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Park Rapids looks at complete streets

The Park Rapids City Council was briefed on a Complete Streets Program and how it could benefit the city in planning future improvement projects.

City planner Dan Walker presented the program to the council Tuesday, Jan. 14.

According to the Minnesota Complete Streets Coalition, “Complete streets are designed and operated to be safe and accessible for pedestrians, transit riders, bicyclists and drivers – all users, regardless of age or ability.”

Benefits of complete streets include safety, public health, creating transportation/recreation alternatives, economic development, improving quality of neighborhoods, being cost effective, being environmentally friendly and creating sustainable design, Walker said.

Complete streets are incremental and created as street projects are being completed within the city. They create more “human scale” streets with equal consideration given to all modes of transportation, he added.

Highway 34, Pleasant Avenue and Main Avenue projects that were recently redone in Park Rapids have elements of complete streets, Walker said.

The purpose of being part of the Complete Streets Program is to be committed to thinking of different options as the city looks at its long-term planning, he said. Many cities have passed a resolution committing to the effort.

It’s not just for big cities, Walker emphasized. Frazee, Battle Lake and other cities in west central Minnesota have become Complete Streets cities.

A resolution in support of a Complete Streets Program does not mean the city will need to spend any money. It is a guide to be used in planning future street projects. If it’s not feasible to include complete street elements then they don’t need to be included, Walker said.

Kurt Wayne, who works on transportation and development work with the Headwaters Regional Development Commission, also attended the meeting and said that he could help the city if it planned to incorporate complete street elements in future projects.

Patrick Hollister, who works with PartnerSHIP 4 Health in Becker, Clay, Otter Tail and Wilkin counties, said he has implemented Complete Streets in several communities.

“It’s good for a city to institute it because it endures even if there is new staff or new elected officials,” he said.

Otherwise, there would only be a verbal understanding.

Nels Peterson, who is on the city’s Planning Commission, said that Complete Streets is a guide and a tool that could bring attention to the different modes of transportation in future projects.

“It’s another tool in the tool box,” Walker said.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561