Residents work to make walking in Red Wing more enjoyableRed Wing is working to make its roads safer and more pleasant for pedestrians, and area residents are encouraged to give their input.
By: Danielle Killey, The Republican Eagle
Red Wing is working to make its roads safer and more pleasant for pedestrians, and area residents are encouraged to give their input.
On Thursday, a cluster of Red Wing residents took part in Red Wing's first "walkabout," an event to help determine how safe and enjoyable it is to be a pedestrian in the city.
The group walked down Main Street on a hot Thursday afternoon, noting the noise and narrow sidewalks as they passed. As they turned into a residential area, they agreed the walk became more pleasant, but kept and eye out for spots where pedestrians might have trouble riding, walking or crossing.
Several bicycle and walking trips are slated for different neighborhoods throughout the summer to gather information for a city bicycle and pedestrian plan.
"We're trying to get some input from folks about their thoughts on how we can make Red Wing a more walkable place," Planning Director Brian Peterson said.
During and after the walks or bicycle trips, participants can fill out evaluations and talk with staff about issues they noticed, such as unsafe crossings and noise, as well as aspects they liked.
"We're interested in what would help to encourage people to walk more," Peterson said.
Information from the jaunts will be used to help create the plan, which is part of the city's Complete Streets policy adopted in January.
The city has formed an advisory committee to help with "the vision and goals of the plan," said Planning Intern Lindsey Knutson, who was hired with a grant from the State Health Improvement Program to work on the project.
The group hopes to have a plan completed by August, and will hold an open house for the public during the week of Aug. 22 to gather input.
When creating the plan, the advisory committee will help find solutions to issues raised during the walkabouts and through other methods, such as a community survey available online through July 29.
Improvements could include adding bicycle lanes, medians and bump outs and pedestrian crossing signals at certain intersections. They also could include equipment such as bicycle racks.
"We're trying to think of what pedestrians and bikers would use when they get to their destinations," Knutson said.
City staff said the goals of the "Complete Streets" policy are to promote health and to connect the riverfront, downtown and residential areas. For example, Highway 61 can be a barrier because some find it difficult to cross, and other roads offer challenges to pedestrians.
Among other issues, Knutson said driving behaviors - such as running red lights or honking or yelling at pedestrians - also can be a problem.
Pedestrians should remember basic rules on sharing the road: If there is no sidewalk, those on foot should walk against the flow of traffic, while bicyclists should move with traffic, she said.
On the Net:
Take the city's bicycle and pedestrian survey at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/RedWingBicycle-PedestrianSurvey