Policy aims at developing roads for all motorists, pedestrians

Most roadways were initially designed for vehicles only. The Complete Streets policy guides future projects to consider a balance of options for all modes of transportation including pedestrians and bicyclists of all ages and abilities. Many local projects have incorporated such goals in recent projects. The formal adoption strengthens the commitment of County and local officials to enhancing transportation options in local communities.

“This is not a new philosophy but expands upon concepts that were first recognized by the County in 2011,” said Otter Tail County Engineer Charles Grotte. “Over the years the concepts have been considered in projects, and the policy formalizes the process.”

The Otter Tail County Complete Streets Policy planning process was guided by a Steering Committee, composed of state and local agency representatives and consultants, and the public was involved in the policy’s preparation. Several engagement opportunities were provided throughout the development of the policy. The public is encouraged to continue to engage in local projects as they develop. Many local communities have adopted Complete Street policies or resolutions along with Safe Routes to School plans.

The U.S. Department of Transportation reported that by promoting walking and biking in safer places people are more likely to participate in regular physical activity. In Otter Tail County, the expansion of the County’s trail system, connecting community trails to State Parks, widening sidewalks in downtowns, and providing bike lanes in cities exemplify Complete Street innovations in the area that promote physical activity.

Complete Street policies reinforce the goal of increasing safety and reducing accidents by providing safe places for all modes of transportation including pedestrians and bicyclists. Now, new roadway or transportation projects begin planning by considering which tools are best suited for the projects within the scope of the Complete Streets Policy. The policy can guide designers to use tools such as bike lanes, curb extensions, pavement markings, medians, street lighting, and many more. Annual reports related to Complete Street projects will be issued by the Otter Tail County Highway Department.

For more information and to read a copy of the policy, please visit www.ottertailcountymn.us/ordinance-policy/complete-streets-policy