, that is interesting, that offers conveniences, and that attracts other people walking. Many of these elements are achieved through the land uses and walking destinations along the sidewalk. However, other elements within the public right-of-way also contribute to a pedestrian environment that fosters walking, including: a buffer from moving traffic, adequate sidewalk and boulevard space, trees, adequate sidewalk lighting, appropriately-designed pedestrian facilities on bridges, street furniture, public art, and places for people to socialize.

The weekly farmers market on Nicollet Mall one is one of the most popular pedestrian experiences in the City.

This section of Franklin Avenue is a high quality pedestrian environment, including benches, trees, pedestrian-level lighting, and comfortable sidewalk widths.

Goal 5: A Well-Maintained Pedestrian System

Many of the concerns raised through the Minneapolis Pedestrian Master Plan process relate to the everyday operations and maintenance of the pedestrian system, including snow and ice clearance, sidewalk repair, regulation of newspaper boxes and sidewalk cafes, and sidewalk closures in work zones.

During construction, pedestrian safety and accessibility needs to be maintained.

Sidewalks that are not well cleared of snow can remain icy and slippery all winter.

Goal 6: A Culture of Walking

In order to get more people to walk in Minneapolis, physical infrastructure improvements are very important, but equally important are efforts to change people’s personal habits, cultural norms, and perceptions about walking. A lot of people rely on automobiles for travel to destinations that are walkable in Minneapolis. In order to change people’s habits and perceptions, the City needs help to foster a culture of walking.

One of the ways that the City is promoting walking is through the Bike Walk Ambassador Program. The program is currently staffed by four ambassadors and several summer youth ambassadors who provide give presentations, lead walks, and host events within Minneapolis and 13 adjacent communities.

Integrating walking into one’s daily routine depends not only on the physical environment and proximity of walkable destinations, but also on individual habits and cultural norms.

Goal 7: Funding, Tools and Leadership for Implementing Pedestrian Improvements

Although Minneapolis has a lot of great places to walk and good pedestrian facilities in many areas of the City, there are a lot of potential pedestrian facility improvements. To implement improvements, the City needs to proactively prioritize pedestrian needs alongside other transportation needs, while also ensuring that ongoing opportunities to improve pedestrian facilities through infrastructure improvements and new development are maximized.

The Minneapolis Pedestrian Master Plan includes a prioritized list of over 150 potential pedestrian improvement projects which may be used as the basis for an ongoing pedestrian improvement program. Pedestrian design guidelines that illustrate best practices in designing pedestrian facilities were also developed in conjunction with the plan and are published as Chapter 10 of the City’s Design Guidelines for Streets and Sidewalks.

Chapter 1 – Introduction

Why Walking Matters

Transportation and Equity

Everyone walks, whether young or old, whether on foot or using a mobility device, whether as a walking trip alone or in conjunction with driving, taking transit, or bicycling. Walking is an essential mode of transportation for everyone who lives, works, plays in or visits Minneapolis.

Walking is the only mode of transportation universally affordable to everyone. It is particularly important to Minneapolis residents who do not drive, including children, many people with disabilities, many senior citizens, and people who cannot afford to own and operate a car. 1

Walking is also a critical component of the public transportation system. In order to make public transit a viable choice for more people, the walking environment to/from and at transit stops must be safe, comfortable and convenient.

Community and Economy

People want to live in neighborhoods that are safe and walkable. Streets and neighborhoods feel safer and are safer when people are out walking. People who walk get to know their neighbors.

Walking and walkable environments support the local economy. The most successful commercial districts in Minneapolis rely on high levels of foot traffic. Vibrant public spaces are attractive to both employers and employees when choosing where to locate. Pedestrians support local businesses while en-route to other destinations. Cities with vibrant walkable places attract tourists.

Public Health and Environment

Walking is a great form of physical fitness; it’s one of the simplest and cheapest ways to be active. In the field of public health, there is growing interest in walking and walkable environments as tools to help manage obesity and heart disease. Studies demonstrate total physical activity is substantially higher among people living in high-walkable, compared to low-walkable communities. 2, 3 4 5

Increasing walking and improving walking are critical components of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Walking relies on human power and has negligible environmental impact. Quality walking environments and a culture of walking help to make transit a viable choice, improve air quality, and provide healthy trees and quality greenspaces.

Walking in Minneapolis

Minneapolis has many great places to walk. Nicollet Mall, the Stone Arch Bridge, and the Grand Rounds parkway and trail system are well-loved and well-used places to walk for both residents and visitors. Minneapolis’ historic urban form – with its tight street grid and extensive sidewalk system, commercial development along transit corridors and nodes, and neighborhood parks – provides a pedestrian-oriented network of good places to walk throughout the City’s neighborhoods.

Minneapolis has a lot of people walking. According to the US Census, in 2007, Minneapolis was the #9 City for the share of residents who walk to work among the 50 largest cities by number of workers living there. Over 6% of workers living in Minneapolis commuted to work primarily by walking in 2007 (12,000 people), and an additional 13% (25,000 people) used public transit as their primary means of transportation to work. (See Table 1.) Walking rates are even higher when considering all types of trips, not just commute to work trips. The 2000 Metropolitan Council Travel Behavior Inventory showed that 13% of all trips within Minneapolis are made by walking, compared with 5.6% for the Seven County region. 6

Minneapolis has many programs and policies oriented to improving walking and the pedestrian environment, such as the School Pedestrian Safety Program, pedestrian-oriented overlay zoning regulations, Street and Sidewalk Design Guidelines, and Art in Public Places Program to name a few.

But theres room for improvement. Some of the most common barriers to walking identified by the public through the Minneapolis Pedestrian Master Plan process 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.

Table 1: Top Cities for Residents Walking to Work*

Ranking

City

% Walk

%Transit

Total Workers

1

Boston, MA

13.3%

34.0%

304,214

2

Washington, DC

11.1%

36.4%

289,798

3

New York, NY

10.3%

54.6%

3,683,489

4

San Francisco, CA

9.7%

33.0%

416,568

5

Seattle, WA

8.3%

18.6%

323,233

6

Philadelphia, PA

7.9%

25.3%

572,404

7

Baltimore, MD

7.0%

19.4%

263,159

8

Honolulu, HI

6.8%

11.1%

173,270

9

Minneapolis, MN

6.4%

13.4%

189,612

10

Chicago, IL

5.4%

26.7%

1,230,933

11

Oakland, CA

5.2%

15.8%

161,892

12

Milwaukee, WI

4.6%

8.5%

248,894

13

Portland, OR

4.4%

11.2%

280,933

14

Denver, CO

4.3%

7.7%

291,538

15

Tucson, AZ

4.0%

3.2%

236,760

16

Atlanta, GA

3.8%

11.7%

207,771

17

Los Angeles, CA

3.7%

11.3%

1,742,084

18

Long Beach, CA

3.6%

6.9%

204,949

19

Sacramento, CA

3.4%

2.8%

200,919

20

Raleigh, NC

3.1%

2.2%

185,874

21

Detroit, MI

2.7%

8.5%

249,970

22

Columbus, OH

2.7%

3.1%

353,418

23

San Diego, CA

2.6%

4.5%

621,733

24

Anaheim, CA

2.6%

5.1%

156,826

25

Colorado Springs, CO

2.5%

1.5%

192,675

26

Tulsa, OK

2.4%

0.8%

184,146

27

Louisville/Jefferson County, KY

2.4%

4.0%

256,522

28

Albuquerque, NM

2.4%

2.2%

245,248

29

El Paso, TX

2.2%

2.3%

236,142

30

Kansas City, MO

2.2%

3.8%

208,658

31

San Antonio, TX

2.2%

3.3%

567,166

32

Houston, TX

2.2%

4.9%

956,581

33

Omaha, NE

2.1%

1.3%

187,010

34

Las Vegas, NE

2.1%

5.0%

257,012

35

Memphis, TN

2.1%

2.6%

271,901

36

Fresno, CA

2.0%

2.4%

194,244

37

Virginia Beach, VA

2.0%

0.8%

229,737

38

Austin, TX

2.0%

4.9%

403,818

39

San Jose, CA

2.0%

3.8%

441,854

40

Mesa, AZ

1.9%

2.5%

220,085

41

Phoenix, AZ

1.8%

4.0%

699,789

42

Charlotte, NC

1.8%

3.3%

339,129

43

Indianapolis, IN

1.7%

1.5%

372,802

44

Arlington, TX

1.4%

0.2%

182,105

45

Dallas, TX

1.4%

4.2%

577,991

46

Wichita, KS

1.4%

0.6%

172,952

47

Jacksonville, FL

1.3%

1.4%

389,675

48

Nashville-Davidson, TN

1.2%

2.3%

300,017

49

Fort Worth, TX

1.2%

1.1%

296,006

50

Oklahoma City, OK

1.0%

0.7%

254,536

* among top 50 US cities by number workers 16 years and older living there
Source: 2007 American Communities Survey, U.S. Census

Plan Purpose and Contents

Plan Purpose

The purpose of the Minneapolis Pedestrian Master Plan is to:

Provide guidance on making Minneapolis a great walking city where people choose to walk for transportation, recreation, and health.

The specific tasks of this plan were to:

1. Assess the current condition of the pedestrian environment

2. Assess the effectiveness of current policies and practices

3. Prioritize physical improvements over the next 20 years

4. Develop a pedestrian design guide

5. Recommend funding and implementation strategies

The results of Tasks 1, 2, and 5 are integrated into the 7 goals which form the bulk of this plan. Task 3 is included in Appendix C and addressed in Goal 7. Task 4 is published under separate cover as part of the City’s Design Guidelines for Streets and Sidewalks and is addressed specifically in Goal 7.

Plan Organization

The plan chapters are organized as follows:

6. Introduction – Chapter 1 introduces the importance of walking and walkable communities, the purpose of the pedestrian master plan, the organization of the plan, pedestrian issues which are not addressed in the plan, and a summary of public input into the plan.

7. Planning Context – Chapter 2 explains the relationship of the Minneapolis Pedestrian Master Plan to other city plans, regional plans and initiatives which address walking, city zoning regulations related to pedestrians, and city commissions and committees working on pedestrian issues.

8. Where People Walk – Chapter 3 presents a summary of information gathered through the planning process on where people currently walk and where the city expects more pedestrians in the future.

