Map Monday: Hennepin County Sidewalks & ADA

I’ve been learning about what the Americans with Disabilities Act requires when it comes to our sidewalks. Here, I want to share my single favorite discovery.

Hennepin County has an interactive online map with photo images and descriptions of every intersection, curb cut, signal actuation/beg button, and sidewalk obstruction on county streets. That map is here.

This. Map. Is. Amazing.

Every non-ADA-compliant barrier in Hennepin County

Every non-ADA-compliant barrier in Hennepin County

It itemizes every non-ADA-compliant spot on Hennepin County Sidewalks. Every green dot is a spot that was an ADA barrier (curb ramps, spots lacking accessible pedestrian signals (APS), or other), and every grey dot is a barrier that needs to be addressed. The APS images are standard, but the sidewalk obstructions are of the spot on the map. If you click on the dot, you’ll see something like this:

Utility Pole in the Sidewalk on Franklin

Utility Pole in the Sidewalk on Franklin

Light pole barrier in the sidewalk

Light pole barrier in the sidewalk

Missing Accessible Pedestrian Signal

Missing Accessible Pedestrian Signal (the universal image)

These sorts of images are available for the entire County. 

I encourage you to click through and explore the sidewalks in your corner of the city. Seeing these images made me more aware of barriers that my able-bodied self hadn’t realized were barriers, and I hope I can now do my part to advocate for a city where older adults and people with mobility challenges are healthy, independent, and connected with their communities through streets and sidewalks designed for them.

This is cross-posted on the Our Streets Minneapolis blog.

About Janne Flisrand

Janne Flisrand spends her time thinking about how people interact with the space around them. Why do they (or don't they) walk or bike or shop somewhere? How do spaces feel? Why do people sit here and not there? Why bus instead of bike, bike instead of drive? What sorts of spaces build community, and what sorts kill it? Can spaces build civic trust and engagement?

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13 thoughts on “Map Monday: Hennepin County Sidewalks & ADA

    1. Jeremy HopJeremy Hop

      These are apparently limited to Hennepin County owned intersections. There has been a ton of intersections that received proper ADA accomodations over the past several years, as streets have been reconstructed.

      1. Janne

        Yep – this is just Hennepin County streets. In response to Jeremy’s comment, when intersections receive ADA accommodations, they’re not typically addressing the sidewalks between intersections along either City or County streets. Lots of work to do!

  1. Liz

    Is Bloomington Ave in south Minneapolis not on here because it’s not ‘county owned’?

    1. Aaron IsaacsAaron Isaacs

      I notice it doesn’t show if bus stops are ADA accessible. That seems to get overlooked.

    2. Janne

      Liz, I believe that is accurate, and that Bloomington is a City of Minneapolis local street.

  2. Adam MillerAdam Miller

    Interesting, but seems to have some errors. For example, I’m fairly certain that last image is not Portland Ave and Franklin (looks like it might be Washington Avenue by the Gateway Ramp).

    And I’m certain that it’s not Cedar Avenue at Nokomis Parkway, where it also shows up if you click the dot there. Of course, those ramps were just redone so hopefully are now compliant.

    Meanwhile the dots around Cedar and Minnehaha Parkway are green, despite the fact that no, they have not been fixed:

    Anyway, useful but maybe needs to be checked before relying on it.

    1. Adam MillerAdam Miller

      Or it seems that image is used as the generic image example and shows up everywhere unless you zoom in and click on the more specific dots for each intersection. My bad.

      1. Janne

        Adam, I noted that the APS and ramp images are standard images used throughout the county. It’s the images of sidewalk barriers that are site-specific. (If you zoom into the map, squares are site specific).

        Did you poke around at Cedar and Minnehaha Parkway quite a bit? I hypothesize that there might be improvements (or maybe not) on the County-controlled parts but not the Park Board controlled parts. Do you know?

        1. Adam MillerAdam Miller

          If anything has changed at Minnehaha and the Parkway, I haven’t noticed it and the photos included on the map don’t show any new stuff. Hopefully soon, though!

  3. Julieann Swanson

    I am very proud to have had the great opportunity to work on this map, thanks for sharing it and the accolades! The Public Works crew for Hennepin County did a great job putting this together. I was one of two street data gatherers that summer.

    It was a very thorough inventory that took the better part of an entire summer, walking all of the county streets within the city limits (our team), and another summer for the sidewalks outside of the city (a different team the year before). The data was gathered with a Trimble GPS unit, and populated into the ArcOnline map for easy public access. It was one of the best jobs I ever had, and a great way to get to know our fellow Minneapolis citizens, as a lot a people were really curious about what we were doing.

    That’s me in the traffic signal pole shot, my colleague must have angled the camera and got me. Miles and miles walked all summer, all in steel-toe boots.

    1. Janne

      Thank you for this work, Julieann! I’d been wondering who/how all those images were gathered.

      And the long-term best part of having an inventory (or “self-assessment” in ADA parlance) like this is now we can measure our progress on addressing the barriers.

      Do you know anything about Aaron’s comment above that bus stops weren’t included in this? What was the reason to not evaluate whether bus stops on county streets were or weren’t up to ADA standards?

      1. Julieann Swanson

        Thanks for posting the map, Janne! I wish I could comment specifically to the bus stops being ADA accessible. We were looking specifically for Hennepin County sidewalk and ramp accessibility. I suspect that bus stop specifics would be noted on the Metro Transit site.

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