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Imagine a Friendlier, Safer Stillwater

Imagine for a moment what it would be like to be living in a city where it’s just as safe and easy to get around by bike, bus, or on foot, as by car.

A place where streets are designed not just as a way to get as fast as possible from Point A to Point B, but as places to encourage physical activity, carbon-free transportation, and socializing with neighbors. A place with sidewalks, bicycle lanes, updated striping, paved shoulders, and pedestrian refuge medians; and where cars and trucks are limited to speeds of 20-25mph, not 30-40 mph. This scenario exists as a blueprint called “Complete Streets” that MNDOT actually uses to plan highway construction nowadays. Also, many of Minnesota’s cities have done this on their own. In fact, 20 states and 300 cities have adopted Complete Streets policies.

So where is Stillwater?

Alexandria, Battle Lake, Richfield, Bloomington, Rochester, St. Peter, St. Paul, Minneapolis, and lots of other cities have adopted Complete Streets policies. This results in safety for all travelers, accessibility for seniors, people with disabilities, and children. Of the many things we’ve learned during a difficult 2020 is that we value social connections during a time of physical distancing. Have you noticed how much more inviting downtown is with sidewalk dining and closed streets? Walking and biking safely through our Stillwater neighborhoods continues to connect us. And here’s a surprise! Livable, walkable, bikeable, safe neighborhoods increase property values!

Sustainable Stillwater MN has written a Complete Streets resolution for the city to adopt or modify that is now being circulated among city staff. It calls for Stillwater to use Complete Streets criteria on all new civil engineering, resurfacing, and road reconstruction projects. It also allows requests that the city commits to lowering speed limits in neighborhoods as much as possible.

Here is where you come in. Our city government depends on collaboration with the people in order to function effectively. It is very important that the people of Stillwater participate comfortably and interact with their elected representatives. The mayor and city council hear plenty from paid lobbyists, but it is more important that they hear directly from the people who need transportation options that are resilient and sustainable. We can’t meet today’s transportation needs with yesterday’s limited choices. It’s critically important that new transportation investments create resilient options that enhance freedom for all types of people to get around and allows them to take back their streets from the tyranny of motor vehicles.

As John Lennon said, “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” Your participation in this quest is very much welcome.


To become a part of our Transportation Team at Sustainable Stillwater, get in touch with us at To keep track of the city council and committee agendas on this subject, sign up to be notified by email.

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