9. Goal 1: A Well-Connected Walkway System

10. Goal 2: Accessibility for All Pedestrians – Chapter 5 addresses issues related to accessibility for all pedestrians, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements, and implementation of best practices for accessible design of pedestrian facilities.

11. Goal 3: Safe Streets and Crossings – Chapter 6 addresses issues related to crossing the street and reducing conflicts between pedestrians and motor vehicles, including characteristics of pedestrian-related traffic crashes, traffic safety education/enforcement, safety for children and senior citizens, traffic signals, and crosswalk markings.

12. Goal 4: A Pedestrian Environment that Fosters Walking – Chapter 7 addresses issues related to physical width of sidewalks and boulevards, sidewalks on vehicular bridges and underpasses, street lighting, trees, street furniture, and fostering vibrant public spaces for street life.

13. Goal 5: A Well-Maintained Pedestrian System – Chapter 8 addresses maintenance and operations issues such as snow and ice clearance, sidewalk repair, managing encroachments on sidewalks, and maintaining pedestrian safety and accessibility in construction zones.

14. Goal 6: A Culture of Walking – Chapter 9 addresses education, outreach and programming efforts for increasing rates of walking and influencing individual and cultural travel habits and perceptions related to walking.

15. Goal 7: Funding, Tools and Leadership for Implementing Pedestrian Improvements – Chapter 10 addresses overall funding, tools and leadership for implementing pedestrian improvements.

16. Implementing the Plan – Chapter 11 includes a summary of the goals, objectives and strategies in Chapters 4-10 and next steps for implementing the plan.

The Plan appendices include:

a. Existing Condition and Plan MapsAppendix A includes over 25 maps of existing conditions of pedestrian facilities, indicators of pedestrian demand, and City policy maps relevant to pedestrians.

b. The Minneapolis Plans Goals and Policies Related to Pedestrians Appendix B includes many of the goals and policies in The Minneapolis Plan for Sustainable Growth related to pedestrians.

c. Priority Improvement Projects Evaluation Appendix C includes the methodology and results of the prioritization of over 150 pedestrian improvement projects developed for the Minneapolis Pedestrian Master Plan.

d. Laws and Ordinances – Appendix D includes selected state statutes and city ordinances related to pedestrians.

e. Potential Funding SourcesAppendix E includes a listing of potential funding sources for pedestrian improvements.

f. Public Engagement Appendix F includes detailed summaries of public input received through three public meetings and an online survey.

What the Plan Does Not Address

In addition to the 7 goals in this plan, there are two other essential elements of great walking cities which are very important to the City of Minneapolis, but are not addressed in this plan because they are addressed through other plans and regulations.

Public Involvement and Stakeholder Input

The Minneapolis Pedestrian Master Plan process was initiated in January 2008. Two advisory committees guided the planning process: the Pedestrian Advisory Committee and a team of City staff from Public Works and Community Planning and Economic Development. The membership of these committees is included in the acknowledgements at the beginning of this plan.

Public input was obtained through:

March 2008 Pedestrian Master Plan public meeting

Chapter 2 - Planning Context

Relationship to Other City Plans

The Minneapolis Pedestrian Master Plan is one of six components of Access Minneapolis, the City’s transportation action plan to implement the transportation policies articulated in The Minneapolis Plan for Sustainable Growth, the City’s long-range comprehensive plan. The policies of The Minneapolis Plan are often advanced through more detailed plans, such as Access Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Pedestrian Master Plan, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Relationship of Minneapolis Plans Addressing Pedestrian Needs

Access Minneapolis Transportation Action Plan 7

In addition to the Minneapolis Pedestrian Master Plan, the other five components of Access Minneapolis include:

The Minneapolis Plan for Sustainable Growth 8

The Minneapolis Plan for Sustainable Growth has many goals and policies related to pedestrians, which are detailed in Appendix B. Of particular importance is the Plan’s guidance on future growth. Over the next 25 years, Minneapolis is expected to grow by nearly 60,000 residents and 40,000 employees, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Projected Population & Employment Growth

Source: The Minneapolis Plan for Sustainable Growth

The Plan directs this growth in a sustainable, concentrated manner to specific areas of the City that are well served by public transit and that can support a mixture and density of land uses to serve access by walking, bicycling and transit:

Minneapolis will develop and maintain a land use pattern that strengthens the vitality, quality and urban character of its downtown core, commercial corridors, industrial areas, and neighborhoods while protecting natural systems and developing a sustainable pattern for future growth. 9

These growth areas are called "designated land use features" in the plan and are shown in Map A-1. They include downtown, 18 activity centers, 18 commercial corridors, 65 neighborhood commercial nodes, 41 community corridors, 4 growth centers, and 12 transit station areas. The plan has extensive guidance on the importance of planning and designing these designated land use features to be oriented to pedestrian needs (see Appendix B).

The designated land use features in Map A-1 are used for prioritizing various city programs, such as eligibility for the City’s Great Streets program. They were also used for the pedestrian improvement project prioritization in Appendix C.

Other City Plans

Other City plans relevant to pedestrians include:

Regional Plans and Initiatives Related to Pedestrians

There are a number of other plans and initiatives related to pedestrians in the Twin Cities region that support the goals of the Minneapolis Pedestrian Master Plan, including:

Minneapolis Zoning Regulations

While generally not part of the public right-of-way, the design and use of private property can have a significant impact on the public pedestrian environment. The public pedestrian environment is typically the front door to private property, and the design of the public and private realms go hand in hand.

The City of Minneapolis has a number of land use regulations in its zoning code that help the City to implement the objectives of The Minneapolis Plan for Sustainable Growth. Many of the provisions of the zoning code are oriented to improving the quality of the built environment for pedestrians. This section summarizes some of the most significant provisions in the zoning code for pedestrians.

Site Planning

The City’s zoning code (Chapter 530) includes site plan review standards intended to promote development that is compatible with the land use and urban character of the City. Specific elements of the zoning code for most zoning districts include:

Pedestrian Oriented Overlay Districts

The Citys zoning code (chapter 551) also includes a provision for Pedestrian Oriented Overlay Districts. The purpose of these districts is to preserve and encourage the pedestrian character of commercial areas and to promote street life and activity by regulating building orientation and design and accessory parking facilities, and by prohibiting certain high impact and automobile-oriented uses. There are currently 17 Pedestrian Oriented Overlay Districts in Minneapolis, including many of the activity centers and commercial corridors identified in The Minneapolis Plan for Sustainable Growth.

Off-Street Parking Requirements

The City’s zoning code (chapter 541) regulates the number of off-street parking and loading spaces that must be provided when establishing or expanding land uses in Minneapolis. Off-street parking regulations are an important element of creating a good walking city. An oversupply of off-street parking can encourage driving instead of walking or taking transit, and it conflicts with the traditional urban character of walkable cities.

In January 2009, the City updated its off-street parking regulations to better retain and enhance Minneapolis’ traditional urban and transit-oriented character. Changes included eliminating minimum parking requirements in the downtown zoning districts, establishing parking maximums (a strategy previously limited to the City’s Pedestrian Oriented Overlay Districts), and substantially lowering the off-street parking requirements for small-scale restaurants and coffee shops.

Pedestrian Plazas

In February 2009, the City amended its zoning code (chapter 535) to establish development standards for pedestrian plazas to promote year-round gathering places designed to enhance pedestrian access, interaction and visibility, reinforce public spaces, create community identity, promote public safety, and visually enhance development. The standards were developed to resolve issues arising from past plaza developments, such as lack of seating, lack of landscaping and other amenities, and poor pedestrian access.

City Commissions and Committees

The Minneapolis Pedestrian Advisory Committee (PAC) was established in 2007 concurrent with early development of the Minneapolis Pedestrian Master Plan and the beginning of the Non-Motorized Transportation Pilot Program. The mission of the Pedestrian Advisory Committee is to advise the Mayor and City Council on policies, programs, and actions for improving pedestrian safety, mobility, accessibility, and comfort; for promoting walking for transportation, recreation, and health purposes; and for strengthening the linkage between the pedestrian environment and public transportation.

The PAC includes 25 members representing the following organizations and constituencies:

In addition to the PAC, the City of Minneapolis has several other commissions and committees that advise the City on issues related to improving the pedestrian environment and increasing walking. These include:

Chapter 3 - Where People Walk

Minneapolis is a densely-populated urban environment, and people walk throughout the city. Nevertheless, there are some areas where existing and potential future pedestrian demand is higher than others. A number of indicators of where people walk have been gathered through the Minneapolis Pedestrian Master Plan process. This information was used to help prioritize pedestrian improvement projects, as documented in Appendix C, and may be useful in the future to prioritize pedestrian improvements.

The Minneapolis Plan

As described in Chapter 2, The Minneapolis Plan for Sustainable Growth, directs future growth to the designated land use features in Map A-1. These are the locations where pedestrian-oriented development are anticipated to increase and, as a result, pedestrian volumes are anticipated to increase; however, they also largely reflect existing concentrations of pedestrians. This is particularly true for the commercial corridors, community corridors, neighborhood commercial and some of the activity centers.

Population and Employment

Where population and employment concentrations are higher, pedestrian volumes are also likely to be higher. Some areas of Minneapolis, particularly downtown and the University of Minnesota area have high concentrations of population and employment. Map A-6 shows the relative densities of population and employment for the City.

Commercial Land Use

Pedestrian volumes are often higher in commercial areas. The location of commercial uses in Minneapolis are located largely along the commercial corridors, activity centers, and neighborhood commercial nodes that are designated land use features for future development in The Minneapolis Plan for Sustainable Growth. Map A-7 shows existing commercial areas.

Other Pedestrian Generators

Other important pedestrian generators in Minneapolis are shown in Map A-8 and include:

Public Transit

Every transit user is a pedestrian for some portion of the trip taken using transit. Unlike in the suburbs where many transit users drive to park n ride lots, in Minneapolis transit users walk to the transit stop using the sidewalks, crosswalks, boulevards, and street lighting that are part of the citywide pedestrian system

Minneapolis has an extensive and growing transit system, including

Map A-4 shows the City’s planned Primary Transit Network (PTN), developed as part of the Access Minneapolis Citywide Transportation Action Plan. The PTN is a network of bus and rail corridors along which the City and Metro Transit intend to improve the quality of transit service, the quality of transit facilities, and the density of development. The Definite PTN corridors are the transit corridors that are already the most densely developed and that have service at least every 15 minutes through most of the week. These corridors are closely aligned with the designated land use features in Map A-1.

