ARCH 4150 “Mayor 101”
City of Minneapolis
SAFE & WALKABLE COMMUNITIES ACTION PLAN
TABLE OF CONTENTS Sources 2 3 4-5 6-7 8-9 10-11 12-13 14-15
Table of Contents/Sources Executive Summary Problem Definition Goal 1- Infrastructure Improvements Goal 2- Nighttime Improvements Goal 3- Neighborhood Improvements Goal 4- Proper Implementation Partnerships
Sources 1) BBC News. “Glow in the dark road unveiled in the Netherlands.” 14 April 2014. www.bbc.com. Document. 26 April 2014. 2) Bicycle Federation of America Campaign to Make America Walkable. “Creating Walkable Communities.” December 1998. www.bikewalk.org. Document. April 2014. 3) Creative Santa Fe. Walkability Program. n.d. April 2014. 4) Discover America. Millennium Park. Chicago, Illinois, April 2014. 5) Minneapolis Walk Score. www.walkscore.com. n.d. April 2014 6) Minnesota State Arts Board. “Minnesota Percent for Art in Public Places.” n.d. http://www.arts.state. mn.us. Electronic. April 2014. 7) RAIDS. Crime Data. Minneapolis, April 2014. Electronic. 8) The Walkable City. Perf. Jeff Speck. TimesCenter, New York City. September 2013. TEDCity2.0. 9) U.S. Census Bureau. Density, Income, Ethnicity Data. Washington, DC, 2010. Electronic. 10) Woodland Drives Neighborhood . “Paper Three: Safety, Crime Prevention, and Walkability.” Spring 2011. www.wooddrives.com. Document. April 2014. 11) www.crimepreventiontips.org. Safety While in the Park. n.d. Document. 12) www.usaonwatch.org. National Neighborhood Watch Program. n.d. April 2014.
James Corner Field Operations plan for a new more walkable activated Nicollet Mall
Walkable Streets=Safe Streets Minneapolis ranks highly for being a city that is bike and pedestrian friendly. However, we have also been known for racial inequality and susceptiblity to crimes. Therefore, we need to do a better job at solving issues related to crime, especially in regards to walkability. When crime decreases, walkability become more favorable. Likewise, when more people take to the streets, more eyes help to deter crimes. This Safe and Walkable Communities Action Plan looks to address both issues, in order to provide the greatest impact to benefit the community. Four goals have been identified, that once executed, will provide the city of Minneapolis better walkable streets and neighborhoods providing financial, health, and ecological benefits to city residents. It will also help to deter crimes that occur on the street such as thefts and assaults, resulting in a much friendlier and attractive environment, with long term goals of increasing development within the city. Goal 1- Infrastructure Improvements Goal 2- Nighttime Improvements Goal 3- Neighborhood Improvements Goal 4- Proper Implementation The question often gets asked, is the funding worth the return on investment? We can look to the city of Portland for the effects of one of the countryâ€™s most walkable cities. As a result of being able to walk more and take public transit, they spend less 20% less on transportation related costs.8 As a result Portlanders spend more of their income per capita on recreational activities such as bookstores, coffee, alcohol, even strip clubs than the rest of America which benefits the local economy. They also attract more young talented educated residents who seek a car free lifestyle. This can help Minneapolis attract the next generation of smart talented people. Portland has seen a 50% increase in college completed millennials, five times the amount of any other city in America.8 We also know that there are health benefits to walking more. Decreasing problems like diabetes and heart disease is a positive side effect of encouraging walking by residents. Looking to increase walkability in areas that are known to have high rates of obesity can only act as a positive impact on the health of a community. Therefore, investing in walkability improvements provides a major benefit to the community, and can help to make Minneapolis one of the most pedestrian and bike friendly cities in America. It will also help to increase our fantastic quality of life, and make the city a much more lively environment that fosters a strong sense of community. 8
Jeff Speck, The Walkable City, Ted Talk, September 2013
Public art that engages walkers and activates street life
