Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Sept. 12, 2022

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Planning assistance to help communities develop active transportation plans

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Thirteen Minnesota cities and counties will receive consultant support as part of a $400,000 Planning Assistance contract to help create active transportation plans, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

These Active Transportation Program Planning Assistance awards connect communities with a consultant team. The consultants analyze existing conditions, engage the community, identify ways to improve infrastructure and encourage the use of active transportation. They provide monthly reports, and MnDOT reviews them to ensure progress on plans.

“Providing these technical assistance opportunities offers communities the chance to envision and ultimately implement improvements that make active transportation safe and convenient for people in the places where they live, work and play,” said Nancy Daubenberger, MnDOT commissioner. “These also help reduce the amount of vehicle miles traveled and improve local transportation options.”
MnDOT's Active Transportation Program provides grants for planning, education, engineering studies and infrastructure investment related to walking, biking and rolling. It also supports Minnesota Strategic Highway Safety Plan goals by making these activities easier and more accessible.

The Minnesota Legislature created the Active Transportation program in 2018 and provided funding for the program during the 2021 legislative session. Communities are not required to provide matching funds. Plans call for these initiatives to begin this fall.

Selected communities listed by plan type

Community Active Transportation Plan

  • Mahnomen: Mahnomen’s community-wide active transportation plan will identify potential infrastructure improvements for county roads and critical connections to help people access community resources and employment. It will also improve safety outcomes for people without vehicles and to improve public health outcomes
  • New Ulm: New Ulm will develop a community-wide active transportation plan focused on improving safety for people walking, biking and rolling, especially people who are part of New Ulm’s immigrant community, elderly residents and people with lower incomes.
  • Wheaton: Sanford Wheaton Medical Center and the city of Wheaton have been awarded a grant for a consultant to assist in a community-wide active transportation plan focused on physical activity and safety for people walking and bicycling. 

Update Active Transportation Plan

  • Bloomington: Bloomington will update existing planning work to have greater emphasis on safe connections for people walking, and improving access for underserved neighborhoods in Bloomington.
  • Richfield: Richfield’s plan will combine previous work across separate bicycle, pedestrian and Safe Routes to School planning while helping to identify opportunities to support new Bus Rapid Transit service and overcome community barriers, especially in parts of the community with greater diversity.

Corridor Plan

  • St. Paul – Flandrau Street: St. Paul is finishing engagement and planning work for a future bicycle boulevard on Flandrau Street. Flandrau Street will be a vital link in the bicycle network in the east side of the city and provide additional safe and comfortable cycling access to area schools, parks, local businesses and a future rapid transit route. The tools developed for this project and the lessons learned will be applied to future bicycle boulevard planning processes.
  • St. Louis County – Howard Gnesen: St. Louis County is doing a corridor study on Howard Gnesen Road, as called for in the Duluth-Superior Metropolitan Bikeways Plan. It connects the surrounding mixed-income neighborhood to an elementary school, Hartley Park and the Kenwood shopping hub.
  • La Crescent – Root River Trail: La Crescent’s corridor plan will help identify the best path forward to connect the city to the Root River Trail south of the community.
  • Albert Lea – UP Railroad Corridor: Albert Lea is using its planning assistance to explore a potential trail along a former Union Pacific Railroad corridor and connections to surrounding neighborhoods, schools and work sites, and local amenities, including a historic downtown.

Parks and Trails Master Plan

  • Chippewa County: Chippewa County’s parks and trails plan will help to connect communities to recreational resources, providing broader access to people with a variety of transportation needs.
  • Jackson: The city of Jackson is seeking to develop a master plan for its trail system to connect to the county parks and trail system to the south, and Belmont County Park and Kilen Woods State Park to the north.
  • Marshall: Marshall’s Parks and Trails Master Plan will assist the community in identifying gaps, understanding current and future needs for a diverse population, while enhancing connections to regional resources such as Camden State Park.

Other Planning

  • Minneapolis: Minneapolis’s plan will incorporate active transportation improvements into the city’s Walking Routes for Youth map and connect young people to resources.