Governor Signs Bill To Make Minnesota Roads Safer, More Accessible
Joint statement from members of the Minnesota Statewide Complete Streets Coalition including AARP, Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, Fresh Energy, Minnesota Environmental Partnership, and Transit for Livable Communities
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn., May 15, 2010 – Today, a wide variety of Minnesota organizations—representing health, the environment, transportation, and others—commended Governor Tim Pawlenty and the bipartisan leaders who supported the bill in both the House and Senate—for helping to make Minnesota’s communities safer and improving on the state’s rich quality of life.
This morning, the Governor signed into law “Complete Streets” legislation as part of the Omnibus Transportation Bill, which will help make roads safer and more accessible for all users by enabling the Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT) to build roads with all people in mind—regardless of age or ability or whether traveling by car, foot, bus or bike.
Effective August 1, 2010, the state Complete Streets legislation formalizes work Mn/DOT began and puts in place mechanisms so that Mn/DOT considers such things as local community needs and all likely users of the road when designing roadways, and works with engineers and planners across the state to implement this process. Specifically, the law:
- requires Mn/DOT to work with stakeholders to implement the policy throughout nearly all aspects of Mn/DOT’s work—from road planning to maintenance—by reviewing or updating processes, standards and requirements as needed;
- provides local governments that are interested in Complete Streets, greater flexibility from current design requirements that can unnecessarily lead to roads that cost more, are less safe, and do not serve a local community’s needs;
- applies to new construction, reconstruction, and repaving projects for Mn/DOT; it will not require retrofits; and
- requires Mn/DOT to report on implementation progress, training of staff, and broader community engagement.
“Tragically, more than 500 pedestrians and bicyclists were killed, another 20,000 were injured on Minnesota roads in the past decade, and countless others simply do not feel safe walking in their neighborhoods. But now, thanks to the Governor, the legislature and Mn/DOT’s support of this common-sense policy, Minnesota will be able to update the way we design our roads, so they are safer and meet the needs of all citizens,” said Ethan Fawley, from Fresh Energy and coordinator of the Minnesota Complete Streets Coalition. “We look forward to partnering with Mn/DOT to successfully implement this policy.”
Kathy Mock, Senior Vice President of Public and Health Affairs for Blue Cross agrees. “This is smart policy because it provides benefits on so many levels: safety, health, clean transportation choices, and makes transportation dollars stretch farther. Blue Cross actively supported this effort because making it easier for people to get around on foot or by bike is a great way to encourage more physical activity and thereby improve overall health.