Glenwood prepares for Complete Streets with downtown road reconstruction project
A planned road reconstruction project is giving the city of Glenwood an opportunity to make six blocks of its downtown more bicycle and pedestrian friendly while adding amenities such as trees, plants and benches.
The city is partnering with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) on a Complete Streets initiative. Horizon Public Health, the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) grantee for Pope, Douglas, Traverse, Grant and Stevens counties, is supporting that effort.
Glenwood becomes a summer hot spot thanks to its nearby lakes. The city’s population booms in warmer months and that brings more bicycling, walking and driving to area streets. That joint usage means more safety concerns too, especially in the city’s downtown commercial district, where several state highways intersect.
“We are aware of those issues,” said Glenwood Mayor Scott Formo, who is also Executive Director of Glenwood’s Chamber of Commerce. “We heard a lot from people who want healthier living initiatives in addition to safer roads and beautification efforts.”
As a solution, the city looked into Minnesota’s Complete Streets initiative as part of the planned MnDOT road work, he said. “It also gave us a way to beautify Glenwood’s downtown with streetscape amenities, decorative lighting and much needed utility upgrades.”
Project completion expected in 2018
Glenwood’s new downtown streets project, which will be completed in 2018, gives the city an opportunity to incorporate Complete Streets, which takes into account all users when designing a roadway, including people walking, biking and driving. It will help the city provide safer and more accessible streets along with those new amenities.
Horizon SHIP is teaming up with Glenwood on the effort. “We worked with city leaders to incorporate designs for their downtowns that make physical activities safer,” said Jessica Peterson, Horizon’s SHIP coordinator.
A consultant helped develop a roadway design that incorporates Complete Streets concepts, Peterson said. “Once that was in place, SHIP advocated for bicycle and pedestrian pieces as MnDOT and city leaders moved from the concept to the final design.”
That includes sidewalks, bike lanes and an amenity zone for trees, plants and benches. It’s a change that should make walking and biking in Glenwood safer while providing more accessibility and additional recreational opportunities.