In addition, actual boardings by bus stop and train station are available and are shown in Map A-9, which provides useful detail on concentrations of transit passengers along the PTN.

Density and Diversity of Walkable Destinations

One of the characteristics of walkable communities is the density of and proximity of destinations that allow people to go about their daily lives by walking. Neighborhoods that have parks, schools, stores, restaurants, and other destinations within walking distance make it easier for people to walk and may be an indication of areas with higher pedestrian volumes.

One source for this information is walkscore.com 19

In Minneapolis, the "walkscore" of various locations around the City was entered into the website and is summarized on Map A-10.

Pedestrian Counts

During 2007 and 2008, pedestrian counts were conducted at strategic locations as part of the Bike/Walk Twin Cities program (see Map A-5). Among the locations with the highest estimated daily pedestrian volumes were Washington Avenue SE on the east bank of the University of Minnesota campus (21,700 pedestrians), Nicollet Mall (17,900 pedestrians), and 15 th Avenue SE in Dinkytown (7,200 pedestrians).

Chapter 4 - Goal 1: A Well-Connected Walkway System

Pedestrians need a well-connected network of walkways to provide direct access to many origins and destinations and facilitate short walking trips. Minneapolis historic street grid provides small block sizes that are appropriately sized for walking throughout most of the city. The existing pedestrian network in Minneapolis (see Map A-11) is extensive and provides many great places to walk, including:

However, there are opportunities to improve the connectivity of the pedestrian network in Minneapolis.

Objective 1.1: Complete the Sidewalk Network

Sidewalks are basic infrastructure that improve safety by separating pedestrians from moving traffic and reducing the need for pedestrians to cross the street unnecessarily. Even in industrial areas, sidewalks are necessary facilities that provide safe access between transit service and job opportunities.

92% of surface streets in Minneapolis have complete sidewalks on both sides of the street (see Map A-12 and Table 2). The remaining 7% of streets missing sidewalks on one or both sides equates to over 75 centerline miles of street and over 110 miles of potential sidewalk infill need.

This section of Osseo Road in North Minneapolis has no sidewalks.

Table 2: Sidewalk Inventory Summary

 

Street Centerline Miles

Linear Sidewalk  Miles*

Miles

%

Streets with Complete Sidewalks

994

92%

1,715

Sidewalks on both sides

864

80%

1,606

Sidewalk on one side sufficient

117

11%

109

No sidewalks needed

13

1%

0

Streets with Incomplete Sidewalks

76

7%

108

Gaps on both sides**

40

4%

75

Gaps on one side

35

3%

33

Unknown***

12

1%

23

Total

1,081

100%

1,845

* Assumed to be 93% of the length of the centerline, based upon average 32 foot wide street 495 foot block length
** Assumes streets with no sidewalks require sidewalks on both sides.
*** Sidewalk gaps on the "unknown" streets have not been verified, but are mostly in the
Heritage Park area where new streets with sidewalks are being constructed.
Source: Minneapolis Pedestrian Master Plan Sidewalk Inventory

The "easy" sidewalk gaps to fill have generally already been completed. The remaining gaps can be difficult to fill for a number of reasons:

An initial priority list of sidewalk infill has been identified through public input and are included in Appendix C.

Objective 1.2: Maintain and Improve Pedestrian Network Connectivity

Minneapolis’ existing street grid provides blocks that are typically between 330 and 660 feet in length, which makes it easy to get around by walking compared to many suburban areas. However, there are locations where the street grid is much larger due to the freeway, railroads, and large developments, as well as natural barriers such as the river and lakes. Low pedestrian network connectivity deters walking by increasing walking distances and walking times.

Areas with low pedestrian network connectivity have been mapped and are shown in Map A-13. These areas are defined as an effective block size perimeter of 3960 feet - double the size of a typical 330 x 660 foot block. There are a number of adopted City plans that identify improvements to the pedestrian network through new bicycle/pedestrian trails and bridges, new streets with sidewalks, and new sidewalk "shortcuts" through large blocks. These improvements are shown on Map A-14. These connections and a few others recommended through public input were included in the pedestrian improvement needs evaluation in Appendix C.

This block in the North Loop is over 2,000 ft long.

Street Vacations

One of the major challenges the City faces in maintaining the connectivity of the pedestrian network is related to requests to vacate streets, typically for private development. Street vacations can facilitate redevelopment by providing larger parcels for developments. In some cases, street vacations have no impact on the pedestrian network; however, in many cases, street vacations result in larger block sizes and increase the distance pedestrians must walk to reach destinations. This is a challenge for maintaining a pedestrian scale street grid. The City also receives some requests to vacate a portion of the existing sidewalk to increase the development footprint, which may negatively impact the quality and accessibility of the pedestrian network.

The Minneapolis Plan for Sustainable Growth includes several policies related to maintaining the street grid:

Objective 1.3: Improve Skyway-Sidewalk Connectivity

The downtown skyway system (see Map A-3) is a unique asset that provides convenient, climate-controlled access between offices, retail, hotels, and parking ramps in the core of downtown. However, for those who don’t use the skyways regularly, they can be confusing and difficult to navigate. Internal wayfinding guidelines have been implemented at the skyway level, but access to the skyway system from the sidewalk can be difficult to find. Pedestrians need visible, easy to identify access to and from the skyway, especially when the most direct trip involves walking on-street.

The Access Minneapolis Downtown Transportation Action Plan (consistent with the Downtown East/North Loop Master Plan) includes a number of recommended actions related to the skyway system, including:

Objective 1.4: Improve Pedestrian Wayfinding Information

While the pedestrian network provides physical connections to destinations, sometimes it is necessary to provide additional information to help people navigate the pedestrian network.

Street name signs provide the most basic wayfinding information for pedestrians and should be oriented towards both pedestrians, as well as motorists.

In addition, in locations where larger numbers of pedestrians who are generally not familiar with an area congregate, such as cultural institutions, convention centers, entertainment districts, sports arenas, transit stations, and major tourist destinations, additional navigation information via wayfinding signs, kiosks, and/or maps may be needed. Wayfinding information is most appropriately placed at critical wayfinding decision points along a route. Wayfinding signage may also be coordinated with development of walking maps (see Objective 6.3: Showcase and Celebrate Great Walking Experiences).

Existing pedestrian wayfinding signage in Minneapolis includes downtown map kiosks on Nicollet Mall, directional signs to major destinations in downtown Minneapolis, and vicinity maps at light rail stations. The skyway system also has a system of wayfinding signage (see Objective 1.3: Improve Skyway-Sidewalk Connectivity). While there are standards for the skyway level wayfinding system, there is little guidance or standards on street-level wayfinding either downtown or citywide. Chapter 10 of the City’s Design Guidelines for Streets and Sidewalks includes some guidance on wayfinding signage design and placement, but additional guidance is needed to facilitate the ease of implementing future wayfinding projects as funding becomes available.

One of the biggest challenges to providing wayfinding signage is funding for the ongoing maintenance of the signs. Wayfinding signage needs to be maintained as the infrastructure becomes worn or damaged and as the information becomes outdated over time. Responsibility and funding for maintenance of wayfinding signage must be established before wayfinding infrastructure is installed.

These wayfinding kiosks on Nicollet Mall help pedestrians and particularly visitors get around by walking.

Chapter 5 - Goal 2: Accessibility for All Pedestrians

Pedestrians of all ages and ability levels need to be able to safely and conveniently travel on foot or with a mobility device. Accessible pedestrian facilities benefit a broad range of users, including people with temporary and permanent disabilities, senior citizens, children on bicycles, and adults with wheeled luggage, strollers/wagons or grocery carts.

A part of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), originally passed in 1990, required that infrastructure in the public right of way be made accessible to all users, which triggered significant changes to the design and construction of pedestrian facilities. As a result, pedestrian curb ramps were installed at nearly all intersections in Minneapolis. However, the pedestrian system is not yet fully accessible and barriers remain.

All pedestrians benefit from accessible facilities.

Objective 2.1: Identify and Remove Accessibility Barriers on Pedestrian Facilities

The ADA requires state and local governments of 50 or more employees to have an updated self-evaluation and ADA Transition Plan 20

Potential accessibility barriers on the pedestrian system include:

This curb ramp is very steep and difficult to maneuver.

This sidewalk corridor is too narrow.

Objective 2.2: Improve and Institutionalize Best Design Practices for Accessibility

When pedestrian facilities are altered due to redevelopment projects, utility repair, or other projects, they need to be replaced with facilities that meet pedestrian accessibility needs. City staff and contractors who design and construct pedestrian facilities need to understand what makes the pedestrian system accessible and integrate accessible design and construction into their projects. There are a lot of different people who do this work; therefore, clear and consistent information on accessible design and construction needs to be integrated into city practices.

What constitutes accessible design can be confusing because accessibility standards have changed and are anticipated to change again. Currently adopted federal ADA standards, the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG), were developed principally for buildings and site work and are difficult to apply to pedestrian facilities in the public right-of-way. New standards, the Public Rights of Way Accessibility Guidelines (PROWAG) 22 23 Designing Sidewalks and Trails, Part II, Best Practices Design Guide. 24

The Pedestrian Design Guide developed through the Minneapolis Pedestrian Master Plan includes best practice guidance from the PROWAG and other sources. Implementing these best practices will require educating staff, updating some standard specifications, and integrating accessibility requirements into various city practices.

With regard to curb ramps, there are some specific challenges with the current curb ramp standard. First, the current curb ramp standard requires a single curb ramp in one direction of travel at two-way stop sign controlled intersections and at intersections with no traffic control, even though sidewalks and legal crosswalks are provided in all directions. This design requires pedestrians to change direction of travel in the street, which is a potentially unsafe manuever. Second, it is difficult to construct two perpendicular curb ramps per corner using the Mn/DOT curb ramp standard template on typical Minneapolis corners. As a result, some curb ramps are being constructed with one ramp per corner, with running or cross slopes that exceed the standard, or with an insufficient level landing pad at the top of the ramp.

This curb ramp is an example of a design which could make it easier to fit two perpendicular curb ramps per corner than the current standard. Source: Accessible Public Rights of Way: Planning and Designing for Alterations, Institute of Transportation Engineers, July 2007.

