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MnDOT releases first statewide pedestrian system plan

The Minnesota Department of Transportation Wednesday released the agency’s first Statewide Pedestrian System Plan, which provides policy and investment guidance to improve places where people walk across and along Minnesota highways, according to a press release.

The plan identifies priority areas for investments and lays out specific strategies to improve walking availability and accessibility now and for the next 20 years to help communities plan for the future.

“Safety is our top priority at MnDOT,” aid Commissioner Margaret Anderson Kelliher. “This plan provides an important framework and will help ensure we are meeting the needs and interests of people, today and into the future. Creating safe places for people to walk is essential to improving equity and mobility, addressing climate change, and ultimately providing a better quality of life for everyone.”

The Statewide Pedestrian System Plan offers policy direction, identifies investment need, and provides technical guidance to improve the state transportation system for people who walk. It also sets performance measures to track progress towards creating a better pedestrian system and identifies strategies to protect people walking from the effects of climate change.

Work on the plan begin in February 2019 and included two public engagement efforts that reached 2,700 people statewide. MnDOT also installed seven pedestrian safety demonstrations projects across Minnesota to show certain safety measures in action. All of that feedback went through an internal process of evaluation to help MnDOT achieve better outcomes for people walking.

“This plan helps MnDOT identify opportunities and implement the right strategies on projects to make walking safer and more convenient for all Minnesotans,” said Tori Nill, director of Office of Transit and Active Transportation. “While the plan doesn’t tell us exactly what to do in every situation, it does provide the tools we need to make those decisions and make sure pedestrian safety is included on every highway project.”