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Legislation would make roads safer and more accessible to all, including bikers and pedestrians

Legislation that would require design of roads that accommodate all users, including bicyclists and walkers, has been introduced in the Minnesota House and Senate.

Supporters say the plan, called "Complete Streets," would help "the Minnesota Department of Transportation respond to local needs and local users" by removing "the need for multiple designs and variances in an effort to build roads right the first time, rather than fixing them after a tragedy occurs."

Rep. Mike Obermueller, DFL-Eagan, the House author, said that in the past decade more than 500 bicyclists and pedestrians have been killed, and another 20,000 injured on Minnesota roads.

“One of the reasons for these injuries and fatalities is that state standards too often dictate that Minnesota roads move cars as quickly as possible and ignore the abilities of seniors, children, pedestrians, bicyclists and transit riders,” Obermueller said.

The bills, SF 2461 and HF 2801, have the support of a broad coalition of health, family, environment, senior and transportation advocates.

“Minnesota seniors and children are especially vulnerable to transportation systems that are designed almost exclusively for moving automobiles,” said Bob Geyen, state volunteer leader for AARP, one of 48 organizations supporting the bill.

Blue Cross’ chief prevention officer, Dr. Marc Manley, said: “Current road designs often create barriers and discourage people from walking and biking. We need to make it easier for people to be active and achieve or maintain a healthy weight. This Complete Streets policy is a creative solution that not only can make our transportation dollars stretch farther, but also encourage more people to lead an active lifestyle, thereby improving health and saving health care dollars.”

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Comments (4)

Can not afford it, no way no how. Doug please drive 35W, 694, 94,36,62,100,169, and report on how bad some of the road conditions are. Some patches are in very good shape but others probably cause accidents and great wear and tear on vehicles. Drive over 52 unsafe Lafayette bridge, try to drive over the Lowry bridge you can't its been closed for 2 years.
Some of these new design features could probably incorporated at low cost but if advanced and it comes at the expense of transport of goods and services watch out those goods just had an additional surtax.

I totally support "Legislation that would require design of roads that accommodate all users, including bicyclists and walkers".

But I'd be even more enthusiastic about "legislation that would require PLOWING of roads THROUGHOUT THE WINTER to accommodate all users, including bicyclists and walkers".

Dan,
What does building roads right the first time have to do with freeways and state highways where no bike or pedestrian wants to be?

Designing for multiple use doesn't have to cost more. The poorly maintained roads you're talking about were designed for cars only and were beaten down by cars.

Charles, I like your regular blog and frankly I could use a more bike friendly atmosphere around Rosedale. But most roads are already built and are falling into serious disrepair esp. for those of us involved in the transport sector of bussing and hauling. I am all for traffic calming measures. You do have to admit there are some abuses that occur by bikers also.