Combating Crime, Improving Cities City living is often thought of as being more dangerous than suburban living due to the number of crimes that happen in a city. There are many reasons crime is attributed to an area, the maps show how Minneapolis crime locations relate to a variety of reasons. The maps below show clear concentrations of crime across the city in particular areas. It appears as though crime tends to occur in areas of high density. In American, high density has often been related to low incomes and minorities based on the social injustice across the country. Therefore, the areas known for crime or which are thought of as being “bad” areas tend to be the high diversity and density areas, mainly due to poverty. This density is what makes these areas walkable because businesses go where the customers are and having a concentration of customers is good for business. So at the surface it can appear as though walkable areas are also crime areas, but density in general plays a huge role in this apparent correlation. We know that “bad people” exist everywhere, and with a greater density of people there tends to naturally be more “bad people” around. INCOME
Crime data provided by RAIDS Online.7 Density, income, and ethnicity data provided by the US Census Bureau.9 Walkability data provided by walkscore.com.5
Therefore, in order to solve the issues of crime and its relationship to walkability, if we know that the density brings both we can offer design solutions to make sure our walkable areas are safe. Jane Jacobs theory about “more eyes on the street” holds true as more people tend to deter criminals, and can act as witnesses, responders, and reporters if a crime does occur. One of the biggest problems with walkability is the change from day to night. During the day people tend to feel generally safe, but at night they feel much more unsafe. A survey of residents in Woodland Drives, TN found that 90.1% of residents felt safe or somewhat safe during the day, but at night the same group reported that only 42.9% of residents felt safe or somewhat safe.10 This represents a dramatic need to improve walkability conditions at night.
MINNEAPOLIS SAFE & WALKABLE COMMUNITIES ACTION PLAN
Organizations across the country have set up guidelines to help communities make decisions to create walkable safe cities. Therefore, we know what needs to be done for success the question then becomes the how, who gets involved and what other steps besides design need to be taken to make a street more walkable and safe. The Bicycle Federation of America Campaign to Make America Walkable has laid out a few such guidelines like coherence of elements like trees, lighting and materials, safety of crossings, and accessibility considerations.
Ideal walkable street section
Ideal walkable street intersection
We also have extensive knowledge about the benefits of walkable cities besides just being for safety reasons. The Creative Santa Fe Walkability Program3 has laid out such benefits as increased economic development, public health, added amenities, environmental effects of driving less, and a more beautiful city with all the added walkable improvements such as lighting and trees. Therefore, it shouldnâ€™t be hard to argue a reason for why walkability is a good thing, many people know it is and support it which is why four goals to help implement increased walkability and hence safety are to be taken into consideration moving forward. The city of Minneapolis also needs to develop a strong neighborhood grassroots strategy for improving walkability at the neighborhood scale. Residents tend to know the area near their home the best and seeking their involvement in creating safe walkable streets, is key to a successful result. Public input on any new improvement strategy should include multiple opportunities for community engagement such as online feedback, open houses, and public forums about the topic. Residents can provide input about perceived unsafe areas in their neighborhood in order to address the concerns for safety. Additional study and research should then be conducted to determine the levels of crime in these areas to get a sense of the true issues at hand. Itâ€™s clear that both safety and walkability stand to benefit from one another. Safer streets become more walkable, and more walkable streets become safer. Hopefully a side effect of this action plan will be a greater increase in density and jobs taking advantage of new safe streets. These new jobs could greatly benefit the areas of poverty, resulting in a diverse workforce that creates economic benefits for all. By simply improving walking, we can improve an entire community which strengthens our entire region.
