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Complete Streets

In 2009, Hennepin County became Minnesota's first county to adopt a Complete Streets Policy. The county recognized then, as it does now, the importance of addressing the needs of all people walking, rolling, biking, and riding transit, as well as those driving on county roads, when planning, designing and maintaining county roads.

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To better understand the public’s shifting transportation needs and priorities, Hennepin County and consulting partner SDK Communications + Consulting will be facilitating eight stakeholder group listening sessions in summer 2022.

Hennepin County roads connect towns in the county’s more rural stretches and are major roadways of businesses and frequent use in cities. These diverse and consequential uses mean that Hennepin County’s Complete Streets Policy must balance these different needs in a thoughtful, cohesive way that balances flexibility for different uses with the county’s strong commitment to create roads that make its ambitious goals achievable.

The policy update is an opportunity to build on Hennepin County’s decade-plus of work to create streets that make travel safe and comfortable for everyone while also being respectful of our environment. Across Minnesota and the nation, Complete Streets have evolved to consider road design features like green infrastructure and modal hierarchy to support consistent approaches to implementation.

Hennepin County will be inviting stakeholder groups to offer input on the Complete Streets Policy update. We know from past engagement work on specific transportation projects and other county plans and policies that residents want to see roads designed to allow people to travel safely, no matter their mode of transportation. Equally important, residents want to see projects and road changes managed with as few disruptions as possible.

Ultimately, the Complete Streets policy will continue to ensure roads are designed to provide safe access for everyone — regardless of their age, race, ability, or mode of transportation — while balancing today’s travel patterns with the road uses of our future.

Complete Streets are designed, built, and maintained to be safe and convenient for people of all ages and abilities — whether they are walking, rolling, biking, riding transit, or driving.

Complete Streets look different depending on the situation and location but may include:

  • Sidewalks or trails
  • Improved pedestrian crossings
  • Bikeways
  • Green infrastructure to naturally filter water runoff
  • Landscaping, such as trees and streetlamps
  • Improved mobility for cars, buses, and commercial traffic due to turn lanes and streamlined road design
  • On-street parking
One goal of Hennepin County’s Complete Streets Policy update is to create a modal hierarchy that can guide county transportation professionals in implementing Complete Streets features based on the location and public’s priorities.

Hennepin County’s Complete Streets Policy update is a unique opportunity because its implementation is essential to making progress on some of Hennepin County’s biggest goals:

  • Hennepin County is committed to disparity reduction. The County recognizes that disparities in transportation can and have had consequences for jobs and health, and disparities in housing can seed disparities in transportation, to name a few illustrations. The Complete Streets Policy update is an opportunity to create an implementation framework that will help ensure any disparities impacted by street design are understood and corrected in future projects.
  • Towards Zero Deaths, a policy aimed at eliminating traffic deaths and injuries, emphasizes protected bike and pedestrian spaces, clear intersections, and other road features emphasized in Complete Streets Policies.
  • Climate Action Plan aims to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. More than one third of Hennepin County’s greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation, and the Plan identifies updating the Complete Streets Policy as an important part of successful implementation.

In addition to the county Complete Streets policy, many cities in Hennepin County have adopted city level Complete Streets policies or resolutions.

Each city worked to establish a Complete Streets policy to suit their needs:

View the map of Complete Streets policies throughout Hennepin County (PDF).

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