Connect the Park!
Connect the Park! is the city's 10-year plan to add additional sidewalks, trails, bike lanes and bikeways throughout the community. As part of Vision St. Louis Park in 2007, the city worked with community members to create an Active Living Sidewalks and Trails plan. The Connect the Park! initiative will work toward implementing many of the elements of the plan over the next 10 years. This site will continue to evolve as additional materials are developed, a component for resident feedback is added, meetings are planned and public comment is sought.
You are encouraged to review the related documents below to learn more about the ambitious and exciting plan to Connect the Park! Questions may be directed to City Engineer Scott Brink at email@example.com or (952) 924-2687.
Purpose and Goals
Purpose - "To develop a comprehensive, city-wide system of trails and sidewalks that provides local and regional connectivity, improves safety and accessibility, and enhances overall community livability."
Goals and Objectives
- Develop an interconnected network of pedestrian and bicycle routes throughout the city and linked to transit systems, providing options to automobile dependence.
- Establish a citywide grid-system of sidewalks approximately every ¼-mile
- Establish a citywide grid-system of bicycle facilities approximately every ½-mile
- Close gaps in neighborhoods’ existing sidewalk networks
- Anticipate increases in the use of mass transit, including the possibility of a much improved multi-modal system comprising buses, light rail, heavy commuter rail, local circulators, etc.
- Establish safe crossings of highways, arterial roads and rail corridors using innovative traffic calming strategies, improved traffic control systems, grade separations, etc.
- Develop safe links to schools, commercial hubs, employment centers, institutions and transit facilities.
- Develop recreational pathways that link neighborhoods to parks and natural areas, providing opportunities to improve the health and well-being of community residents and workers.
- Make connections to regional and recreational trails to link St. Louis Park to larger metropolitan open space systems and destinations.
- Provide safe and easily accessible routes for residents and workers in the community, including children, seniors and the disabled.
- Provide for walks along high traffic pedestrian and street use areas.
- Create a cohesive, well-designed system that includes a coordinated approach for signs and orientation, standard designs for street crossings and additional "user-friendly" amenities such as rest areas, information kiosks and upgraded landscaping.
- Incorporate strategies for funding, maintenance and snow removal into the overall plan.
- Develop a Capital Improvement Plan based on priorities, needs and available resources.
In general the system plan provides sidewalks approximately every ¼-mile and bikeways every ½-mile in order to improve pedestrian and bicycle connectivity throughout the community. Both the system plan and the set of general criteria for prioritizing the pedestrian and bike improvements was generated through community input from a Citizen Advisory Committee, Community Meeting, 205 online survey responses, and meetings with Planning Commission, Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission, and City Council. In addition, general support for the goals has been vetted through the subsequent Plan-By-Neighborhood process, Community Survey, and Community Recreation Survey. Plan development and prioritization was tied directly to public health, safety and well-being. The system plan and goals were adopted in the Comprehensive Plan in 2009.
Rating Factors or Criteria
The logic behind prioritization and plan implementation is based on the following objectives:
- Focus on key destinations: segments that serve multiple community gathering centers in the community (schools, parks, transit stops, commercial nodes) rate higher.
- Focus on Transportation: routes that provide north-south connections through the community, into adjacent communities, and to key transit stops rate higher.
- Focus on Bicycling and Walking: the ultimate goal is to provide a quarter-mile “city” grid of sidewalks and half-mile grid of bike routes. Improvements that fill gaps in the city pedestrian and bicycle networks, improve safety at certain intersections, and provide crossings (bridges or tunnels) of major railroad and highway barriers rate higher.
Recent meetings included discussions on removing some sidewalk segments from the plan and adjusting the timing of some sidewalk projects. As a result, the plan has been modified slightly from the plan presented previously (see link below). City Council has also directed staff to gather one final round of public input before formally adopting the entire plan early this summer. Please direct all comments to:
Public information meetings were held on October 9, 23, 25 and 30, and Nov. 1 to gather public comment. Additional mailings were also sent to properties where sidewalks are being proposed. Staff is currently gathering and organizing comments in order to make a presentation to the City Council. Council discussed this plan at the Study Session on January 14 and 28, and March 11. Please check back here for further information and updated dates as they become available.