Infrastructure Improvements In order to improve the infrastructure of our sidewalks and trails, we need not look any further then our incredible bike trails in the city. Two greenways, nine trails, and the Grand Rounds that links then all together create a clear network that makes biking in Minneapolis incredibly easy to do. While some of these trails do allow for pedestrian use near them, a similar strategy could be applied to pedestrian movement across the city. Currently Minneapolis has two main pedestrian malls, Nicollet in downtown and Washington Avenue on the University of Minnesota campus. These two places see the most pedestrian traffic in the city, these pedestrian zones attract Nicollet Mall Transit Mall more walkers, as a result of their design. Therefore, we should be investing in new pedestrian amenity streets across the city, especially in areas susceptible to crime. These pedestrian malls attract more walkers then nearby streets, so you have more eyes in a concentrated area creating safer spaces for people. In Minneapolis, there are a number of streets that move from East to West, but the pedestrians choose Nicollet, because it is more walkable, and safe. Businesses choose it as well, because that is where the customers are located. Possible locations for implementation could be along Broadway in North Minneapolis or in Uptown on Lake Street, since these are already in dense neighborhoods. Other locations are denoted on the map below, mainly areas with existing high foot traffic, and areas that need increased economic development. Improved transit options could also be a part of these pedestrian mall strategies similar to Washington Ave Transit/Pedestian Nicollet and Washington Avenue. Mall
Possible pedestrian improvement streets across the city
These pedestrian zones should feature elements such as pedestrian scale lighting, trees, unified signage, colored concrete pavers, and policies enacted to dictate future storefronts, with elements such as large glass windows, awnings, and sidewalk seating. These features should be installed consistently in the different zones, in order to create an equitable and just system. That being said, each area should feature some distinct features to assist with placemaking, and giving each area its own identity. This could best be accomplished by funding public art projects along the corridors. Public art has been seen as an attractor to both residents and tourists alike when done right. This can best be seen with Millennium Park in Chicago, although it is not in a walkable corridor, the same strategy could be used. As a result of the Cloudgate “bean” the park has “remained wildly popular”4 since opening. discoveramerica.com
MINNEAPOLIS SAFE & WALKABLE COMMUNITIES ACTION PLAN
The Grand Rounds provide another example that could be beneficial to walkers; the use of unified directional signage provides a consistent look and creates a system. Since walking takes longer and linking all pedestrian malls would be a challenge, each one could contain similar signage so walkers would understand that theyâ€™ve entered a pedestrian amenity zone. Plans also exist for the creation of a new greenway through North Minneapolis that would convert streets with minimal traffic into greenways or bike boulevards. This strategy also benefits the walker, as sidewalks also remain in place, and improvements benefit both the walking and biking communities. In addition to creating more pedestrian malls, great care should be taken to upkeep our existing sidewalks. The city needs to do regular sidewalk inspections in order to keep them maintained for safe Typical signage for the Grand comfortable walking. If the sidewalks become un-walkable, then this Rounds Bicycle Trails alone will drive people off of the streets. This also creates safety concerns in another sense besides just crime, as those on skates, pushing strollers, or in wheelchairs become more susceptible to falling if sidewalks develop major cracks or bumps. Finally, there is a need to invest in developing our mixed use infrastructure in the city especially along these new pedestrian areas. Incentives should be put into place for developers to locate in and around the areas in order to create higher density. This increase in density is key for the safety of these areas. With more residents and businesses along these corridors there will be greater presence on the streets. The more residents you have, the greater likelihood that businesses will stay open longer, and by having residents who could be watching the sidewalk at any time will deter potential criminals from an area, as they often prefer secluded locations and people who are isolated.11 This creates a potential problem for nearby streets near the pedestrian malls, as they may actually lose the number of walkers on those streets. However, walkers will quickly figure out the safest route home, with our grid system of streets there are many different ways one can walk to arrive at the same destination. Therefore, they will choose the path of greatest safety to get from point A to point B, as seen below.
Identifying the safest route to a destination
Option 1 (Safest Route) Option 2 Option 3 Option 4 Pedesrian Mall
GOAL 2 Nighttime Improvements In order to create truly safe walkable environments, consideration must be given to nighttime situations, to create around the clock safety for walkers. Multiple steps can be taken to ensure safety, and there are a bunch of new state-of-the-art technology options that are beginning to be introduced into the market. This would be a fantastic opportunity for Minneapolis to be at the forefront of nighttime safety innovation. First, lighting strategies should include pedestrian scaled lighting to provide brighter streets near walkers. This also has a business impact by providing lighting at the storefront level, helping to activate shops at night. The city of Seattle has begun to implement this strategy under the auspices that â€œGood outdoor lighting can create and encourage a pedestrian friendly environment, which is especially beneficial to neighborhood business districts. Pedestrian-scale lights improve walkway illumination for pedestrian traffic and enhance community safety and business exposure.â€? Although Pittsfield, Massachusetts street lighting strategy traditional pedestrian lighting has not been sufficient enough for vehicular traffic, new LED technologies and high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps are making it possible to simply use pedestrian scale lighting to light entire streets. In addition to typical lighting strategies new technology in glow-in-the-dark pathways is beginning to emerge.1 This would provide a major draw for people to experience, and could even become a tourist destination activating the street in a literal way. Glow technologies could also be applied to other aspects of pedestrian streets, such as signage or lamp poles to illuminate them at night, creating an entire glow-in-the-dark lighting experience for the walker. Example of a glow-in-the-dark walkway
Businesses can also play a major role in nighttime safety for pedestrians. They can install exterior lighting on their businesses which acts to draw attention to their storefronts and help to illuminate the street. In addition to illuminating facades, businesses should also be encouraged to remain open longer at night. Businesses can become safe havens in the event of a crime for people to call for help, and they provide extra sets of eyes and ears to help deter criminals. Lastly, they also draw more people to the streets, as you might remain at a restaurant later at night that stays open longer, or you might make a last minute trip out to the store, or simply avoid long lines by shopping later at night. BBC April 14, 2014
MINNEAPOLIS SAFE & WALKABLE COMMUNITIES ACTION PLAN
Minneapolis is also home to one of the greatest expression of nighttime pedestrian activation, the annual Northern Spark art festival. The festival is widely popular, last year drawing 20,000 people out to the streets of St. Paul. The city should look to commissioning these and similar artists for more permanent public art pieces meant specifically for night activation. This could open the opportunity for a dramatic shift in thinking about nighttime walking in the city.
