Minneapolis wants walking to be cool again


Minneapolis may have endless trails, lakes and parks perfect for a nice evening stroll, but we're still a city of drivers. City officials hope to make walking cool and logical again.

In the city's Pedestrian Master Plan, which will be discussed in an open house and workshop tonight, the city has set several goals to get residents up on their feet when they are heading to destinations that are clearly walkable.

One of the main goals is "to change people's personal habits, cultural norms, and perceptions about walking... A lot of people rely on automobiles for travel to destinations that are walkable in Minneapolis. In order to change people's habits and perceptions, the city needs help to foster a culture of walking."

Making walking an obvious mode of transportation takes more than making it cool. The city also has plans to ensure accessibility, safety, and other factors are taken care of.

We have to admit that being a city of people who are generally in shape and active, it's an incredibly lazy place to live. Our concept of "walkable" is ridiculous compared to other cities where people will often walk for 30+ minutes to get somewhere while people in Minneapolis drive to Walgreen's just three blocks away.

We have a solution: Make walking the only choice. In other large cities, walking is common because you just can't drive. If it was impossible and more work to drive and find a parking spot, more people would choose walking. It's pretty tough to make people walk somewhere if they can drive there in less time and it's incredibly convenient.

Want to hear more? The city is talking about walking tonight:

July 16, 2009 Open House and Walking Workshops

Walking workshops at 5:30 p.m.

Public meeting 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Master plan presentation at 6:30 p.m. and 7:15 p.m.

Minneapolis Central Library 300 Nicollet Mall