Chapter 6 - Goal 3: Safe Streets and Crossings

Pedestrians need to be able to safely and conveniently cross streets and travel along streets. Concerns about the safety of streets was a common concern reported through the pedestrian master planning process.

In developing the Pedestrian Master Plan, information on several factors related to safety of streets were gathered, including:

Figure 3: Pedestrians’ Chance of Death if Hit by Motor Vehicle

Source: Killing Speed and Saving Lives, UK Department of Transportation

Figure 4: Safety Benefits of Curb Extensions

Source: Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access, FHWA.

Objective 3.1: Reduce Pedestrian-Related Crashes

As the largest urban area in the State of Minnesota, Minneapolis has a lot of pedestrians and a lot of traffic, resulting in a high occurrence of pedestrian-related traffic crashes, relative to the rest of the state. 31% of the pedestrian crashes in the State of Minnesota from 2002 to 2006 occurred in the City of Minneapolis, and an additional 17% occurred in St. Paul. 27 th out of the 47 cities with year 2000 populations over 350,000 for pedestrian crash deaths per capita, as shown in Table 3.

In Minneapolis, there are approximately 250 pedestrian-related traffic crashes that are reported to the police every year. This number varies from one year to another, but has been relatively constant over the past five years (see Figure 5).

The City of Minneapolis maintains a database of all traffic crashes in the City reported by the Minneapolis Police Department. 28

The City’s Traffic Division currently maintains a database of traffic crashes in the City and meets monthly to review traffic crash trends and discuss locations of potential concern. Hennepin County at the Minnesota Department of Public Safety also maintain crash databases. The City’s database does not currently have information about the age of pedestrians involved in crashes, and it does not contain crash rates for either vehicular crashes or pedestrian-related crashes. The City also does not track near-misses, which could indicate locations with potential safety issues.

Many of the high crash intersections and corridors identified in Map A-20 are included in the pedestrian improvement needs evaluation in Appendix C.

Table 3: Pedestrian Crash Deaths for Cities with Population over 350,000

Ranking

City

Pedestrian Crash Deaths 1997-2006

2000 Population

Average Annual Pedestrian Fatality Rate per 100,000 Population

1

Miami, FL

212

362,470

5.8

2

Detroit, MI

415

951,270

4.4

3

Atlanta, GA

171

416,474

4.1

4

Phoenix, AZ

540

1,321,045

4.1

5

Denver, CO

207

554,636

3.7

6

Albuquerque, NM

160

448,607

3.6

7

Dallas, TX

406

1,188,580

3.4

8

San Francisco, CA

240

776,733

3.1

9

Tucson, AZ

149

486,699

3.1

10

Jacksonville, FL

225

735,617

3.1

11

Memphis, TN

198

650,100

3.0

12

Honolulu, HI

103

371,657

2.8

13

Fort Worth, TX

148

534,694

2.8

14

Oakland, CA

110

399,484

2.8

15

Fresno, CA

117

427,652

2.7

16

Sacramento, CA

111

407,018

2.7

17

Las Vegas, NV

129

478,434

2.7

18

Kansas City, MO

119

441,545

2.7

19

Los Angeles, CA

986

3,694,820

2.7

20

Washington, DC

151

572,059

2.6

21

Houston, TX

514

1,953,631

2.6

22

San Antonio, TX

281

1,144,646

2.5

23

San Diego, CA

292

1,223,400

2.4

24

Chicago, IL

687

2,896,016

2.4

25

New Orleans, LA

112

484,674

2.3

26

Tulsa, OK

90

393,049

2.3

27

El Paso, TX

129

563,662

2.3

28

Oklahoma City, OK

114

506,132

2.3

29

New York, NY

1,743

8,008,278

2.2

30

Philadelphia, PA

328

1,517,550

2.2

31

Charlotte, NC

114

540,828

2.1

32

Austin, TX

135

656,562

2.1

33

Baltimore, MD

133

651,154

2.0

34

Portland, OR

107

529,121

2.0

35

San Jose, CA

171

894,943

1.9

36

Milwaukee, WI

107

596,974

1.8

37

Long Beach, CA

80

461,522

1.7

38

Boston, MA

102

589,141

1.7

39

Columbus, OH

108

711,470

1.5

40

Minneapolis, MN

58

382,618

1.5

41

Seattle, WA

85

563,374

1.5

42

Cleveland, OH

61

478,403

1.3

43

Mesa, AZ

44

396,375

1.1

44

Indianapolis, IN

85

781,870

1.1

45

Omaha, NE

42

390,007

1.1

46

Colorado Springs, CO

36

360,890

1.0

47

Virginia Beach, VA

41

425,257

1.0

Source: NHTSA National Pedestrian Crash Report, June 2008, Table A-7
( http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/810968.pdf); US Census, 2000

Figure 5: Annual Pedestrian-Related Crashes

Source: City of Minneapolis Crash Database, 2001-2008

Figure 6: Pedestrian and Bicycle Crash Trends by Month

Source: City of Minneapolis Crash Database, 2002-2006

Table 4: Actions Preceding Pedestrian-Related Crashes

         

VEHICLE ACTION

PEDESTRIAN ACTION

CROSSING WITH SIGNAL IN XWALK

CROSSING IN MARKED XWALK

CROSSING AGAINST SIGNAL IN XWALK

CROSSING WITHOUT SIGNAL OR XWALK

DARTING INTO TRAFFIC**

UNKNOWN*

OTHER

TOTAL

VEHICLE FOLLOWING ROADWAY

3.1%

2.4%

5.8%

10.6%

9.5%

 

11.9%

43.4%

MAKING LEFT TURN

15.6%

4.5%

1.4%

3.3%

0.2%

 

1.6%

26.5%

MAKING RIGHT TURN

3.3%

1.5%

0.3%

1.2%

0.3%

 

0.8%

7.3%

RIGHT TURN ON RED

2.3%

0.4%

0.3%

0.1%

 

 

0.1%

3.2%

OTHER

1.5%

0.6%

0.6%

1.5%

1.5%

9.4%

5.8%

20.7%

TOTAL

25.8%

9.4%

8.3%

16.6%

11.4%

9.4%

20.3%

100.0%

* UNKNOWN refers to crashes with no recorded pedestrian action, but two vehicle actions. These crashes may involve two vehicles and a pedestrian, and the vehicle actions only being entered in database.
** Prior to 2003, DARTING INTO TRAFFIC was not a valid crash report entry.
Source: City of Minneapolis Crash Database, 2002-2006

Objective 3.2: Promote Safe Behavior for Drivers, Bicyclists and Pedestrians

Pedestrian safety is a shared responsibility among motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists. The most effective solutions to improving pedestrian traffic safety involve a combination of engineering solutions, along with education and enforcement. Through the Pedestrian Master Plan process, many pedestrian safety concerns were raised regarding motorist compliance with the crosswalk law and bicyclists riding on sidewalks.

Minnesota state law requires motorists to stop for a pedestrian who has entered the crosswalk (stepped off the curb) at a marked or unmarked crosswalk, provided the pedestrian has not suddenly walked into the path of a vehicle that is so close that the driver cannot stop (see Appendix D). However, many motorists and pedestrians either don’t understand or don’t comply with this law. Failure of a motorist to yield to pedestrians is one of the most commonly cited barriers to walking cited by the public through the master planning process.

While the Bike/Walk Ambassador program provides some guidance on pedestrian safety in their work, there are currently no active pedestrian safety education campaigns underway serving Minneapolis. One example of a pedestrian safety education campaign is shown in Figure 7 from Calgary, Canada. 32

Figure 7: Calgary Pedestrian Safety Campaign

Bicyclists are legally permitted by state law (see section 169.222 in Appendix D) and City ordinance (Chapter 490.140) to ride on sidewalks and have the same rights and duties applicable to pedestrians on sidewalks unless posted otherwise. Bicyclists must yield right-of-way to pedestrians on sidewalks and may not ride on sidewalks in business districts. Business districts are defined in state law as street frontages that have at least half of the frontage occupied by buildings in use for business for at least 300 feet.

Bicyclists are more likely to ride on sidewalks where there is not an on-street bicycle lane and where traffic volumes are higher, as shown in Table 5. The City is continuing to expand the bicycle network through new on-street facilities, off-street trails, and development of a Bicycle Master Plan. Continued development of bicycle facilities and education is needed to reduce real and perceived conflicts between bicyclists and pedestrians.

Table 5: Factors Influencing Bicyclists Riding on Sidewalks

Type of Bicycle Facility

Volume of Motor Vehicle Traffic*

Number of Count Locations

Average % of Bicyclists Riding on Sidewalk

No Bicycle Facility

High

10

39%

No Bicycle Facility

Moderate

16

33%

No Bicycle Facility

Low

9

28%

On-Street Bike Lane

Moderate

6

18%

* Motor vehicle traffic volumes were defined as high (greater than 15,000 per day),
moderate (5,000-15,000 per day), low (less than 5,000 per day)
Source: City of Minneapolis 2008 Bicycle Counts

Objective 3.3: Improve Pedestrian Safety for the Most Vulnerable Users

The City receives numerous concerns and questions about traffic safety from the public, many of which are related to pedestrian safety near parks, schools, and senior housing. The City’s Traffic division investigates every pedestrian safety complaint and makes improvements where needed.

One proactive approach to improving pedestrian safety for vulnerable users is the City’s School Pedestrian Safety Program, through which City traffic operations staff work with each K-8 school to evaluate safety and operations and identify opportunities to increase the number of students walking to school. The program also works with schools to identify school patrolled intersections; eliminate or reduce conflicts among buses, vehicles, and pedestrians; and identify needs for short-term and long-term infrastructure improvements. Typical improvements include overhead school crossing signs, durable pavement markings at crosswalks, highly visible sign posts for regulatory signs, speedwagons, and separated parent and bus pick-up/drop-off activities. The program also assesses school patrol practices and the need for adult supervision at school crossings. Some schools have implemented walking and bicycling curriculum programs, as well.

Reviews of all 87 K-8 schools in Minneapolis was completed in June 2009. A similar approach could be applied for pedestrian safety near parks and senior housing.

School-patrolled crossing in Seward neighborhood

Objective 3.4: Improve Traffic Signals for Pedestrians

Traffic signal design has a significant impact on the convenience and safety of crossing the street. There are approximately 800 signalized intersections in Minneapolis, all of which have pedestrian signal heads (see Map A-17). There are a number of potential challenges with the existing design of traffic signals for pedestrians in Minneapolis; however, work has begun to address many of these issues:

Countdown Timer

Accessible Pedestrian Signal

This push button is not accessible or convenient for all pedestrians.

