BP001 Safe Routes to Schools Program

Project Details:

Project Start Date: 4/15/2022

Ongoing Program: Y/N

Submitting Department: Public Works

Contact Person: Amy Morgan

Level of Need: Important

Estimated Project Completion Date: 11/15/2027

Department Priority: 4 of 62

Contact Phone Number: (612) 673-2129

Website: More information about Safe Routes to School is available at the following websites:

Minneapolis Public Works - http://www.minneapolismn.gov/publicworks/saferoutes/index.htm

Minneapolis Public Schools - http://emss.mpls.k12.mn.us/sr2s

Project Location:

Address: Citywide

City Sector: Citywide

Affected Neighborhoods: Citywide

Affected Wards: All

Various location throughout the City.

Project Description:

The City’s Safe Routes to School efforts date back to 2005 to help reverse a 30-year decline in the rate of students who walk and bike to school. These efforts have largely focused on minor spot improvements, including durable crosswalks, school crossing signage, pedestrian flasher installation and accessible signal upgrades.

The primary objective of the Safe Routes to School program is to create safe, comfortable, and convenient routes for students and families who walk or bike to schools, parks, and other neighborhood destinations. Another objective is to increase the viable choices for walking and biking to local destinations for all Minneapolis residents. The infrastructure enhancements in this program will primarily serve students Kindergarten through 12th Grade. However, all Minneapolis residents, including families with young children and elderly residents will also benefit from these investments.

Purpose and Justification:

Over the past decade, the City of Minneapolis has greatly expanded its network of Safe Routes to School infrastructure. The Safe Routes to School program will improve the pedestrian and bicycle environments around schools with treatments at arterial crossings with bicycle boulevards, pedestrian refuge medians, pedestrian activated warning devices, curb extensions, and other similar treatments. Project focus areas were selected based on school demographic conditions, potential student users, areas with reported pedestrian safety concerns, identified bicycle routes, crash history, and other site conditions.

Project Visuals and Map:

Project Cost Breakdown

Department Funding Request


Have Grants for this Project been secured?


Describe status and timing details of secured or applied for grants or other non-City funding sources:

This project has been awarded grant funding through numerous sources for projects within the program. The City received a $100,000 grant from Hennepin County for 2020, a $300,000 grant from MnDOT for 2021, and $1,000,000 of federal funding from Metropolitan Council in 2022.

Describe any collaborative arrangements with outside project partners, including who they are and what their role is with the project:

Safe Routes to School within Minneapolis is a collaborative, interagency effort between Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS), Public Works, Police Department, and Health Department among other partners. Since 2009, these partners have met at a monthly Safe Routes to School Work Group whereby pressing issues from the various 5E’s are discussed (Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, Engineering, Evaluation). This collaboration has been integral for addressing the complex, multifaceted issue of how to encourage more students to walk and bike to school, and how to provide students with a safe walking and biking environment. This commitment from agency partners has made Safe Routes efforts within Minneapolis a model for cities statewide.

MPS staff provides coordinated programming efforts to encourage the use of the City’s Safe Routes infrastructure investments, and to generally increase walking and biking to and from public schools. Staff at the Minneapolis Health Department (MHD) function in a similar capacity for many of the city’s private and charter schools. Minneapolis Police Department provides support through their Bike Cops for Kids and Police Activity League programs. They also provide enforcement surrounding school arrival and dismissal operations, and within the city at large. Additionally Hennepin County, MNDOT and FHWA are agency partners that have jurisdiction over various roadways in the city and who administer Safe Routes grant funding to municipalities.


State Law Chapter 462.356 (Subd. 2) requires review of all capital improvements for compliance with the comprehensive municipal plan. Chapter 13, Section 4 of the City Charter requires Location and Design Review for the purpose of approving the sale of bonds for these projects.

