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Minnesota DOT, Hennepin County, Minneapolis and Saint Paul Support Vision for Safe, Sustainable Streets

Apr 30, 2014

In a strong formal showing of institutional support for livable streets, the Minnesota Department of Transportation, City of Minneapolis, City of Saint Paul, and Hennepin County issued a joint letter recognizing the NACTO Urban Street Design Guide as an excellent reference when designing urban streets and public spaces. This coordinated approach, the first multi-jurisdictional letter supporting the NACTO Guide, bolsters Minnesota’s commitment to improving the safety and livability of city streets.

“Our transportation decisions must balance the needs of all users, and the Urban Street Design Guide will help us develop streets that are safe and accessible to bicyclists, pedestrians, drivers and transit users,” said Minnesota Department of Transportation Commissioner Charlie Zelle. “It’s a great tool to help us create a sustainable and multimodal transportation system that contributes to Minnesotans’ quality of life.”

“MnDOT is happy to support the Urban Street Design Guide,” said Susan Mulvihill, MnDOT Deputy Commissioner and Chief Engineer. “As we work with our local partners to provide sustainable, accessible transportation systems for our customers, it is ever more important for us to move toward systems that improve the quality of life in our urban areas.  Utilizing the Urban Street Design Guide helps us all to provide a flexible system that can fit user needs well into the future.  We appreciate this opportunity to partner with the Cities of Minneapolis, St Paul, and Hennepin County on this important effort.”

This joint letter is indicative of a holistic regional approach to sustainable transportation that relies on inter-agency cooperation across all levels of government. “Working in partnership, our four agencies strive to address and improve our ever complex transportation challenges,” remarked Jon Wertje, Director of Traffic & Parking Services for the City of Minneapolis Department of Public Works.

“MnDOT, Hennepin County, Minneapolis and Saint Paul have set a tremendous precedent with their joint letter of support for the Urban Street Design Guide,” said NACTO President and SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin. “Their leadership serves as a model for other municipalities and states collaborating to advance a new paradigm for urban transportation policy.”

Minnesota is the fifth State Department of Transportation to officially support use of the Guide, following Washington, Massachusetts, California and Utah. Minneapolis and Saint Paul join a growing list of cities raising the bar on 21st century street design, and Hennepin County is the first county to recognize the NACTO Urban Street Design Guide as a visionary reference document.

“Creating multi-modal transportation that is respectful to the context is becoming an art balanced with engineering, said Debra Brisk, Hennepin County’s Assistant County Administrator of Public Works. “Our County welcomes the opportunity to use the Urban Street Design Guide as a tool to help weave together the complexity of our urban settings.”

Minneapolis Director of Public Works Steven Kotke remarked, “The City of Minneapolis has been focused on our urban streets through our past efforts, specifically our Access Minneapolis: Design Guidelines for Streets and Sidewalks adopted in 2008. The NACTO Urban Street Design Guide complements these initiatives and generates more ideas and innovation.  Minneapolis has already begun using the Guide to evolve and improve our streets for all to live, work and play.”

“As the City of Saint Paul embarks on updating its own street design manual, the NACTO Urban Street Design Guide has been incorporated as a valuable reference to help guide us in our future street designs,” noted John Maczko, Saint Paul City Engineer.

The endorsement campaign for the Urban Street Design Guide will be extended until May 31, 2014. Letters of endorsement and city council resolutions supporting the Guide are available on NACTO’s website at Cities, states and counties interested in endorsing the Guide should contact David Vega-Barachowitz, Director of the Designing Cities initiative, at [email protected].