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Pedestrian Master Plan Appendix B

The Minneapolis Plan Goals and Policies Related to Pedestrians

The Minneapolis Plan for Sustainable Growth has extensive policies and goals related to improving the pedestrian environment of the City and increasing walking. These policies are primarily addressed through the Land Use, Transportation and Urban Design chapters. Most of these policies are listed below; for complete listing of policies, see The Minneapolis Plan for Sustainable Growth.

Land Use

Goal 1: Minneapolis will develop and maintain a land use pattern that strengthens the vitality, quality and urban character of its downtown core, commercial corridors, industrial areas, and neighborhoods while protecting natural systems and developing a sustainable pattern for future growth.

Policy 1.1: Establish land use regulations to achieve the highest possible development standards, enhance the environment, protect public health, support a vital mix of land uses, and promote flexible approaches to carry out the comprehensive plan.

  • 1.1.5 Ensure that land use regulations continue to promote development that is compatible with nearby properties, neighborhood character, and natural features; minimizes pedestrian and vehicular conflict; promotes street life and activity; reinforces public spaces; and visually enhances development.

Policy 1.3: Ensure that development plans incorporate appropriate transportation access and facilities, particularly for bicycle, pedestrian, and transit.

  • 1.3.1 Require safe, convenient, and direct pedestrian connections between principal building entrances and the public right-of-way in all new development and, where practical, in conjunction with renovation and expansion of existing buildings.
  • 1.3.2 Ensure the provision of high quality transit, bicycle, and pedestrian access to and within designated land use features.
  • 1.3.3 Encourage above-ground structured parking facilities to incorporate development that provides active uses on the ground floor.

Policy 1.4: Develop and maintain strong and successful commercial and mixed use areas with a wide range of character and functions to serve the needs of current and future users.

  • 1.4.1 Support a variety of commercial districts and corridors of varying size, intensity of development, mix of uses, and market served.
  • 1.4.2 Promote standards that help make commercial districts and corridors desirable, viable, and distinctly urban, including: diversity of activity, safety for pedestrians, access to desirable goods and amenities, attractive streetscape elements, density and variety of uses to encourage walking, and architectural elements to add interest at the pedestrian level.

Policy 1.7: Limit new and expanded auto-oriented uses in the city so impacts on the form and character of commercial areas and neighborhoods can be minimized.

  • 1.7.1 Discourage new and expanded high traffic, auto-oriented uses in neighborhood commercial nodes.
  • 1.7.2 Direct auto-oriented uses to locations on Commercial Corridors that are not at the intersection of two designated corridors, where more traditional urban form would be appropriate.
  • 1.7.3 Auto-oriented uses should be designed with aspects of traditional urban form, to minimize the impact on the pedestrian realm.

Policy 1.9: Through attention to the mix and intensity of land uses and transit service, the City will support development along Community Corridors that enhances residential livability and pedestrian access.

  • 1.9.1 Support the continued presence of existing small-scale retail sales and commercial services along Community Corridors.
  • 1.9.2 Support new small-scale retail sales and services, commercial services, and mixed uses where Community Corridors intersect with Neighborhood Commercial Nodes.
  • 1.9.3 Discourage uses that diminish the transit and pedestrian oriented character of Community Corridors, such as automobile services and drive-through facilities.

Policy 1.10: Support development along Commercial Corridors that enhances the street’s character, fosters pedestrian movement, expands the range of goods and services available, and improves the ability to accommodate automobile traffic.

  • 1.10.1 Support a mix of uses – such as retail sales, office, institutional, high-density residential and clean low impact light industrial – where compatible with the existing and desired character.
  • 1.10.2 Encourage commercial development, including active uses on the ground floor, where Commercial Corridors intersect with other designated corridors.
  • 1.10.3 Discourage uses that diminish the transit and pedestrian character of Commercial Corridors, such as some automobile services and drive-through facilities, where Commercial Corridors intersect other designated corridors.