Transportation: Minneapolis will build, maintain and enhance access to multi-modal transportation options for residents and businesses through a balanced system of transportation modes that supports the City’s land use vision, reduces adverse transportation impacts, decreases the overall dependency on automobiles, and reflects the city’s pivotal role as the center of the regional transportation network. This project is consistent with planning and policy guidelines set forth in the City’s comprehensive plan Minneapolis 2040.

Provide the date that Location and Design Review was conducted for the project, the outcome of that analysis and the date formal action was taken by the Planning Commission:

Location and Design Review was completed on 5/26/2016. No further review required.

Economic Development

Will the project contribute to growth in the city’s tax base?

Maintains existing tax base.

Describe the economic development impact of the project:

Not Applicable

Does the project support redevelopment opportunity that without the project would be infeasible?

Not Applicable


Is the proposed project on an existing or planned transitway, transit route, or high-volume pedestrian corridor? If yes, provide details on how the project will improve the transit and/or pedestrian experience.

Most of the projects are on low-volume local streets without transit operations. However, pedestrian crossing improvements at locations near high schools will serve students that utilize standard transit vehicles to get to school. Improvements at these locations will improve a pedestrian’s access to transit by narrowing crossing distances, providing a center refuge island, or by installing pedestrian warning devices to alert drivers of their presence.

Does the proposed project anticipate multi-modal enhancements (sidewalks, bicycle or transit facilities)? Provide details.

Yes, the focus of this program is on enhancing bicycle and pedestrian facilities to connect schools, parks and other neighborhood destinations throughout the city. This will include bicycle boulevard improvements, pedestrian crossing treatments along arterials, and the potential for short sidewalk segments or trail gap infill, among other enhancements.

Is the right-of-way constrained and do you anticipate that modes of travel will be competing for space? Provide details, is there potential for innovative design options? Provide details

Right-of-way is typically constrained on local streets within the city. Bicycle boulevard treatments utilize this constrained space by allowing bicyclists to comfortable share the street with motor vehicles. Traffic calming and diversion along a bicycle boulevard enhances the experience for young or novice bicyclists, and has supplemental benefit to pedestrians.

Pedestrian crossing treatments along arterial streets will make effective use of the constrained right of way that is available. For example, curb extensions are located within a portion of the existing street parallel to the parking lane, although city ordinance prohibits parking in this space at the corner. Pedestrian shelter medians typically manage a constrained right-of-way by shift the existing travel lane and eliminating several on-street parking spots.

Operating Impacts

Operations & Capital Asset Maintenance:

Is this request for new or existing infrastructure? Existing

What is the expected useful life of the project/Improvement? 25 Years

Year that Operating Incr/(Decr) will take effect? 2021

What is the estimated annual operating cost increase or (decrease) for this project? Not Applicable

Any Prior Year Remaining Bond Authorizations? Yes

Prior Year Remaining Bond Authorizations: $33,516

Describe how operating cost increases or decreases were determined and include details such as personnel costs, materials, contracts, energy savings, etc:

A typical project within this program would add an additional $1,000 in annual operating costs. This includes some additional winter maintenance costs, sign and pavement marking replacement, and pedestrian signal repair. Additional winter maintenance costs were estimated for typical treatments within the program such as pedestrian medians, traffic circles, and curb extensions. An additional allowance was given for signage, striping and pedestrian signal maintenance based on the typical frequency of these items.

If new infrastructure, discuss how the department/agency will pay for the increased annual operating costs:

The existing maintenance budget will be used to maintain this new infrastructure.

For new infrastructure, describe the estimated timing and dollar amount of future capital investment required to realize the full expected useful life of the project:

Not Applicable

Project Coordination

Describe completion status for ongoing projects and how and when the department/agency plans to use the prior year remaining bond authorizations:

Not Applicable

If this is a new project, describe the major project phases and timing anticipated for completing the project:

Minneapolis Public Works anticipates preliminary design and public involvement to begin one year prior to the start of project construction.

Scalability/Funding Allocation Flexibility – discuss any flexibility to increase or decrease funding among the years in the five-year plan and the most that could be spent in a given year:

Projects are anticipated to be one year construction projects. Spreading the construction over two or more years decreases the cost effectiveness of the projects.

