Walking is part of nearly every trip that begins or ends in Saint Paul, and the city is committed to providing a safe and connected network of sidewalks for those trips.
While the tree-lined streets arranged in a grid pattern make walking attractive and convenient, there are neighborhoods in Saint Paul where sidewalk is missing or must be replaced. When there is no sidewalk, people walking do not feel safe or comfortable traveling streets to reach destinations. There are approximately 1,080 miles of sidewalk in Saint Paul and 327 miles of sidewalk gaps. Sixty-two miles of gaps (19 percent) are along arterials and collector streets, which carry the most traffic and serve more destinations than other streets.
In 2019, the city created the Saint Paul Pedestrian Plan, which identifies gaps in the sidewalk network and prioritizes construction to fill those gaps across Saint Paul. The Plan also highlights the need for crossing improvements - especially of busy arterial streets - plus replacement of deteriorating sidewalk, and upgrading of sidewalk ramps at corners to make them more accessible for everyone.
Participants in the planning process shared their top three priorities for walking investments:
- Equity: Make investments in neighborhoods where residents rely on walking the most
- Safety: Make investments along and across busy streets such as four-lane roads
- Connectivity: Make investments in areas of the city that lack sidewalks.
One hundred and twenty miles of sidewalk gaps (37%) are located in High Priority Areas for Walking Investments. The 2019 Saint Paul Climate Action and Resilience Plan set a goal of closing 150 miles of sidewalk gaps by 2030, and all gaps closed by 2050.
The Department of Public Works leads the sidewalk network build out and replacement, but partners with the City of Saint Paul Department of Parks & Recreation, as well as Ramsey County and the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT).
In 2022, the City of Saint Paul filled 1/4-miles of sidewalk gap, replaced 6 miles of deteriorating sidewalk, and upgraded 223 sidewalk ramps at corners. Incomplete data for 2020-2021 indicates 1/3-miles of gaps filled, 7.2 miles of replaced sidewalk, and 125 new sidewalk ramps. These numbers only reflect work from the City of Saint Paul and don't include construction by Ramsey County, MnDOT, or private development.