Located along the Minnesota River in the southwestern metropolitan area, Bloomington has a population of approximately 86,000 residents and is home to some 100,000 jobs. More than 35 percent of the city’s 38.3 square miles is dedicated to parkland or open space. The city worked with Brauer & Associates to develop an Alternative Transportation Plan to improve the environment for walking and bicycling. Work from this project and plan is being incorporated into the City’s Comprehensive Plan, particularly in the areas of land-use, housing, and transportation.
In August 2007, Bloomington residents were invited to complete a survey on alternative transportation. The city council also convened a taskforce made up of city planners, parks and recreation staff, public-health experts, local-business owners, and elected officials. Led by the City’s public-health staff, in coordination with the planning and parks and recreation departments, the group also conducted a health impact assessment (HIA) to evaluate potential health impacts and the suitability of the Xcel power-line corridor for a walking and cycling trail. Input from the assessment was used to help determine support for including the corridor as part of the alternative-transportation system.
In addition, the Bloomington Advisory Board of Health reviewed the results of the HIA and added additional comments and thoughts about the project. A summary of the findings can be found within the Alternative Transportation Plan. Overall, City staff reported that the HIA process added depth to the discussion and provided another set of findings to support the Alternative Transportation Plan. In the future they plan to use the HIA tools in neighborhood meetings, and particularly around contentious planning and development projects, to add a health lens to the discussions.
Final Plan: Alternative Transportation Plan: A Vision for the Future
In addition to the Alternative Transportation Plan, Bloomington adopted a South Loop District Plan in 2012, which focuses on the mixed use and sustainability initiatives happening in this rapidly urbanizing area (expected to deliver two-thirds of Bloomington’s growth within the next four decades). See the Final South Loop District Plan here.