Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Project development

Environmental process | Environmental review

Complete Streets


MnDOT’s Complete Streets Policy states “the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) must follow a Complete Streets approach in all phases of planning, scoping, project development, construction, operations, permitting, and maintenance activities.”

Complete Streets are streets for everyone. From rural to suburban to urban communities, it’s designing and operating the entire right of way to provide safe and convenient access for everyone who is using the road. This may mean adding a sidewalk or median to help people walking cross safety, converting vehicle travel lanes to other uses, narrowing vehicle lanes, or changing parking configurations.

When to use this subject

The MnDOT Complete Streets Project Transportation Hierarchy Tool offers a starting point. The tool provides a baseline project hierarchy based on context, user type, and transportation characteristics. The tool is primarily for MnDOT staff who plan, design, and engineer roadway projects. It can apply at project planning, scoping, design, construction, and operations/maintenance.

The transportation hierarchy applies to all categories of project types, except for exempt activities. Major reconstruction projects may provide a clear opportunity to reallocate space within the right-of-way to address the needs of all users. Preservation projects may provide opportunity to address inequities, particularly for the most vulnerable users.

Full guidance on applying the Hierarchy Tool is available in the Complete Streets Handbook.

The following activities are exempt from the Complete Streets policy and reporting requirements:

  • Emergency, routine, preventative, or localized maintenance and repair work that does not change the structure or layout of the road and does not meet the ADA alteration threshold (refer to the MnDOT ADA Tech Memo for specific guidance)
  • Projects such as storm water tunnels, storm sewers, landscaping, and slope stabilization that do not directly affect transportation system users or layout
  • Roadside infrastructure projects on freeways that do not involve entrance/exit ramps, loops, or overpasses such as high-tension cable guardrail, sign replacements, and overhead sign structure replacements
  • Installation or replacement of fiber optic cables, other transmission lines, solar panels, or other energy infrastructure in state owned right-of-way

How this subject fits into the overall project development process

Use the Complete Streets Handbook to inform project implementation of the Complete Streets policy. This includes guidance on how to apply the Project Transportation Hierarchy Tool. Project decisions related to Complete Streets should be documented through the Complete Streets SharePoint site by MnDOT project staff at the project planning, scoping, and 30% final design phases.

Organizations involved