Missing Link Pilot Project provides full-scale mockup to test street design

It’s always a good idea to test something before you buy it. Test driving a car is a no-brainer. Putting a few miles on a new pair of running shoes before race day is also a good idea. What if it were possible to test the design of an entire infrastructure project before it was constructed? That’s exactly what’s happening in Alexandria, MN, right now.

The Missing Link Pilot Project has been set up to test a complete street design and give users a chance to weigh-in on what they like or don’t like. The full-scale mockup is located on Broadway Street just north of downtown Alexandria, between Third Avenue and the Central Lakes Trail. The temporary construction is made up of white plastic bollards to mark curb edges; painted parking stalls, driving lanes, and bicycle lanes; drain tile to delineate street islands; and benches, trash cans, and more than 50 potted trees.

The project links the award-winning WSN-designed Broadway Reconstruction project with the Central Lakes Trail. The idea is to provide a safe way for trail users to access downtown Alexandria’s shops and restaurants, and to promote healthy, active lifestyles for local residents. The design elements of the Pilot Project are an extension of the framework already established by the Broadway Reconstruction project.

WSN, the City of Alexandria, and Horizon Public Health collaborated on the Broadway Reconstruction project a few years ago and are working together again on the Missing Link Pilot Project. Jessica Peterson, a health educator with Horizon Public Health, spearheaded this latest effort. Watch the video above to learn more as Jessica describes what the project is and the goals of the temporary installation. Or, even better, if you’ll be in Alexandria in the near future, give the project a test drive, walk, bike, or run and let us know what you think.

The Missing Link Pilot Project will be in place until August 17.