Staff Responsibility: David Plazak
The City of Grand Rapids, Minnesota, is a town in north central Minnesota of about 10,000 people. The City is served by a network of major state highways. The regional economy is heavy on tourism and forestry and their related products and activities, which are reliant on an efficient road transportation network. Freight mobility is crucial to the local and regional economy since the city is home to UPM Blandin Paper Company. Other local industries include mineral processing and agriculture. In town, a vast network of trails and sidewalks provide access for pedestrians and bicyclists to the city’s most popular destinations, including access to the area’s abundant natural amenities.
The objective of this project was to pilot test Transportation for Communities—Advancing Projects through Partnerships (TCAPP) by using it to guide planning activities that would result in a collaboratively developed Complete Streets plan in Grand Rapids. The goal of the Complete Streets plan was to create a balanced transportation system that integrates all modes (that is, transit, freight, automobile, bicycle, and pedestrian); to address the specific needs of system users of all types, ages, and abilities; and to promote broad public benefits including physical activity, environmental quality, and quality of life for citizens and visitors.
TCAPP was used to bring the stakeholders and partners together in a long-term, iterative process and to create a venue for continued dialogue and collaboration out of which new and creative solutions were found. Partners for the Complete Streets planning process (parties with a decision-making role at one or more points in the transportation planning process) were the City of Grand Rapids, Itasca County, and Minnesota Department of Transportation, and the Federal Highway Administration. The most active stakeholders (parties who may be affected by a transportation plan, program, or project) were Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, Get Fit Itasca, Independent School District 318, Elder Circle, Minnesota Department of Health, Northern Lights Nordic Ski Club, Meds 1 Emergency Medical Services, Itasca Community College, and Blandin Foundation.
TCAPP provided guidance on effective collaboration techniques with the community that was instrumental in developing alternatives beyond “traditional” highway improvements. Applying TCAPP helped to identify multimodal options, additional enhancement features, and innovative solutions that were critical to developing a successful Complete Streets plan for the City of Grand Rapids.
Status: This project is complete.