Policy 1.11: Preserve and enhance a system of Neighborhood Commercial Nodes that includes a mix of housing, neighborhood-serving retail, and community uses.

  • 1.11.1 Discourage the commercial territorial expansion of Neighborhood Commercial Nodes, except to adjacent corners of the node’s main intersection.
  • 1.11.2 Support the continued presence of small-scale, neighborhood serving retail and commercial services in Neighborhood Commercial Nodes.
  • 1.11.3 Discourage new or expanded uses that diminish the transit and pedestrian character of Neighborhood Commercial Nodes, such as some automobile services and drive-through facilities.

Policy 1.12: Support Activity Centers by preserving the mix and intensity of land uses and by enhancing the design features that give each center its unique urban character.

  • 1.12.1 Encourage a variety of commercial and residential uses that generate activity all day long and into the evening.
  • 1.12.2 Encourage mixed use buildings, with commercial uses located on the ground floor and secure entrances for residential uses.
  • 1.12.3 Encourage active uses on the ground floor of buildings in Activity Centers.
  • 1.12.4 Discourage uses that diminish the transit and pedestrian character of Activity Centers, such as automobile services, surface parking lots, and drive-through facilities.

Policy 1.13: Support high density development near transit stations in ways that encourage transit use and contribute to interesting and vibrant places.

  • 1.13.1 Encourage pedestrian-oriented services and retail uses as part of higher density development near transit stations.
  • 1.13.2 Pursue opportunities to integrate existing and new development with transit stations through joint development.
  • 1.13.3 Discourage uses that diminish the transit and pedestrian character of areas around transit stations, such as automobile services, surface parking lots, and drive-through facilities.
  • 1.13.4 Encourage architectural design, building massing and site plans to create or improve public and semi-public spaces near the station.
  • 1.13.5 Concentrate highest densities and mixed use development adjacent to the transit station and along connecting corridors served by bus.
  • 1.13.6 Encourage investment and place making around transit stations through infrastructure changes and the planning and installation of streetscape, public art, and other public amenities.

Policy 1.16: Support a limited number of Major Retail Centers, while promoting their compatibility with the surrounding area and their accessibility to transit, bicycle and foot traffic

  • 1.16.1 Encourage the development of mixed residential, office, institutional and, where appropriate, small-scale retail sales and services to serve as transitions between Major Retail Centers and neighboring residential areas.
  • 1.16.2 Incorporate principles of traditional urban design in new and phased development, including buildings that reinforce the street wall, have windows that provide "eyes on the street", and principal entrances that face the public sidewalks.


Goal 2: 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.

Policy 2.1: Encourage growth and reinvestment by sustaining the development of a multi-modal transportation system.

  • 2.1.4: Preserve the existing transportation grid through right-of-way preservation and acquisition.

Policy 2.2: Support successful streets and communities by balancing the needs of all modes of transportation with land use policy.

  • 2.2.3 Promote street and sidewalk design that balances handling traffic flow with pedestrian orientation and principles of traditional urban form.

Policy 2.3: Encourage walking throughout the city by ensuring that routes are safe, comfortable and pleasant.

  • 2.3.1 Ensure that there are safe and accessible pedestrian routes to major destinations, including transit corridors, from nearby residential areas.
  • 2.3.2 Identify and encourage the development of pedestrian routes within Activity Centers, Growth Centers, and other commercial areas that have superior pedestrian facilities.
  • 2.3.3 Develop and implement guidelines for streets and sidewalks to ensure safe, attractive, and accessible pedestrian facilities.
  • 2.3.4 Maintain the street grid, reconnecting it where possible, and discourage the creation of superblocks that isolate pedestrians and increase walking distances.
  • 2.3.5 Continue to enforce standards for building placement and design based primarily on the needs of pedestrians.
  • 2.3.6 Provide creative solutions to increasing and improving pedestrian connectivity across barriers such as freeways, creeks and the river, and commercial areas, such as shopping centers.
  • 2.3.7 Minimize and consolidate driveway curb cuts as opportunities arise, and discourage curb cuts where alleys are available.

