Northfield Garners National Recognition for Policy to Create Streets that Work for Everyone

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By Barb Thoman, Executive Director, and Jennifer Harmening Thiede, Communications Associate

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Nearly 130 communities across the United States adopted Complete Streets policies in 2012, and Northfield, Minnesota, was one of the best.

That’s according to the National Complete Streets Coalition, a Washington-based organization dedicated to Complete Streets advocacy. On Monday the Coalition released its list of Top 10 policies of 2012, and number 5 on the list was Northfield Policy Resolution 2012-017.

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Northfield intends and expects to realize long-term cost savings in improved public health, better environmental stewardship, reduced fuel consumption, and reduced demand for motor vehicle infrastructure through the implementation of this Complete Streets policy. Complete Streets also contribute to walkable neighborhoods, which can foster interaction, create a sense of community pride, and improve quality of life.

Excerpt from Northfield Complete Streets Policy Resolution 2012-2017

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“Northfield’s policy should be a national standard,” said Stefanie Seskin, Deputy Director of the National Complete Streets Coalition. “It takes a strong stand for everyone who uses our streets, including people young and old, walking, driving, or bicycling, riding a bus or out shopping.”

“This award is partly about recognizing Northfield’s leadership on this issue. It’s also about showing other cities what a great Complete Streets policy looks like. Northfield has done that extremely well,” Seskin said.

“Transit for Livable Communities is a strong supporter of Complete Streets,” said Barb Thoman, executive director. TLC participated in the MnDOT study of complete streets in 2009 and was a member of the statewide Complete Streets Coalition that worked for passage of the state Complete Streets policy in 2010. TLC staff member Steve Clark currently serves on MnDOT’s Complete Streets Advisory Group. Many of the projects funded through the federal program Bike Walk Twin Cities that TLC administers are projects that work to make streets, segments of streets, or intersections “complete.”

Complete Streets policies help make sure everyone—regardless of age, ability, income, or ethnicity, and no matter how they travel—can get around safely and conveniently. In many cities that means changing how roads and sidewalks are designed and built, to be “complete” streets.

See the full list of this year’s Complete Streets policies and learn more about what makes a great Complete Streets policy at www.smartgrowthamerica.org/complete-streets-2012-analysis.

Also of local interest, Maplewood, Minnesota, a Twin Cities suburb with a population of 38,000, recently adopted a Living Streets policy, the culmination of an extensive stakeholder process to establish a common vision for the community’s future.

Learn more about recent steps toward statewide Complete Streets policy adoption in Minnesota at http://www.bikewalktwincities.org/news-events/news/mndot-leaders-consider-draft-complete-streets-policy.

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