Minneapolis has achieved the gold-level among 10 communities across the U.S. earning “walk-friendly” status from the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center. The walk friendly title means recognition for Minneapolis’ success in working to improve a wide range of conditions related to walking, including safety, mobility, access and comfort. The PBIC recognizes Chicago, Minneapolis and San Francisco at the gold level; Alexandria, VA, Philadelphia and Santa Monica, CA at the silver level and Cary, NC, Corvallis, OR, Davidson, NC and Lee’s Summit, MO, at the bronze level.
Minneapolis is designated as a gold-level community because of the city's excellent planning policies, high level of staff commitment to pedestrian safety, and pedestrian campaigns and events. For instance:
- More than 90 percent of streets in Minneapolis have complete sidewalks.
- The City’s Sidewalk Inspections Office conducts an annual sidewalk and curb ramp repair program that replaces any defective sidewalks and curb ramps regularly.
- Bridges throughout the city have pedestrian facilities.
- Minneapolis has a number of pedestrian-oriented campaigns and events to educate and encourage residents to walk.
- Minneapolis conducts pedestrian counts to help provide an accurate depiction of the pedestrian activity within the city.
- The pedestrian street lighting in Minneapolis provides a safe walking environment for pedestrians during the hours when visibility is limited.
- Ground floor parking garages must have commercial, residential, office, or hotel uses between the parking garage and public sidewalks to foster a better walking environment.
The PBIC's mission is to improve the quality of life in communities through the increase of safe walking and bicycling as a viable means of transportation and physical activity. The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center is maintained by the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center with funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. The Bicycle & Pedestrian Program of the Federal Highway Administration promotes bicycle and pedestrian transportation use, safety, and accessibility. The FHWA Bicycle & Pedestrian Program issues guidance and is responsible for overseeing that states and other entities understand and meet legislative requirements.
These 10 cities are added to the inaugural class of 11 Walk Friendly cities announced in April 2011. To date, Seattle has been the only platinum-level Walk Friendly Community awarded. Modeled after the League of American Bicyclists’ “Bicycle Friendly Communities,” the Walk Friendly Communities program distinguishes cities and towns that are leading the way in walkability. It is the first program to highlight communities for their walkability initiatives and programs, while also offering feedback to assist communities in improving walkability. Minneapolis has also been designated a gold-level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists.
For more information on the walk-friendly title, visit www.walkinginfo.org. For more information on Minneapolis’ commitment to walking as a critical form of transportation, visit www.minneapolismn.gov/pedestrian.