Jim Campbell, “Scattered Light,” Northern Spark, 2011.
Instead of being thought of as dangerous it could be thought of as exciting and act to draw people out into the streets. The possibilities that exist for a “glow street” becoming the first of its kind would be revolutionary. Combining glow-in-the-dark paths, and art would allow for a complete nighttime pedestrian experience unlike anywhere else, and would surly become a destination in its own right. This could also be hugely beneficial to businesses in the area creating the possibility for exciting nightlife. The development potential around such an iconic street is vast, and care should be taken to locate this type of street(s). Areas in need of economic development, or areas that see a majority of crimes committed in the evening and nighttime hours should be given top priority for installation and execution.
Potenial nighttime street scene being activated by illuminated artworks Wil Natzel, “Night Blooms,” Northern Spark, 2012.
Neighborhood Improvements Action should be taken to improve walkability at the neighborhood level in order to have the most effect at a grassroots level. Different programs and idea gathering devices should be put in place to make feedback from residents as easy as possible. This feedback could include anything from suggestions for improvement, ideas for implementation or information about what might not be working in a particular area. This feedback will allow for a better targeted approach to issues, resulting in the best possible solutions. In order to increase safety in a neighborhood, neighborhood watch programs should be started to educate residents about specific behaviors to look for to help combat crime. According to the National Neighborhood Watch Programs website, “crime is higher in “socially disorganized areas” marked by weakened informal control due to an erosion of shared norms.”12 Therefore, if you can create a sense of shared norms in regards to safety, this can work to bring down crime. Since police are unable to exist everywhere at all times, the informal control, such as eyes on the streets, is the main way to prevent crime. Without this form of control, criminals feel as though they will not get caught, and therefore attempt to commit crimes much more often, then in areas where they feel there is a strong sense of informal or formal control. These neighborhood watch programs should also work to expand the cities block captain program. There are a number of reasons why one would want a block captain in their neighborhood. Although they never take the place of police, they can take steps to make sure everyone is aware of what is going on in their community, by acting as a liaison between police and the community. Neighbors can also report things such as graffiti or point out an increase of crime in a particular area that could then be shared with all the residents. This allows for all eyes in the area to be on alert for issues, which benefits walkers in a neighborhood. Residents moving into a neighborhood should be told about any such program in the area and how they can get involved themselves. Maps could also be published showing which areas are in need of a block captain, to ensure proper coverage across the city.