Policy 2.8: Balance the demand for parking with objectives for improving the environment for transit, walking and bicycling, while supporting the city’s business community.

  • 2.8.1 Implement offstreet parking regulations which provide a certain number of parking spaces for nearby uses, while still maintaining an environment that encourages bicycle, pedestrian, and transit travel.

Policy 2.10: Support the development of a multi-modal Downtown transportation system that encourages an increasingly dense and vibrant regional center.

  • 2.10.3 Identify and develop primary pedestrian routes that encourage walking throughout Downtown and which are the focus of particular infrastructure improvements.
  • 2.10.4 Improve the pedestrian environment Downtown to ensure it is a safe, enjoyable, and accessible place to walk. Encourage strategies such as wider sidewalks for pedestrian movement, trees, landscaping, street furniture, improved transit facilities, additional bicycle facilities, and on-street parking and other curbside uses.
  • 2.10.5 Improve wayfinding and vertical circulation between the street and skyway system, particularly along primary transit and pedestrian routes.
  • 2.10.7 Improve local transportation across freeways, including promoting adequate spacing and connectivity of streets and improved pedestrian, bicycle, and transit facilities on local streets crossing the freeways.
  • 2.10.8 Manage the growth of the parking supply consistent with objectives for transit, walking and bicycling.

Urban Design

Goal 10: Minneapolis will be an attractive and inviting city that promotes harmony between the natural and built environments, gives prominence to pedestrian facilities and amenities, and respects the city’s traditional urban features while welcoming new construction and improvements.

Policy 10.2: Integrate pedestrian scale design features into Downtown site and building designs and infrastructure improvements.

  • 10.2.1 The ground floor of buildings should be occupied by active uses with direct connections to the sidewalk.
  • 10.2.2 The street level of buildings should have windows to allow for clear views into and out of the building.
  • 10.2.3 Ensure that buildings incorporate design elements that eliminate long stretches of blank, inactive building walls such as windows, green walls, architectural details, and murals.
  • 10.2.4 Integrate components in building designs that offer protection to pedestrians, such as awnings and canopies, as a means to encourage pedestrian activity along the street.
  • 10.2.5 Locate access to and egress from parking ramps mid-block and at right angles to minimize disruptions to pedestrian flow at the street level.
  • 10.2.6 Arrange buildings within a site in order to minimize the generation of wind currents at ground level.
  • 10.2.7 Locate buildings so that shadowing on public spaces and adjacent properties is minimized.
  • 10.2.8 Coordinate site designs and public right-of-way improvements to provide adequate sidewalk space for pedestrian movement, street trees, landscaping, street furniture, sidewalk cafes and other elements of active pedestrian areas. Policy

Policy 10.3: Use skyways to connect buildings Downtown.

  • 10.3.1 Provide maximum transparency of skyway walls in order to provide views to the outside that help users orient themselves.
  • 10.3.2 Maintain uniform skyway hours of operation wherever possible.
  • 10.3.3 Provide consistent and uniform directional signage and accessible skyway system maps near skyway entrances, particularly along primary transit and pedestrian routes.
  • 10.3.4 Provide convenient and easily accessible vertical connections between the skyway system and the public sidewalks, particularly along primary transit and pedestrian routes.
  • 10.3.5 Maintain functional links in the skyway system while adjoining properties undergo redevelopment or renovation.
  • 10.3.6 Limit skyway expansion to the downtown core and at other key sites with high-intensity uses in order to minimize low-usage skyways and maximize street-level pedestrian activity in growing downtown neighborhoods and historic areas.

Policy 10.6: New multi-family development or renovation should be designed in terms of traditional urban building form with pedestrian scale design features at the street level.