Objective 3.5: Improve Crosswalk Markings

Minneapolis has a dense street grid, and there are over 7,000 intersections in Minneapolis. Legal crosswalks, whether marked or unmarked, exist at all legs of all intersections where sidewalks normally exist, including T-intersections, except where closed by ordinance and appropriately signed. Legal crosswalks also exist at marked midblock crossings.

Crosswalk pavement markings are used at some intersections to direct pedestrians to safe crossings and to alert drivers to the potential presence of pedestrians. Minneapolis current policy is to mark crosswalks at all signalized intersections, designated midblock crosswalks, and school patrolled crossings. The standard crosswalk pavement marking style is two transverse (lateral) lines at most locations and high visibility markings (longitudinal lines striped parallel to the direction of traffic) at all midblock crosswalks and selected school patrolled crossings, as shown in Figure 8.

There are a number of challenges with current crosswalk marking practices:

Crosswalk paint fades quickly with Minnesota winters.

High-visibility crosswalk marking at Hiawatha School

Figure 8: Crosswalk Marking Styles Used in Minneapolis

Chapter 7 - Goal 4: A Pedestrian Environment that Fosters Walking

In addition to needing physical walkway connections, accessible pedestrian facilities and safe street crossings, pedestrians need a walking environment that feels safe and secure, that is interesting, that offers conveniences, and that attracts other people walking. Many of these elements are achieved through the land uses and walking destinations along the sidewalk. However, other elements within the public right-of-way also contribute to a pedestrian environment that fosters walking, including: a buffer from moving traffic, adequate sidewalk and boulevard space, trees, adequate sidewalk lighting, appropriately-designed pedestrian facilities on bridges, street furniture, public art, and places for people to socialize.

>

This section of Franklin Avenue has high quality pedestrian environment, including benches, trees, pedestrian-level lighting, and comfortable sidewalk widths.

Objective 4.1: Design Streets with Sufficient Space for Pedestrian Needs

Pedestrians need sufficient space on street corridors and at corners for not only walking, but also to buffer pedestrians from traffic lanes and building walls and to provide space for trees, bus shelters, trash receptacles, utilities, and traffic control. The space between the face of the curb and the property line is defined in the Citys Design Guidelines for Streets and Sidewalks as the "Pedestrian Zone," and it includes several distinct subzones: Curb Zone, Planting/Furnishing Zone, Through Walk Zone, Frontage Zone (see Figure 9). The guidelines recommend a minimum 12 foot pedestrian zone width on all streets and a recommended 15 foot pedestrian zone width on most non-local streets.

Figure 9: Pedestrian Zone

Residential Context

Commercial Context

Source: Minneapolis Design Guidelines for Streets and Sidewalks

Most local streets in Minneapolis have a 12 foot pedestrian zone width. As shown in Table 6 and Map A-21, out of the over 700 centerline miles of local or Park Board streets with sidewalks on at least one side, 78% have a pedestrian zone width of 12 feet or wider, and only 11% have a width of less than 12 feet; the width of the remaining 11% is unknown.

In contrast, out of the nearly 300 centerline miles of non-local streets (Mn/DOT Trunk Highways, County State Aid Highways, and Municipal State Aid Streets), only 33% have a pedestrian zone width of at least 12 feet, and 30% have a pedestrian zone width of 9 feet or less (see Map A-22 and Table 6). This a significant concern because these non-local streets have higher pedestrian volumes than local streets due to commercial districts, transit and other pedestrian generators; higher traffic volumes and a greater need for a buffer between pedestrians and traffic; and more elements to place in the pedestrian zone than local streets, such as more traffic signals, street signs, utility boxes, parking meters, bus shelters, trash receptacles, newspaper boxes, and sidewalk cafes.

Typical local street with 12 ft wide pedestrian zone

Non-local street with 6 ft wide pedestrian zone

Narrow pedestrian zone width contributes to a number of problems, including:

Achieving the recommended 12-15 foot pedestrian zone width can be challenging, given demands for traffic lanes, parking lanes, bike lanes, and retaining walls or landscaping behind the sidewalk. The Design Guidelines for Streets and Sidewalks provides guidance on ways to achieve the recommended minimum 12-15 foot pedestrian zone width, which may include utilizing existing right-of-way behind the sidewalk, reducing the street width through reduction in the number of traffic lanes or the width of traffic lanes, removing on-street parking, or using curb extensions to provide the pedestrian zone width at the locations that need it most.

Table 6: Pedestrian Zone Widths on Minneapolis Streets

       

Pedestrian Zone Width

Local/Park Board Streets

Non-Local Streets
(TH, CSAH, MSA)

All Streets

Centerline Miles

%

Centerline Miles

%

Centerline Miles

%

5-6 ft

8

1%

18

6%

27

3%

7-9 ft

12

2%

73

24%

85

8%

10-11 ft

57

8%

61

20%

117

11%

12-14 ft

482

66%

75

25%

557

54%

15+ ft

91

12%

24

8%

114

11%

No Data

80

11%

48

16%

129

13%

Total

729

100%

298

100%

1,027

100%

Note: The Pedestrian Zone shown is the minimum width from the face of curb to the back of sidewalk on one or both sides of a block on streets with sidewalks on at least one side. It does not include the Frontage Zone on streets with a grass boulevard between the back of sidewalk and property line (typical of local residential streets).
Source: Minneapolis Street Widths Database

Objective 4.2: Design Bridges and Underpasses for Pedestrian Needs

Bridges

In addition to the over 100 bicycle/pedestrian bridges, Minneapolis has 190 vehicular bridges that serve pedestrians (see Map A-25 and Table 7). Vehicular bridges provide pedestrians with connections across major barriers, such as rivers, freeways, railroads, and creeks. Because bridges are expensive to construct and maintain, they are much less frequently spaced than the rest of the street and sidewalk network, and pedestrians have few alternative routes. The quality of the pedestrian environment on bridges over the river and the freeways are of particular concern to pedestrians because these bridges are among the longest and serve areas of high pedestrian activity.

The Nicollet avenue bridge over Minnehaha Creek was retrofitted with wider sidewalks.

Most vehicular bridges have sidewalks on both sides of the bridge, the most notable exception being the 10 th Avenue bridge over the Mississippi, which is the longest bridge in the City. However, despite the presence of sidewalks, vehicular bridges can present particular challenges in providing a pedestrian zone that is adequately sized, safe and attractive for pedestrians.

Table 7: Vehicular Bridges With Sidewalks

Type of Crossing

Average Length (feet)

Number of Bridges

River

1,100

13

Freeway

271

62

Railroad

254

35

Other

113

81

Total

 

190

Source: Mn/DOT Bridge Inventory

Table 8: Sidewalk Widths on Vehicular Bridges

Bridge Sidewalk Width (feet)

% of Total Bridge Mileage

4-6 ft

18%

7-9 ft

66%

10-11 ft

7%

12+ ft

9%

Total

100%

Source: Mn/DOT Bridge Inventory

Underpasses

Pedestrian facilities under bridges are often unappealing pedestrian environments due to poor lighting, blocked sight lines, narrow sidewalks, and bridge pier design that create locations for people to hide. In addition, under bridge environments do not have the benefit of adjacent land uses that provide "eyes on the street." Real and perceived personal security is a significant concern in under bridge environments. The locations of all pedestrian facilities under vehicular bridges have not been identified.

Objective 4.3: Provide Appropriate Street Lighting for Pedestrian Needs

Pedestrians need street lighting which contributes to personal safety, traffic safety and a high quality pedestrian environment.

Minneapolis currently has a variety of types of street lights, the most common being high level lighting attached to wood utility poles. Standalone high level lighting also exists where there are no utility poles, such as in downtown and major intersections. Low and mid level ornamental lighting (defined as 20 feet or lower) exists in some commercial districts and residential neighborhoods, as well as along the entire parkway system. The location of existing low and mid level ornamental lighting is shown on Map A-23.

Low and mid level ornamental lighting is generally considered preferable in high pedestrian use areas because it is typically installed to provide more lighting and more uniform lighting on sidewalks; its aesthetic design also contributes to a coherent streetscape. Historically, low and mid level ornamental lighting has been funded and implemented when property owners have voluntarily petitioned the City to assess them for the cost of the lighting. This petition process could occur as part of a street reconstruction project or a standalone street lighting project.

In December 2008, the City Council changed the Citys street lighting policy, which will result in more lighting appropriate for pedestrian needs in more areas. The policy specifies an appropriate amount and uniformity of lighting in downtown, pedestrian areas, and residential areas. It requires installation of non-wood pole street lighting with all street reconstruction projects and most redevelopment projects, unless property owners petition to opt out of the improvement. The cost of the lighting is assessed to property owners. Pedestrian areas were defined by the pedestrian-oriented land use features from The Minneapolis Plan for Sustainable Growth – activity centers, neighborhood commercial nodes, commercial corridors, and community corridors – as well as the Primary Transit Network; these are shown in Map A-24.

The street lighting on this section of Franklin Avenue serves both pedestrian and vehicular needs through a combination of low-level ornamental lighting and high-level shoebox style lighting.

Objective 4.4: Provide Street Furniture Appropriate for Pedestrian Needs

Street furniture such as bus shelters, benches, bicycle racks, newspaper racks (see Chapter 8), kiosks, trash/recycling bins, public art, etc. are important infrastructure for pedestrians. But if poorly managed, street furniture can clutter the sidewalk, become a nuisance, and become an accessibility barrier.

There are a variety of different ways that the City provides and maintains street furniture.

Poorly placed street furniture can make walking inconvenient, unappealing, and sometimes inaccessible.

Objective 4.5: Foster Vibrant Public Spaces for Street Life

People like to walk where there are other people and comfortable places to sit and socialize. The design and use of private property has a significant impact on the vibrancy of streets. Streets with active street-level businesses and a mixture of land uses generate pedestrian activity. As described in Chapter 2, The Minneapolis Plan for Sustainable Growth and the City’s zoning regulations promote pedestrian-oriented land use and site design practices, including recent changes to the City’s zoning regulations related to pedestrian plazas on private property.

In addition, there are other things that can be done in the public right-of-way to foster vibrant public spaces for street life.