Example of a neighborhood watch warning sign
As was discussed before, not every street can receive the same upgrades to provide the safest walking environment, which is where the neighborhood watch program becomes key. By placing signs indicating they are a watch community, and holding frequent neighborhood meetings, it sends the message to any potential criminals that they are not wanted and that citizens are equipped with the right tools to prevent crime. Typical map showing streets with block captains and identifying streets that still need a designated person
MINNEAPOLIS SAFE & WALKABLE COMMUNITIES ACTION PLAN
Beyond establishing a strong community of watchful residents, the city should hire inspectors to offer residents free or cheap home safety audits, so that residents looking to improve the safety of their environments can do so with an informed knowledge. These checklists could also be beneficial for walkers in a neighborhood. The addition of elements such as trimmed shrubs security cameras and motion sensing lights would also help to provide those walking a safer environment. By not worrying about someone hiding in the bushes, or in the shadows of the night, both homeowners and those using the streets would be safer. Other possible results of a safety audit program would be having residents Examples of home security upgrades change door or window types for greater security, which could result in new purchases and thus new improvements to a home, therefore improving the look and feel of a community. This also makes an area less of a target for crime, as criminals often look for the easiest target, and if an area becomes increasingly hard to commit crimes, they will look elsewhere or learn to quit trying. Personal safety workshops should also be offered to residents at a neighborhood level, in order to provide them with the necessary strategies and tools to stay safe, especially when walking. These could be led by Minneapolis Police Officers, and would also act as an opportunity to connect with the cops to begin to create a dialog with one another that would benefit both parties. Lastly, feedback from residents should be key to learning more about what they want from both a safety as well as walkability improvements in their neighborhood. Similar to the 511 phone reporting program, a similar hotline could be created or the hotline could be expanded to collect ideas specifically regarding walkability and or crime improvements in their area. The city of Portland, Oregon has also enacted a transportation survey that they send out to all the residents, to provide feedback meant to inform future decisions. A similar survey could be sent out to Minneapolis residents, or a website or hotline could be set up for residents to voice their concerns. In addition, residents should also be given the opportunity to comment on future plans for walkability improvements and should be involved throughout the entire process. This level of involvement leads to residents caring more about a project which means they will tend to take ownership and work to make a project successful.
National Neighborhood Watch Program
Proper Implementation In order to provide the greatest impact to reduce crime and improve safety a strategy needs to be developed about how to allocate funding for projects so that money is spent wisely and allows for the greatest impact. Funding could come from a variety of sources, both public and private, and determining strategies to secure these resources will be important, however this document is concerned with what should be done after securement of a steady stream of funding for improvements. First, in order to demonstrate the potential of success for a new investment program in walkability, demonstration projects could take place. Similar to the new artist popup movement, a temporary strategy to improving walkability should be conducted and results reported and publicized to the greater community on its effectiveness. Minneapolis has done a fantastic job with the expanding Open Streets program, and it is beginning to be used as a demonstration opportunity for things like the North Minneapolis Greenway. Targeting specific streets that may undergo future redevelopment would be a way to gauge potential success, and compare different streets using a similar metric.
Steps to implement plan - Demonstration program - Decide on implementation location - Create unique project - Fund safety inspections/improvements - Improve sidewalks city wide - Improve lighting city wide - Fund block parties - Train citizens in personal safety
Once an initial project has been decided upon, a great deal of care and effort should be placed on making the project unique, so that it gains media attention and creates positive public feedback that encourages more future projects. A strategy for this could be locating projects in a highly visible area, or something that is extremely unique, such as the â€œglow streetâ€? idea to again generate the type of feedback needed to spur continued investment for the program. As funding becomes available, projects should be prioritized based on the largest positive community walkability impact as possible that will also have the biggest effect on reducing crime. The state of Minnesota has a program set up to fund public art at new buildings receiving state funding as part of their 1% for art program.6 A similar strategy should be used once the funding has been secured for a pedestrian improvement project. At least 1% of the project should be allocated to public art, in order to help give each new area a sense of place and uniqueness. The art should reflect the community and act in such a way as to inspire the community and be seen as socially acceptable to the neighborhood. Funding will also be needed to help pay for new safety inspectors, or to allocate resources from police or building inspectors to assist residents. Another option would be to simply make checklists available to residents for their own self-assessment. Either way, funds should be set aside to assist residents who want
Minnesota State Arts Board
MINNEAPOLIS SAFE & WALKABLE COMMUNITIES ACTION PLAN
Sidewalk in need of repair
to make the necessary improvements but may not be able to fund them completely on their own. This is especially important, as was seen with the crime maps, that areas of poverty or low income tend to have the highest crime rates, so assisting them in making improvements will be important for success. The next priority, should then be working to improve other areas of the cityâ€™s infrastructure such as sidewalk replacement and better lighting on more streets across the city. Since this will involve a wider area, it may not have as large of an impact as the targeted pedestrian mall creations, but it is still important because residents needs a safe way to get to the improved amenity zones. Finally, allocating money towards neighborhood watch organizations and supporting block party events and training citizens in personal safety should round out the list of funding priorities so that this plan can have full effect, and make the appropriate impact it tries to create. Since these programs have a less visible effect then does new infrastructure, starting out with putting funding towards these causes may not provide the necessary support for future projects. Having a new pedestrian mall, is physical and the impact can be seen, whereas personal safety training is harder for the general public to see and may create less of an impact on both crime and walkability. That being said, it is still a very important part of the plans comprehensive strategies and should be implemented when the time comes.
