Connect the Park is the city's 10-year plan to add more bikeways, sidewalks and trails throughout the community. The plan was developed with community input through a process that took several years. City council approved the plan in 2013, and work began in 2015.
Each year, a number of Connect the Park projects are completed. Engineering staff use community feedback to help guide the designs of each project. Open house meetings are held to listen to resident feedback and keep residents informed.
Project overview and updates
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. The estimated cost for the plan is $24 million.
- Connect the Park map – Sidewalks, trails and bikeways
- Connect the Park map – Sidewalks
- Connect the Park map – Trails
- Connect the Park map – Bikeways
In 2017, the city underwent an updated visioning process, Vision 3.0. This engagement process reaffirmed the community’s support for bikeways, sidewalks and trails.
In 2018, the city council passed a Climate Action Plan with the goal of achieving carbon neutrality - having a net zero carbon footprint - by 2040. One of the seven midterm goals for the plan is to reduce vehicle emissions by 25 percent. This is accomplished in part by reducing people's need to use personal vehicles. Building out a strong sidewalk, trail, and bikeway network allows people to choose forms of transportation other than their vehicle.
The city is working on our Comprehensive Plan 2040 which sets policies and programs that shape what the community's vision for the city will be like in 2040. In it, the city will commit to prioritizing pedestrians first, then bicycles and public transit, and then vehicular traffic.
To develop a comprehensive, citywide system of bikeways, sidewalks and trails that:
- Provides local and regional connectivity
- Improves safety and accessibility
- Enhances overall community livability
Goals and objectives
- Develop an interconnected network of pedestrian and bicycle routes throughout the city and linked to transit systems.
- 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 the existing neighborhood sidewalk networks.
- Provide active connections to transit, including buses and light rail.
- Establish safe crossings of highways, arterial roads and rail corridors
- Develop safe connections to schools, commercial hubs, employment centers, institutions and transit.
- Develop links from neighborhoods to parks and natural areas, providing opportunities to improve the health and well-being of residents and workers.
- Improve connections to regional trails to link the city 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.
- Create a cohesive, well-designed system that includes a coordinated approach for signs, wayfinding and other "user-friendly" amenities such as rest areas, information kiosks and upgraded landscaping.
Detailed design of the bikeways, sidewalks and trails is completed the year before proposed construction. The following activities are part of the design process:
- Data collection (summer)
- Data analysis and existing condition review (summer)
- Kick-off meeting to discuss the project (fall)
- Preliminary design is created and presented to the public at a meeting (fall)
- Follow up meetings are held as needed to gather input
- Final design
Once a final design is complete, the individual project segments are brought to the city council for consideration at a public hearing. Usually, these public hearings are in February or March of the proposed construction year. For example, if a project is proposed for construction in 2020, the design process will begin June 2019, with meetings in the fall and winter, followed up by city council approval in February or March 2020.
When possible, these bikeway, sidewalk and trail and projects are scheduled to occur with city street rehabilitation work. If the Connect the Park improvement is on a street scheduled for rehabilitation, the public process will occur concurrent to the street public meetings.
Jack Sullivan, Sr. Engineering Project Manager
Ben Manibog, Transportation Engineer