For all of these activities, it is essential to ensure that they are properly maintained, safely operated, and ensure accessibility for all pedestrians.

Nicollet Mall Farmers Market

Objective 4.6: Foster Healthy Trees and Greening along Sidewalks

Pedestrians like to walk along streets where there are boulevard trees or other natural landscaping. Boulevard trees visually and physically buffer pedestrians from traffic lanes, provide shade on sidewalks, and provide shelter from light rain and wind. Landscaping, such as planters and boulevard gardens, beautifies the walking environment and shows stewardship of the pedestrian environment. A healthy urban tree canopy also helps to reduce air pollution, manage stormwater runoff, and reduce the urban heat island effect.

Despite years of losing trees to disease, there are over 220,000 street trees in Minneapolis. Healthy, mature trees are common on local residential street boulevards. The Minneapolis Plan for Sustainable Development includes a policy to achieve a minimum no net loss of the urban tree canopy. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is responsible for planting and maintaining trees in the public right-of-way and plants hundreds of trees annually.

On non-local streets, particularly in business districts and non-residential areas, healthy, mature street trees are less common. One challenge is the lack of planting boulevards and limited above-ground space between the curb and private property typically found on non-local streets (see Objective 4.1: Design Streets with Sufficient Space for Pedestrian Needs for more information on this issue). Other challenges include the density of above-ground utilities and street furniture along the curb, underground utilities that limit space for tree roots, the volume and condition of soils underground needed for healthy tree roots, and the limited amount of pervious surface needed to provide sufficient water and air to the underground roots.

To address these challenges, the Citys Public Works Department in coordination with the Park and Recreation Board and the Tree Advisory Commission is developing design guidelines for trees and landscaping at the direction of City Council. These guidelines will be published as Chapter 9 of the Design Guidelines for Streets and Sidewalks, similar to the Pedestrian Facility Design Guidelines developed through the Pedestrian Master Plan (see Objective 7.1: Implement Best Practices for Pedestrian Facility Design) .

Tree-lined boulevards are common on local, residential streets and provide an appealing walking environment.

Chapter 8 - Goal 5: A Well-Maintained Pedestrian System

Many of the concerns raised through the Minneapolis Pedestrian Master Plan process relate to the everyday operations and maintenance of the pedestrian system, including snow and ice clearance, sidewalk repair, regulation of newspaper boxes and sidewalk cafes, and sidewalk closures in work zones. This chapter addresses these issues. Other maintenance issues addressed in other chapters include crosswalk markings (see Chapter 6) and street furniture (see Chapter 7).

Objective 5.1: Ensure Effective Snow and Ice Clearance for Pedestrians.

Pedestrians need sidewalks, crosswalks, and other pedestrian facilities to be safe and accessible year round. Incomplete snow clearance discourages people from walking and using transit, poses significant accessibility barriers for many pedestrians, and can pose safety hazards for pedestrians who find it easier to walk in the street. Poor snow and ice clearance on pedestrian facilities is one of the biggest concerns raised through the Minneapolis Pedestrian Master Plan process, as shown in Table 9.

Sidewalks like this that are not well cleared of snow remain icy and slippery all winter.

Table 9: Online Survey Results Related to Snow Clearance

How well do current snow removal policies work?

% Agree

Sidewalks on city-owned property are cleared in a timely manner

79%

Existing snow removal system is effective

69%

Transit stops and stations are cleared in a timely manner

63%

Snow build-up at curb ramps is routinely cleared

42%

Property owners clear sidewalks in a timely manner

38%

The enforcement policy is effective

36%

Source: Pedestrian Master Plan Online Survey, 2008; 111 respondents

Snow and ice clearance on pedestrian facilities in the public right-of-way is the responsibility of the City. The City manages that responsibility by requiring property owners to clear snow and ice on sidewalks and curb ramps adjacent to their properties. City ordinance (see Appendix D, Chapter 445) requires property owners of single family or duplex residential properties to clear sidewalks within 24 hours of end of snowfall and requires property owners of commercial and multi-family residential units to be cleared within 4 hours of end of snowfall.

If the ordinance required time period has expired and a complaint about failure to clear sidewalk snow is received, the City’s Public Works Department Sidewalk Inspections Division takes the following actions:

During the 2007-2008 snow season, the City received over 6,000 complaints about improper snow and ice clearance on sidewalks. Just under half of the complaints came from the public, mostly through 311, and the rest came from field inspectors. About 75% of complaints were for residential properties. Most complaints resulted in property owners clearing snow or ice; only 1/3 of complaints resulted in City crews removing snow and assessing property owners for the cost. Less than 20 citations were issued.

Residents who are unable to clear snow may contact the sidewalk inspector and request more time to remove the snow and ice from their public sidewalk. The City’s Senior Citizen Ombudsman can also offer assistance to seniors and disabled property owners and can identify community groups who can offer their services to shovel for a fee.  The city also offers free sand at several locations.

City crews are responsible for snow and ice clearance at crosswalks, sidewalks on bridges, pedestrian refuge islands, and bus stops without shelters. After snow clearance on City streets and alleys is completed according to the three-day snow emergency clearance schedule, the City then dispatches crews to clear the snow piles that form between the crosswalk and the curb ramps due to snow plow clearance of streets.  Some locations, such as downtown corners, commercial corridors, off-street trails and sidewalks on bridges, are cleared during the first two days of snowfall, using crews that are not responsible for street snow clearance.  Clearance of snow at corners is considered an enhanced level of service and is provided as resources allow. Some special service districts pay for an enhanced level of snow and ice clearance for sidewalks and curb ramps.

Snow and ice clearance at bus stops without shelters is the City’s responsibility; snow and ice clearance at bus stops with bus shelters is the responsibility of the bus shelter owner, currently Metro Transit or CBS Outdoor.

While roadway snow clearance follows a predictable, three-day clearance process, there is no policy to ensure a similar clearance plan for pedestrian facilities, as shown in Figure 10.

Figure 10: Relative Timeframe for Snow Clearance

Challenges with the current practice include:

The City currently informs and reminds property owners of their responsibilities to clear sidewalks as part of its communications on snow emergencies and related parking restrictions. Figure 11 shows the portion of the utility bill insert on snow emergencies devoted to sidewalk shoveling, and Figure 12 shows one of the slides shown on its cable station between programs related to shoveling sidewalks. Figure 13 shows a door hanger recently developed by the City of St. Paul and SMART Trips for individuals to use to remind their neighbors of their responsibilities or snow clearance.

Figure 11: City of Minneapolis Utility Bill Insert

Figure 12: City of Minneapolis Cable Station Slide

Figure 13: City of St. Paul / SMART Trips Door Hanger

Objective 5.2: Maintain Sidewalks in Good Repair

The Citys Sidewalk Inspections Office operates an annual sidewalk repair program that inspects and replaces defective sidewalks throughout the City on a regular basis (see Map A-27). These inspections are often coordinated with major street renovation/reconstruction projects and major development projects. The cost of sidewalk repair is assessed 100% to adjacent property owners.

Many cities do not have a sidewalk repair program, and Minneapolis’ program is an effective means of maintaining sidewalks and curb ramps, but there are some challenges:

This railroad crossing on Marshall Avenue NE is an example of a location with complete sidewalks approaching the tracks, but an incomplete walking surface crossing the tracks.

Table 10: Condition of Sidewalks Crossing At-Grade Railroad Tracks

      

Type of Rail Service

Presence of Sidewalks Leading up to Tracks

Number of Railroad Crossings by Primary Sidewalk Crossing Material

Total Crossings

Concrete Surface*

Asphalt Surface

No Surface

Freight

Complete Sidewalks

9

31**

5

45

Freight

Incomplete Sidewalks

3

9

31

43

LRT

Complete Sidewalks

23

  

23

Trolley

Complete Sidewalks

 

1

 

1

Total

 

35

41

36

112

* Concrete crossings of freight railroad tracks often include asphalt between the railroad tracks and the sidewalk.
** 2 of the freight crossings with incomplete sidewalks and a concrete surface have concrete on one side of the street and asphalt on the other side of the street.

Objective 5.3: Manage Encroachments on Sidewalks

There are a lot of things that are placed in the sidewalk corridor, which can clutter the sidewalk, and create accessibility barriers, and contribute to a poorly maintained pedestrian system. Some of the most common encroachment issues reported by pedestrians are:

Sidewalk cafes foster street life, but need to be managed to ensure accessibility.

These newspaper boxes are too close to the crosswalk.

Objective 5.4: Maintain Pedestrian Safety and Accessibility in Construction Zones

During construction, pedestrian access via sidewalks and crosswalks may be altered or restricted. Temporary alterations to the pedestrian network can significantly affect the safety, accessibility, and convenience of walking. The City currently charges daily closure fees for sidewalks ($0.15 per lineal foot per day outside downtown and $0.25 in downtown) and traffic lanes ($0.50 per lineal foot per day outside downtown and $1.00 in downtown). Challenges with current practices for construction zones include:

Pedestrian safety and accessibility needs to be maintained in work zones.

Chapter 9 - Goal 6: A Culture of Walking

In order to get more people to walk in Minneapolis, physical infrastructure improvements are very important, but equally important are efforts to change people’s personal habits, cultural norms, and perceptions about walking. A lot of people rely on automobiles for travel to destinations that are walkable in Minneapolis. In order to change people’s habits and perceptions, the City needs help to foster a culture of walking.

One of the ways that the City is promoting walking is through the Bike Walk Ambassador Program, a three-year education and promotion effort funded through 2010 by Bike/Walk Twin Cities (see Chapter 2). The program is currently staffed by four ambassadors and several summer youth ambassadors who give presentations, lead walks, and host events within Minneapolis and 13 adjacent communities.

Objective 6.1: Promote Walking for Youth

Minneapolis Safe Routes to School; Helping Minneapolis Youth be Lean and Green 35

The Plan is part of an international Safe Routes to Schools (SRTS) movement 36 37

The Plan is currently being implemented through a Safe Routes to Schools working group consisting of staff from MPS, MDHFS, the Minneapolis Police Department, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB), the Bike Walk Ambassador program, and other stakeholders. One of the tasks the working group work has undertaken is to develop a city-wide, uniform process for mapping safe routes in Minneapolis neighborhoods. In addition, the School District currently has funded a part-time coordinator to help implement the plan recommendations, and the City awarded mini-grants in 2008 to 14 schools to support individual school SRTS efforts, such as walking school bus programs, National Bike Walk to School Day events, and bike locks for students to rent. Finally, the Minneapolis Public Schools is currently undergoing a major restructuring that will likely result in reductions in student bussing and an increase in children walking to school.