Denverâ€™s LoDo District, an example of a completed pedesrian improvement project featuring the necessary pieces of infrastructure
Community Stakeholders Collaborating with multiple entities across the city will allow for greater success. By having multiple organizations and people invested in the program for safe walkable streets, it will have more support. Having a variety of people at the table fosters creativity for projects resulting in innovative solutions. There are different partnership areas that need to be established to attract a variety of organizations, city partners, health partners, community partners, and business partners.
City Partnerships City partners should be comprised of the following organizations that could potentially have the greatest impact on both safety and walkability improvements across the city.
The city has established a Pedestrian Advisory Committee to address issues regarding walkability within the city. All plans for new improvements should be brought to the committee, to allow them to review and make changes and recommendations. After approval, plans should then be given to city council for final approval. A sub-committee should also be established within the committee that looks specifically at nighttime walkability improvements. Having dedicated members assigned to creating solutions and addressing concerns about nighttime walkability to increase safety for walkers. The Minneapolis Police and city inspections unit should also be brought on board as both advisors to improve safety, as well as help with the implementation of home security audits and personal safety workshops. The Minneapolis Public Works department should also be brought into the conversation to advise about maintenance feasibility of projects. Finally, the Minneapolis Arts Commission should also be included, so any potential public art intended to improve both safety and walkability will be a part of the discussion from the beginning. Metro Transit and the Metropolitan Council could also be beneficial to help determine if any projects would align with their goals of improved transit access and routes. If construction does occur, bus routes have the potential to be impacted, so making transit improvements at the same time allow for a consolidation of work schedules to avoid multiple construction events. Minneapolis Public Schools could also be an entity included in the discussion to learn more about dangerous areas that students use to get to school. This could help to identify areas that may not be included in pedestrian malls, but could benefit from improved walking conditions.
MINNEAPOLIS SAFE & WALKABLE COMMUNITIES ACTION PLAN
Health Partnerships Health partners should include organizations whose main goals include creating a healthier environment for citizens and advocate for increased health for the general public.
The Minnesota Department of Health and Hennepin County Health Services should be brought in for both advisory and participatory roles. They are interest ed in improving the lives of citizens and combating diseases through walkability. It is beneficial to these organizations to decrease future costs associated with unhealthy citizens. Blue Cross, Blue Shield of Minnesota should also be considered as a participatory sponsor of pedestrian improvements since they have goals of improving health equity and social connectedness, and walking provides a solution to both aspects. Currently they help fund initiatives such as Nice Ride, Minneapolis Open Streets, and Bike, Walk Week.
Community Partnerships Community involvement should come from individuals as well as organizations at a neighborhood and city scale depending on the location of a project and its scope.
Meet Minneapolis, the cityâ€™s tourism organization and Explore Minnesota could be brought in to help market successful projects or provide funding to them. Since improvements are intended to attract tourists and benefit businesses these organizations would help promote and raise awareness of successful projects. Local organizations and coalitions should also be a part of the total solution. Organizations such as the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition and Walkability Alliances amongst other interest groups should be included. Both neighborhood and local business organizations should be included as changes to walkability and the streetscape have the power to affect them the most.
Private Partnerships The private sector could provide opportunity for funding in exchange for naming opportunities, or signs of support such as banners and themed colors throughout a corridor.
Care should be taken to strike a balance, so that streets still feel like public places that anyone can occupy, and donâ€™t give off the feeling of being owned by a business. Possible entities could be local Fortune 500 companies, or utilities that may want to test new lighting, or pedestrian elements and need a place to study for future expansion. Private partnerships should be formed solely with local businesses in the community so that they maintain a vested interest in the community with which they belong to.