  • 10.6.4 Orient buildings and building entrances to the street with pedestrian amenities like wider sidewalks and green spaces.
  • 10.6.5 Street-level building walls should include an adequate distribution of windows and architectural features in order to create visual interest at the pedestrian level.

Policy 10.9: Support urban design standards that emphasize traditional urban form with pedestrian scale design features at the street level in mixed-use and transit-oriented development.

  • 10.9.1 Encourage both mixed-use buildings and a mix of uses in separate buildings where appropriate.
  • 10.9.2 Promote building and site design that delineates between public and private spaces.
  • 10.9.3 Provide safe, accessible, convenient, and lighted access and way finding to transit stops and transit stations along the Primary Transit Network bus and rail corridors.
  • 10.9.4 Coordinate site designs and public right-of-way improvements to provide adequate sidewalk space for pedestrian movement, street trees, landscaping, street furniture, sidewalk cafes and other elements of active pedestrian areas.

Policy 10.10: Support urban design standards that emphasize a traditional urban form in commercial areas.

  • 10.10.1 Enhance the city's commercial districts by encouraging appropriate building forms and designs, historic preservation objectives, site plans that enhance the pedestrian environment, and by maintaining high quality four season public spaces and infrastructure.
  • 10.10.2 Identify commercial areas in the city that reflect, or used to reflect, traditional urban form and develop appropriate standards and preservation or restoration objectives for these areas.
  • 10.10.3 Enhance pedestrian and transit-oriented commercial districts with street furniture, street plantings, plazas, water features, public art and improved transit and pedestrian and bicycle amenities.
  • 10.10.4 Orient new buildings to the street to foster safe and successful commercial nodes and corridors.
  • 10.10.5 Limit the visual impact of existing billboards in neighborhood commercial areas.
  • 10.10.6 Require storefront window transparency to assure both natural surveillance and an inviting pedestrian experience.

Policy 10.15: Wherever possible, restore and maintain the traditional street and sidewalk grid as part of new developments.

  • 10.15.1 Consider street vacations as a last resort to preserve the network of city streets and arterials.
  • 10.15.2 Integrate and/or reuse historic pavement materials for streets and sidewalk reconstruction, where appropriate.
  • 10.15.3 Reduce street widths for safe and convenient pedestrian crossing by adding medians, boulevards, or bump-outs.
  • 10.15.4 Improve access management and way-finding to and from all streets, sidewalks, and other pedestrian connections.
  • 10.15.5 Explore options to redesign larger blocks through the reintroduction and extension of the urban street grid.

Policy 10.16: Design streets and sidewalks to ensure safety, pedestrian comfort and aesthetic appeal.

  • 10.16.1 Encourage wider sidewalks in commercial nodes, activity centers, along community and commercial corridors and in growth centers such as Downtown and the University of Minnesota.
  • 10.16.2 Provide streetscape amenities, including street furniture, trees, and landscaping, that buffer pedestrians from auto traffic, parking areas, and winter elements.
  • 10.16.3 Integrate placement of street furniture and fixtures, including landscaping and lighting, to serve a function and not obstruct pedestrian pathways andpedestrian flows.
  • 10.16.4 Employ pedestrian-friendly features along streets, including street trees and landscaped boulevards that add interest and beauty while also managing storm water, appropriate lane widths, raised intersections, and high-visibility crosswalks.

Policy 10.15: Wherever possible, restore and maintain the traditional street and sidewalk grid as part of new developments.

  • 10.15.1: Consider street vacations as a last resort to preserve the network of city streets and arterials. Policy

Policy 10.17: Provide sufficient lighting to reflect community character, provide a comfortable environment in a northern city and promote environmentally friendly lighting systems.