In addition to encouraging walking to school, the Bike Walk Ambassador program works with the MPRB and youth organizations to encouraging youth to bike and walk to other youth activities.

Objective 6.2: Promote Walking for Adults

There are a number of initiatives to increase walking among adults, including:

Objective 6.3: Showcase and Celebrate Great Walking Experiences

People need to experience and hear about fun and interesting places to walk and view walking as a positive part of living, working, playing in and visiting Minneapolis. Currently, there are a number of efforts upon which to build a positive public awareness of walking, including:

The Walk Arlington website (www.walkarlington.com) hosts a series of "curated walks" which include detailed maps, YouTube videos, text descriptions and photographs of over 20 different walks in Arlington, Virginia.

Chapter 10 - Goal 7: Funding, Tools and Leadership for Implementing Pedestrian Improvements

Although Minneapolis has a lot of great places to walk and good pedestrian facilities in many areas of the City, there are a lot of potential pedestrian facility improvements. To implement improvements, the City needs to proactively prioritize pedestrian needs alongside other transportation needs and seek out the most cost-effective means of implementing pedestrian improvements citywide.

Currently, many pedestrian improvements are implemented in conjunction with other needs, such as street reconstruction projects, bridge replacement projects, redevelopment projects, LRT/BRT transit projects, multi-use trail projects, or major development-oriented infrastructure projects. Standalone pedestrian projects are less common, but may include streetscape projects independent of street reconstruction, traffic calming projects, and the school pedestrian safety program projects. Table 11 outlines the advantages and disadvantages of each of these types of implementation approaches for pedestrian improvements. Among the challenges with current means of implementing pedestrian improvements are:

Table 11: Current Means of Implementing Pedestrian Improvements

Implementation Means

Advantages

Disadvantages

Street and Bridge Replacement Projects

• Substantial reconstruction of right-of-way, which often allows for sidewalk widening, curb extensions, tree planting (and beginning in 2009 street lighting)

• Enhanced streetscape (landscaping, decorative fencing, decorative sidewalk treatments, and street furniture) is sometimes integrated into the street project through a special service district, in which property owners pay for the enhanced streetscape capital and operating costs.

• Few projects of this type

• Typically driven by pavement condition or other vehicular needs

• Less successful commercial areas may not have the resources to pay for operating costs for enhanced streetscape, although grant funding may be available to offset capital costs

New development/ Redevelopment Projects

• Often substantial opportunity to improve site design for pedestrians

• Construction often requires removal and replacement of sidewalks, curb ramps and boulevards

• Many redevelopments in downtown and activity centers seek to implement pedestrian-oriented improvements, such as trees, wider sidewalks, and pedestrian-level lighting

• Some larger redevelopments of an entire blockface offer more opportunities to comprehensively address pedestrian needs in an area

• Pedestrian improvement needs may extend beyond the sidewalks and boulevards immediately adjacent to a particular development property, often resulting in piecemeal implementation of pedestrian improvements

• Areas undergoing major redevelopment often require substantial infrastructure and development coordination

• Tools for evaluating the transportation impacts of new development are more refined for vehicular needs than pedestrian needs

LRT/BRT Transit Projects

• Pedestrian access is typically a high priority for these projects

• Pedestrian needs may extend beyond transit facility improvements, while funding may not

Multi-Use Trail Projects

• May improve pedestrian network connectivity

• Often competitive for federal funding

• Often more oriented to longer trips by bicycle than walking

Development-Oriented Major Infrastructure Projects

• Often oriented to infrastructure needed for creating walkable places, such as new street connections or pedestrian plazas

• Few projects of this type

Standalone Streetscape Projects

• May be implemented without a street reconstruction project

• Require property owner assessments; special grant funding may offset capital costs, but operating costs typically require special service districts

• Less successful commercial areas may not have the resources to pay for operating costs for enhanced streetscape, although grant funding may be available to offset capital costs

Traffic Calming Projects

• Address common residential neighborhood pedestrian needs

• Must be initiated by property owners who pay 100% of the cost of the traffic calming improvement; grant funding may offset

School Pedestrian Safety Program Improvements

• Proactive approach for evaluating and improving walking at all 87 K-8 schools in Minneapolis

• Typically limited to signage, striping, and parking restriction type of improvements

• Limited federal Safe Routes to Schools funding for higher cost improvements, such as overhead flashing signals or curb extensions

Objective 7.1: Implement Best Practices for Pedestrian Facility Design

Changes to pedestrian facilities occur almost daily in Minneapolis through redevelopment projects, street and bridge reconstruction or renovation projects, and maintenance activities. All of these activities are opportunities to improve the pedestrian system if best practices for design are understood and aligned with funding and implementation practices.

The Citys Design Guidelines for Streets and Sidewalks 39 Access Minneapolis Transportation Action Plan process and expanded through the Pedestrian Master Plan process to address pedestrian facility design in greater detail. The Guidelines address how to balance the competing interests of various street users in the street planning and design process.

The Citys Design Guidelines for Streets and Sidewalks provides details on good pedestrian facility design, so that pedestrian facilities are not simply replaced, but improved, as opportunities arise.

The expanded pedestrian design guidelines are published as Chapter 10 of the Design Guidelines for Streets and Sidewalks. The guidelines parallel many of the issues addressed through the Pedestrian Master Plan; however, they differ in that they have more detailed design guidance and are oriented to design best practices, rather than implementation or policy issues. Other additions to the Design Guidelines for Streets and Sidewalks currently underway include Bicycle Design Guidelines and Tree and Landscaping Guidelines. Chapter 10 of the Design Guidelines for Streets and Sidewalks addresses the following design issues:

Objective 7.2: Integrate Pedestrian Improvements into Capital Improvement Programs

The City needs to take advantage of opportunities to both integrate pedestrian improvements into other infrastructure projects, as well as to prioritize and advance high priority pedestrian improvements independently of other improvement projects. To support this objective, the Pedestrian Master Plan contains a prioritized list of over 150 potential pedestrian improvement projects, as documented in Appendix C. The projects were identified based upon existing plans, an inquiry to neighborhood organizations, planned multi-use trails, and a review of locations with high numbers of pedestrian crashes or narrow pedestrian zone widths. They were evaluated and grouped into high, medium and low pedestrian need levels based upon a combination of infrastructure condition and pedestrian demand criteria. These projects are detailed in Appendix C.

The prioritized list is by no means a complete inventory of all pedestrian improvement needs in Minneapolis, but it provides a good starting point for developing an ongoing pedestrian improvement program and integrating pedestrian needs into capital improvement programs and other projects. The evaluation also considered the project readiness so that projects that have had further study or that might be coordinated with another programmed infrastructure improvement may be implemented as those opportunities arise.

Objective 7.3: Improve Tools to Identify, Plan, Design, and Evaluate Pedestrian Improvements

The tools for identifying improvement needs are typically more defined for vehicular needs than for pedestrian needs. As a result, pedestrian needs can be difficult to quantify and document.

Objective 7.4: Foster Effective Pedestrian Advocacy and Stewardship

Having a public which understands pedestrian needs, advocates for those needs, and contributes to addressing those needs can help the City to implement needed improvements.

Objective 7.5: Pursue New Funding Tools for Pedestrian Facilities

In order to improve pedestrian facilities citywide, new types of funding tools and partnerships will be needed.

Chapter 11 - Implementing the Plan

This plan contains over 70 implementation strategies, described in the previous chapters, that provide specific guidance on making Minneapolis a great walking city where people choose to walk for transportation, recreation, and health. These strategies are summarized in Table 12.

Implementing the plan will require participation by several city departments, partner agencies, and the public at large, and it may take several years to initiate all of the plan implementation strategies. The City’s Pedestrian Advisory Committee should take an active role in prioritizing and guiding work on the plan’s implementation strategies.

Table 12: Minneapolis Pedestrian Master Plan Goals, Objectives and Strategies

Goal 1: A Well-Connected Walkway System

Objective 1.1: Complete the Sidewalk Network (see also 5.2, 7.2)

1.1.1 Establish sidewalks as standard infrastructure.

1.1.2 Investigate funding sources and legal mechanisms to fill sidewalk gaps.

1.1.3 Investigate and prioritize options to fill sidewalk gaps at parks, schools, cemeteries and railroad crossings.

1.1.4 Track sidewalk gaps.

Objective 1.2: Maintain and Improve Pedestrian Network Connectivity

1.2.1 Add new pedestrian connections where possible.

1.2.2 Maintain existing pedestrian connections.

Objective 1.3: Improve Skyway-Sidewalk Connectivity

1.3.1 Improve skyways consistent with the recommendations in the Access Minneapolis Downtown Transportation Action Plan.

1.3.2 Evaluate existing skyway-sidewalk connectivity.

Objective 1.4: Improve Pedestrian Wayfinding Information (see also 6.3)

1.4.1 Implement pedestrian wayfinding improvements where needed and where maintenance responsibilities are established.

1.4.2 Develop citywide wayfinding signage guidelines.

Goal 2: Accessibility for All Pedestrians

Objective 2.1: Identify & Remove Accessibility Barriers on Pedestrian Facilities
(see also 3.4, 5.1 – 5.4, 7.2)

2.1.1 Prepare and maintain an updated Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Transition Plan.

2.1.2 Inventory and prioritize corrections to accessibility barriers at curbs.

2.1.3 Inventory and prioritize corrections to accessibility barriers on sidewalk corridors.

2.1.4 Inventory and prioritize corrections to accessibility barriers on pedestrian bridges.

Objective 2.2: Improve and Institutionalize Best Design Practices for Accessibility
(see also 5.4, 7.1)

2.2.1 Improve the curb ramp standard template.

2.2.2 Review and update the standard specifications for best practices in accessible design.

2.2.3 Establish regular staff training programs and materials on accessible design.

2.2.4 Update design standards and guidance as accessibility standards are improved.

Goal 3: Safe Streets and Crossings

Objective 3.1: Reduce Pedestrian-Related Crashes (see also 7.2, 7.3)

