Minneapolis will use $20 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to improve safety along some of the city’s most dangerous roads.
The city will direct the funds toward high-priority safety projects in the city’s Vision Zero Action Plan 2023-2025, which seeks to end traffic deaths and severe injuries by 2027. Other cities such as Nashville and San José have also committed to Vision Zero plans and received SS4A grants.
The Minneapolis safety improvements will address speeding, left-turn conflicts and red-light running. USDOT has identified these areas as the city’s leading severe and fatal crash factors. The city will improve traffic signals at 526 intersections to increase roadway safety.
The city will build pedestrian refuge islands, intersection medians and protected bicycle lanes along 25 of the 112 miles identified as high-injury streets. Other project components include implementing high-visibility crosswalks, rectangular rapid-flashing beacons (RRFB), intersection lighting upgrades, pedestrian crosswalk signs and roadway lane-reductions.
The project also calls for supplemental planning and demonstration activities, including speed data collection, reduced speed limit and roundabout evaluation, and quick-build pilot projects and analysis.
Other key components of the Minneapolis plan include designing streets to lower traffic speeds and implementing automated traffic enforcement to monitor speeding and red-light running. The latter approach requires legislative signoff and has proven effective in eliminating officer interaction, an executive summary of the plan said.
An estimated 150 people died or were severely injured by traffic crashes in Minneapolis each year between 2017 and 2021, according to a city release. Reports show that 9% of streets account for 66% of the city’s fatal and severe-injury crashes.
“We know that Native [American] and Black residents are disproportionately impacted by traffic crashes,” Minneapolis City Council President Andrea Jenkins said in a release. “This grant will help us pay for important safety improvements on our streets that see the highest number of crashes.”
Minneapolis is one of 385 communities receiving grants from USDOT’s five-year, $5 billion Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) program. The federal agency announced SS4A grants worth a combined $817 million in December.
The federal agency has already allocated $1.7 billion from the planned $5 billion allocated for the program from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) in 2023. The application window for the next round of SS4A grants will open in February.
Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Transportation