  • 10.17.1 Provide high-quality lighting fixture designs that are appropriate to street types and land use, and that provide pedestrian friendly illumination, but minimize glare and dark sky conditions, and other unnecessary light pollution.
  • 10.17.2 Require circuit installations below grade for new developments.
  • 10.17.3 Encourage pedestrian scale lighting throughout neighborhoods as well as in areas such as waterfronts, pathways, parks and plazas, and designated historic districts.
  • 10.17.4 Ensure that all site lighting requirements and directional signs have appropriate illumination levels to comply with zoning and industry illumination standards.
  • 10.17.5 Integrate exterior building lighting design to attune with building designs and landscaping.
  • 10.17.6 Provide sufficient lighting for better way-finding and safe circulation within and around a development.
  • 10.17.7 Encourage additional pedestrian-scale, exterior lighting in growth centers, activity centers, commercial nodes, pedestrian overlay districts and transit station areas.
  • 10.17.8 Update city zoning code to reflect best available practices related to dark skies and the environmental benefits of strategic lighting management.

Policy 10.18: Reduce the visual impact of automobile parking facilities.

  • 10.18.4 Provide walkways within parking lots in order to guide pedestrians through the site.
  • 10.18.6 The ground floor of parking structures should be designed with active uses along the street walls except where frontage is needed to provide for vehicular and pedestrian access.
  • 10.18.17 Minimize the width of ingress and egress lanes along the public right of way in order to provide safe pedestrian access across large driveways.

Policy 10.21: Unique areas and neighborhoods within the city should have a special set of sign standards to allow for effective signage appropriate to the planned character of each area/neighborhood.

  • 10.21.2 To promote street life and activity, signs should be located and sized to be viewed by people on foot (not vehicles) in order to preserve and encourage the pedestrian character of commercial areas that have traditional urban form.

Policy 10.22: Use Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles when designing all projects that impact the public realm, including open spaces and parks, on publicly owned and private land.

  • 10.22.1 Integrate "eyes on the street" into building design through the use of windows to foster safer and more successful commercial areas in the city.
  • 10.22.2 Orient new housing to the street to foster safe neighborhoods.
  • 10.22.3 Design the site, landscaping, and buildings to promote natural observation and maximize the opportunities for people to observe adjacent spaces and public sidewalks.
  • 10.22.4 Provide on-site lighting at all building entrances and along walkways that maintains a minimum acceptable level of security while not creating glare or excessive lighting of the site.
  • 10.22.5 Locate landscaping, sidewalks, lighting, fencing and building features to clearly guide pedestrian movement on or through the site and to control and restrict people to appropriate locations.
  • 10.22.6 Use innovative building designs and landscaping to limit or eliminate the opportunity for graffiti tagging.
  • 10.22.7 Locate entrances, exits, signs, fencing, landscaping, and lighting to distinguish between public and private areas, control access, and to guide people coming to and going from the site.

Policy 10.23 Promote climate-sensitive design principles to make the winter environment safe, comfortable and enjoyable.

  • 10.23.1 Consider solar access, shelter from wind and snow storage and removal in site design.
  • 10.23.2 Locate pedestrian places on the sunny sides of streets and buildings to shelter from the wind and utilize the sun’s warmth.
  • 10.23.3 Consider building context, placement, and height to manage wind speeds.
  • 10.23.4 Encourage snow removal and storage practices that promote pedestrian and bicycle activity and safety.
  • 10.23.5 Utilize pedestrian lighting, seasonal lighting, and furniture to increase comfort and safety so that streets become places for people.
  • 10.23.6 Encourage street tree plantings to reduce wind speed and provide separation between pedestrians and cars.
  • 10.23.7 Consider topography and site grading so that snowmelt is directed away from roads and pedestrian areas to avoid icy conditions and from basements to avoid snowmelt infiltration.
  • 10.23.8 Develop guidance that encourages climate-sensitive design for residential and commercial buildings, parking lots, and open spaces and parks.

Policy 10.24: Preserve the natural ecology and the historical features that define Minneapolis’ unique identity in the region.

  • 10.24.3 Increase public access to, along and across the river in the form of parks, cyclist/pedestrian bridges, greenways, sidewalks and trails.

Last updated Sep 27, 2011



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