3.1.1 Investigate the cause of pedestrian-related crashes at high crash intersections and corridors.

3.1.2 Review pedestrian-related traffic crashes regularly.

3.1.3 Investigate improvements to pedestrian-related crash reporting.

Objective 3.2: Promote Safe Behavior for Drivers, Bicyclists and Pedestrians (see also 6.2, 7.4)

3.2.1 Educate pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists about rights and responsibilities.

3.2.2 Enforce traffic laws.

Objective 3.3: Improve Pedestrian Safety for the Most Vulnerable Users (see also 6.1)

3.3.1 Continue to implement the School Pedestrian Safety Program.

3.3.2 Investigate creation of new focused pedestrian safety improvement programs for other vulnerable users.

Objective 3.4: Improve Traffic Signals for Pedestrians (see also 2.1)

3.4.1 Inventory and prioritize corrections to accessibility barriers at traffic signals.

3.4.2 Develop a plan for installing pedestrian countdown signals citywide.

3.4.3 Evaluate signal timing for pedestrians in all signal retiming efforts.

3.4.4 Inventory and prioritize corrections to accessibility barriers at signal push buttons.

3.4.5 Explore new technologies for pedestrian signal actuation and push buttons.

Objective 3.5: Improve Crosswalk Markings

3.5.1 Improve the visibility of crosswalk pavement markings.

3.5.2 Investigate potential improvements to the current crosswalk marking practice.

Goal 4: A Pedestrian Environment that Fosters Walking

Objective 4.1: Design Streets with Sufficient Space for Pedestrian Needs (see also 7.1)

4.1.1 Design streets with sufficient sidewalk and boulevard width for all required uses of the Pedestrian Zone.

Objective 4.2: Design Bridges and Underpasses for Pedestrian Needs (see also 4.3, 7.1)

4.2.1 Design bridges and underpasses for pedestrians.

Objective 4.3: Provide Appropriate Street Lighting for Pedestrian Needs (see also 4.2, 7.4)

4.3.1 Implement the street lighting policy.

4.3.2 Encourage private property owner participation in night-time lighting efforts.

Objective 4.4: Provide Street Furniture Appropriate for Pedestrian Needs (see also 5.3)

4.4.1 Implement a coordinated street furniture program.

4.4.2 Continue to provide trash receptacles for pedestrian use.

4.4.3 Continue to implement the Art in Public Places program.

Objective 4.5: Foster Vibrant Public Spaces for Street Life (see also 6.3, 7.5)

4.5.1 Investigate innovative and practical ways to create vibrant public spaces for pedestrians.

Objective 4.6: Foster Healthy Trees and Greening along Sidewalks (see also 7.1)

4.6.1 Develop tree and landscaping design guidelines.

Goal 5: A Well-Maintained Pedestrian System

Objective 5.1: Ensure Effective Snow and Ice Clearance for Pedestrians (see also 2.1, 7.4)

5.1.1 Create a social norm of snow clearance through communications and education.

5.1.2 Establish priorities for sidewalk snow clearance, including high pedestrian traffic areas.

5.1.3 Improve enforcement and monitoring of private property owner responsibilities for snow clearance.

5.1.4 Support property owners with snow and ice clearance assistance options.

5.1.5 Explore reducing city snow clearance responsibilities on pedestrian facilities.

Objective 5.2: Maintain Sidewalks in Good Repair (see also 1.1, 2.1)

5.2.1 Inspect and repair sidewalks in an effective time frame.

5.2.2 Prioritize and implement improvements to sidewalks at railroad crossings.

5.2.3 Continue to coordinate the annual sidewalk repair program with repair of sidewalks adjacent to public property.

Objective 5.3: Manage Encroachments on Sidewalks (see also 2.1, 4.4, 7.4)

5.3.1 Enforce sidewalk café standards.

5.3.2 Review and consider updates to the City’s existing sidewalk café standards.

5.3.3 Implement and enforce the newsrack ordinance.

5.3.4 Educate the public on requirements and best practices for maintaining the public right-of-way and reporting problems.

Objective 5.4: Maintain Pedestrian Safety and Accessibility in Construction Zones
(see also 2.1, 2.2)

5.4.1 Develop guidelines for safety and accessibility in work zones.

5.4.2 Establish regular staff training programs and materials on the City’s practices for safety and accessibility in work zones.

5.4.3 Re-examine the City’s existing policy and rate structure for sidewalk closures.

Goal 6: A Culture of Walking

Objective 6.1: Promote Walking for Youth (see also 3.3)

6.1.1 Implement the Minneapolis Safe Routes to Schools Plan.

6.1.2 Promote walking to youth events.

Objective 6.2: Promote Walking for Adults (see also 3.2)

6.2.1 Promote walking for health purposes.

6.2.2 Promote walking to work.

Objective 6.3: Showcase and Celebrate Great Walking Experiences (see also 1.4, 4.5)

6.3.1 Develop walking maps.

6.3.2 Develop walking tours

6.3.3 Promote/develop public walking celebrations.

6.3.4 Foster positive public messaging about walking.

Goal 7: Funding, Tools and Leadership for Implementing Pedestrian Improvements

Objective 7.1: Implement Best Practices for Pedestrian Facility Design (see also 2.2, 4.1, 4.2, 4.6)

7.1.1 Utilize and improve the City’s Design Guidelines for Streets and Sidewalks.

Objective 7.2: Integrate Pedestrian Improvements into Capital Improvement Programs
(see also 1.1,2.1,3.1)

7.2.1 Develop a pedestrian improvement program.

7.2.2 Evaluate all infrastructure projects for potential pedestrian improvement opportunities.

7.2.3 Coordinate the pedestrian improvement program with other improvement opportunities.

Objective 7.3: Improve Tools to Identify, Plan, Design, & Evaluate Pedestrian Improvements (see also 3.1)

7.3.1 Improve how Travel Demand Management Plans address pedestrian needs.

7.3.2 Evaluate methods to quantify pedestrian needs.

7.3.3 Measure pedestrian demand.

7.3.4 Evaluate the effectiveness of pedestrian improvements.

Objective 7.4: Foster Effective Pedestrian Advocacy and Stewardship (see also 3.2, 5.1, 5.3)

7.4.1 Continue and Improve the Pedestrian Advisory Committee.

7.4.2 Encourage public reporting of pedestrian issues to 311.

7.4.3 Support neighborhood advocacy for pedestrian improvements.

Objective 7.5: Pursue New Funding Tools for Pedestrian Facilities (see also 6.3)

7.5.1 Investigate increased use of public-private partnerships.

7.5.2 Investigate cost-sharing programs.

7.5.3 Investigate creation of broader improvement districts.

1 In Minneapolis, according to the US Census American Communities Survey 2005-2007 3 year estimates, 9% of workers who live in Minneapolis live in households with no car available; 15% of Minneapolis residents 16 years and older have a disability; 18% of Minneapolis residents are under 15 years, and 8% of Minneapolis residents are 65 years or older.

2 Frank LD, Schmid TL, Sallis JF, Chapman J, Saelens BE. Linking objectively measured physical activity with objectively measured urban form: findings from SMARTRAQ. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2005;28(2 Suppl 2):117-25.

3 Saelens BE, Sallis JF, Black JB, Chen D. Neighborhood-based differences in physical activity: an environment scale evaluation. American Journal of Public Health 2003;93(9):1552-8.

4 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey Data. Atlanta, Georgia, 2006.

5 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data. Atlanta, Georgia, 2007.

6 Snapshot Minneapolis: Bicycling and Walking 2007 (pdf), Transit for Livable Communities.

7 ACCESS Minneapolis

8 Minneapolis Plan

9 The Minneapolis Plan for Sustainable Growth, July 2008 Draft, Chapter 1, Page 1.

10 Approved City Plans

11 http://www.nrp.org

12 Safe Routes (pdf)

13 http://www.minneapolisparks.org/default.asp?PageID=1099

14 http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bikeped/ntpp.htm

15 Section 1807 of the Safe, Accountable Flexible Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), P.L. 109-59 established the federal Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program (NTPP) in August 2005. The four pilot communities are Columbia, Missouri; Marin County, California; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Sheboygan County, Wisconsin.

16 http://www.metrocouncil.org/planning/transportation/TPP/2008/index.htm

17 Active Living Hennepin County

18 MNDOT Complete Streets in Minnesota

19 www.walkscore.com

20 FHWA Clarification of FHWA's Oversight Role in Accessibility Memorandum, September 12, 2006.

21 Sample inventory forms can be found in: Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access, FHWA, 2001.

22 Revised Draft Guidelines for Accessible Public Rights-of-Way, November 23, 2005

23 FHWA Public Rights-of-Way Access Advisory Memorandum, January 23, 2006.

24 www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/sidewalk2

25 Special Provisions for the Construction of Concrete Sidewalks, Curb, Curb and Gutter, Alleys and Drive Approaches, City of Minneapolis Public Works Department.

26 An intersection was considered to have a curb extension if the curb was extended at the intersection on one or more corner at a crosswalk. Most of the parkway system does not have on-street parking, so intersections on the parkways next to a parking bay were considered to have curb extensions.

27 Source: Mn/DOT Office of Traffic, Safety, and Technology.

28 The database does not include crashes reported by the State Patrol, which are typically on the freeway system, and may not include all crashes reported by Metro Transit Police and University of Minnesota police.

29 This trend was also confirmed through a review of pedestrian-related crashes from the state’s crash database for 2002-2006, which showed that 63% of pedestrian crashes in Minneapolis occurred at intersections, compared with 55% statewide.

30 This figure is even lower for total traffic crashes: only 0.6% of total traffic crashes in Minneapolis involved a vehicle turning right at a red light.

31 http://www.walkinginfo.org/facts/pbcat/index.cfm

32 http://www.calgary.ca/docgallery/bu/roads/pedestrian_safety_brochure.pdf

33 Halifax, Nova Scotia: http://www.tc.gc.ca/programs/environment/UTSP/docs/casestudiesPDF/cs41E_sidewalkCafes.pdf

34 Mountain View, California

35 Safe Routes (pdf)

36 National Center for Safe Routes to School. www.saferoutesinfo.org

37 http://www.dot.state.mn.us/saferoutes

38 The City of Pasadena and the Playhouse District Association sponsored a Downtown Pasadena Walkabout. Over 120 people in 25 teams walked more than 30 miles of downtown streets in an effort to promote walking and gather information about the condition of walking in downtown. www.playhousedistrict.org

39 Street and Sidewalk Design Guidelines

Last updated May 30, 2014