Online Program

Complete Streets in Rural Communities

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 :

Patrick Hollister, MP, PartnerSHIP 4 Health, Clay County, Fergus Falls, MN
Complete Streets policies are a comprehensive approach to creating active transportation infrastructure. Instead of building walkable, bikeable, multi-modal communities one street at a time, Complete Streets policies ensure that agencies include the needs of all users in routine transportation decisions. Health departments are increasingly involved in developing Complete Streets policies because of the connection between active transportation and preventing chronic disease.

Some rural communities, however, feel left out of the conversation. Local leaders worry that bicycling, walking, and transit investments are too expensive and inapplicable to rural street networks. This presentation will share lessons from rural communities across the country in Complete Streets policy and implementation.

A case study from Battle Lake, Minnesota (population 875) will demonstrate the importance of leveraging partnerships and existing investments to develop a successful policy. Battle Lake passed a Complete Streets policy in 2011. The first project under the policy was completed in 2014. A community planner worked with city council, residents, and Minnesota’s transportation department on the project. The construction occurred on Highway 78, which bisected Battle Lake’s downtown and created a barrier between two residential areas and the community’s K-12 school. Four lanes were converted to three, and a widened sidewalk and bulb-outs shortened the crossing distance between curbs. The project not only improved safety along the corridor, but transformed the downtown, leading to an increase in local business and a community-led public art project. The community planner was involved in developing 10 Complete Streets policies in four rural Minnesotan counties.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Describe strategies to address common barriers to Complete Streets policies in rural communities. List potential partners in developing and implementing Complete Streets policies Identify key resources for developing and implementing Complete Streets policies

Keyword(s): Built Environment, Rural Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As the Active Living Planner for PartnerSHIP 4 Health, I have been working on Complete Streets projects within our four-county region (Becker, Clay, Otter Tail, and Wilkin Counties in Minnesota) for the past four years. The Battle Lake Complete Streets Project about which I will be presenting has become a showcase project in West Central Minnesota. I have a Master of Planning degree from the Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.