Minneapolis Goals and Strategic Direction

Minneapolis is a growing and vibrant world-class city with a flourishing economy and a pristine environment, where all people are safe, healthy and have equitable opportunities for success and happiness.Below is a description of how this project meets each of the City's Goals. Below is a description of how this project meets each of the City's Goals.

Below is a description of how this project meets each of the City's Goals.

Public Safety

Collaborative and community-inclusive strategies to ensure safety for all members of our community:

Increase accessibility of public infrastructure and public amenities.

Use design principles that ensure a safe and welcoming environment when designing all projects that impact the public realm.

Prioritize safety investments in line with the Complete Streets Policy.

Improve safety for pedestrians, and prioritize pedestrians over other road users, especially at street intersections; focus on signals, crosswalks, lighting, signage, visibility and lowering vehicular speeds through street design and other measures.

Public Health

The City has declared racism a public health emergency, noting that “racism in all its forms causes persistent discrimination and disparate outcomes in many areas of life”. Public Works recognizes the impact of racism in transportation systems and this program/project seeks to promote transportation equity and justice in accordance with the goals of the Strategic & Racial Equity Action Plan 2019-2022 by providing equitable access to multimodal transportation in all parts of the City through thoughtful planning and design.

Environmental Justice:

The City prioritizes sustainable practices and renewable resources to equitably address climate change while restoring and protecting our soil, water and air.

Reduce the energy, carbon, and health impacts of transportation through reduced single-occupancy vehicle trips and phasing out of fossil fuel vehicles.

Plan, design, build, maintain, and operate the city’s transportation system in a way that prioritizes pedestrians first, followed by bicycling and transit use, and lastly motor vehicle use. (Complete Streets Policy. Adopted May 2016.)

Improve the pedestrian environment in order to encourage walking and the use of mobility aids as a mode of transportation.

Improve and expand bicycle facilities in order to encourage bicycling as a mode of transportation.

Improve access to goods and services via walking, biking and transit.

Support development and public realm improvements near existing and planned METRO stations that result in walkable districts for living, working, shopping, and recreating.

Proactively improve the public realm to support a pedestrian friendly, high-quality and distinctive built environment.

Improve the tree canopy and urban forest.

Improve air quality by reducing emissions of pollutants that harm human health and the environment.

Minneapolis has also declared a climate emergency that demands a massive-scale mobilization to halt, reverse and address the consequences and causes of climate change. Through the Transportation Action Plan, Public Works has stated its intention to drastically reduce the transportation sector’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, and this program/project aims to develop networks that will bring a climate-forward transportation system for the people of Minneapolis.

Built Environment & Transportation:

The City prioritizes high quality neighborhoods, streets, infrastructure and equitable access to multimodal transportation in all parts of the City through thoughtful planning and design.

The City of Minneapolis will promote design for the built environment that is dynamic and durable, reflects the diversity of Minneapolis residents, and contributes to a sense of place and community identity. The City will also proactively improve the public realm, including streets, sidewalks, parks and open spaces between buildings, to ensure that public spaces and private development are thoughtfully connected.

Achieving this goal also requires changes to the transportation system that make it easier to walk, bike or use transit to access daily needs. The City will proactively improve the pedestrian environment and continue to build and maintain a network of bikeways, while working with Metro Transit to increase the frequency, speed and reliability of the public transit system.

Additional Information

Add any additional information you feel is important for the CLIC committee, Mayor, City Council members or the general public to know about this potential project and why it should be approved:

Capital improvement projects such as this one complete a corridor and enhance the character of the area which helps preserve property values and the city’s tax base.

More information about Safe Routes to School is available at the following websites:

Minneapolis Public Works - http://www.minneapolismn.gov/publicworks/saferoutes/index.htm

Minneapolis Public Schools - http://emss.mpls.k12.mn.us/sr2s