Making it Easier and Safer for Everyone to Bicycle or Walk
Throughout New Ulm, many people have been diligently and enthusiastically working to help make it easier and safer for everyone to bicycle or walk in our community and we’re proud to be a Bicycle Friendly Community.
We encourage you to get out and get active! Join us in making use of the designated bicycle path, and all of the other wonderful bicycling opportunities available in New Ulm and surrounding areas.
November 2023 Update: New Ulm Active Transportation Action Plan — The City of New Ulm has adopted a citywide Active Transportation Action Plan. It'll help make the city better for people walking, bicycling, and using other human-powered ways of getting around as part of everyday life and for recreation. Read the plan here.
Check out the video from the SEE.SAFE.SMART. campaign to see how various new traffic calming measures in New Ulm help us all get around safely!
Coalition for Safe, Active and Healthy Streets
The Coalition for Safe, Active and Healthy Streets (CASHS) was formed in 2014 to study, adjust and move forward a series of recommendations contained in a report that The Heart of New Ulm commissioned from the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute (WALC) in Fall 2013.
The coalition helps increase awareness of problematic intersections and street crossings in New Ulm while providing evidence-based solutions. It works to improve the safety of New Ulm’s streets by incorporating traffic calming measures (slowing traffic) so that more people will feel safe using walking and bicycling as a form of transportation (because you don’t always necessarily feel safe when traffic is speeding by or there isn’t much of a buffer between the sidewalk and the street).
Solutions and traffic calming measures can include:
- Curb extensions at intersections that residents have identified as problematic to cross
- Narrowing lanes to the minimum allowed to help slow traffic
- Expanding the walking and bicycling networks throughout New Ulm
- Creating more public spaces for people to gather and connect
Research has shown that when community design puts a focus on people first, it creates a healthier, safer, more socially connected community.
Recent Safety Planning and Projects
Temporary Curb Extensions at 1st and Garden
In May 2023, in partnership with the City of New Ulm, a summer-long demonstration project began at the intersection of 1st North St. and Garden St., which will last thru mid-October. The project involves temporary curb extensions, or “bump-outs,” that have been set up at the intersection.
The goal of the demonstration project is to help residents in the neighborhood and throughout New Ulm experience how curb extensions help slow traffic and make it safer for all who use Harman Park and walk or bike in the area. Read more in The Journal.
Center Street and Garden Street Engineering Study
In February 2023, the New Ulm City Council authorized a request for proposals to conduct an engineering study and concept design for the Center Street and Garden Street intersection. The intersection has been long identified as a difficult crossing for vehicles and pedestrians during the morning and afternoon when school is in session. The complex intersection serves as a barrier to people accessing important amenities located within walking distance of each of its four corners, including the high school, baseball park, Brown County Community Services, the recreation center, residences, Martin Luther College and, up the hill, the iconic Hermann Heights Monument.
The Safe Routes to School Team, City of New Ulm Safety Commission and the Heart of New Ulm have all identified the intersection as a safety priority. Read more in The Journal.
Active Transportation Planning
In the fall of 2022, New Ulm received a planning assistance award from MnDOT’s Active Transportation Program and began reestablishing a long-term vision and plan for active transportation in New Ulm by finding new solutions, policies, and funding sources to address various barriers. An updated plan (for walking, bicycling and other types of human-powered or human-speed mobility) is needed as the last report and recommendations were completed by the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute back in 2013.
Safety Traffic Playground
In August 2022, a new Safety Traffic Playground was created outside New Ulm Middle School with the help of volunteers who spent more than 200 hours painting the pavement. The mini-street painted play space provides children and families a fun space to practice safe walking, bicycling and scooting skills away from traffic. No real cars are allowed. The playground was made possible by a grant from the MNDOT’s Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Boost funding initiative. Read more in The Journal.
Enhanced Crosswalk at 4th South and Broadway
In the summer of 2021, CASHS and the Safe Routes to School Action Team worked with SHIP, MnDOT and the City of New Ulm to install an enhanced crosswalk at 4th South and Broadway so children have a safer place to cross Broadway.
Curb Extension at 5th North and N. Washington
In August 2021, a new curb extension was installed at 5th North and N. Washington Street to make it safer for children who walk or bike to NUACS to cross 5th North street. A curb extension decreases the amount of time a person is in the lane of traffic and it also slows traffic, making it much safer.
Projects CASHS is Working to Address
CASHS has worked with New Ulm residents and the Safe Routes to School Program to identify streets or intersections that create barriers for people who walk or bicycle as a form of transportation and recreation. When the City of New Ulm is planning reconstruction of a street, CASHS works with the city to incorporate designs that have proven to be safer. By making safety improvements during reconstruction of a street, they can be made for less cost.
While this cost-effective approach saves money in the long run, it does take more time, as only a few streets are reconstructed each year. In addition, some locations can be rather costly to improve, and some locations are a combination of state, city and county-managed streets as well.
The areas that CASHS continues to watch and consider cost-effective solutions for are:
- Center and Garden Street intersection
- Center and N. Highland Ave.
- 10th South and Payne Street
- 10th South and Summit
- Highland Ave. and Hwy. 14
- 20th Street South and the Hy-Vee driveway onto 20th Street South
- Garden Street and Oak Street
- Corner of Boundary and 23rd N Street (along Circle Bike Route)
Bicycle Friendly Community (Bronze Level)
The League of American Bicyclists has designated New Ulm as a Bicycle Friendly Community at the Bronze level. New Ulm first received the designation in 2017 and it was awarded again in 2021, as communities must re-apply every four years. The Heart of New Ulm collaborated with The New Ulm Bicycle Group and the City of New Ulm to submit the application.
Since first receiving the Bronze level designation, New Ulm has added additional mileage added to the safe bicycling routes, three new bicycle repair stations, and a part-time Safe Routes to School coordinator to help with improving biking for school-age children.
A Bicycle Friendly Community welcomes bicyclists by providing safe accommodations for bicycling and encouraging people to bicycle for transportation and recreation. Making bicycling safe and convenient are keys to improving public health, reducing traffic congestion, improving air quality and improving quality of life. New Ulm joins 31 other communities in Minnesota that have achieved the Bicycle Friendly Community designation. More information on the Bicycle Friendly Community program is available on the League of American Bicyclists website.
Bicycle Fix-It Stations
There are three bike repair stations in New Ulm at the New Ulm BMX Park, the New Ulm Community Garden and Martin Luther College (MLC) campus next to the Bike Circle Route.
Safety for People Walking or Bicycling on New Ulm Roads: It Starts with YOU!
Additional Resources and Information
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