State agencies seek public input for statewide pedestrian system plan

ST. PAUL— The Minnesota departments of transportation and health are asking for public comments about the challenges and opportunities of walking in Minnesota’s communities. The comments will help the two agencies develop the first ever statewide pedestrian system plan.

The plan will advance the Minnesota GO 50-Year Vision for Transportation, which is to maximize the health of people, the environment and the economy.

“People of all ages and abilities depend on walking to access goods and services, participate in social activities and enjoy a good quality of life,” said Jean Wallace, MnDOT Modal Planning and Program Management Division and co-chair of the project advisory committee. “We want to make communities more safe, convenient and desirable to walk and roll.”

A background report, “Minnesota Walks: Current and Future Steps toward a Walkable Minnesota,” was created as a first step toward the plan’s development.

“There have been efforts over the past years to improve pedestrian conditions in Minnesota, but the pedestrian system plan represents the first comprehensive statewide effort to address pedestrian needs and challenges,” said Julie Myhre, MDH Office of Statewide Health Improvement Initiatives and co-chair of the project advisory committee. “We look forward to getting input from the public to learn more about how we can create walkable communities.”

MnDOT and MDH will gather input from the public this summer to help establish the vision, goals and recommendations for the pedestrian system plan. The plan will help develop new projects, policies and programs that will improve the pedestrian environment at the state, regional and local levels. A draft plan is expected in 2016.

The first opportunity for the public to comment will be Sunday at the Minneapolis Open Streets Northeast event. Other events include the Rondo Days event July 18 in St. Paul.

The agencies are planning focus groups, listening sessions, community gatherings and online engagement activities to gather public input.

More information about the project, online activities and the in-person engagement schedule is online at www.minnesotago.org/walks.

 

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