Pedestrian Friendly Improvements

Walk and Bike Albert Lea

We’re partnering with the Blue Zones Project to get more folks to walk or bike places they would normally drive. We’re doing this because:

  1. We’ve invested in the infrastructure. We should use it.
  2. We’ve got a lot of impervious surface area within our downtown. This creates a heat island effect.
  3. We want to think about how we use space in our downtown. An astounding amount is used for parking.
  4. We’ll be celebrating Parking Day!


Over the past nine years, Albert Lea has invested $1.26 million to make the city more bike and pedestrian friendly. The map below highlights the locations that those improvements were made.

Now that the city is more bikeable and walkable than ever before, the Blue Zones Project would like you to consider taking a pledge: will you bike or walk some place instead of driving?

To complement this website, we’ve installed signs at places in town to let people know how long it would take to bike or walk to other popular destinations in town. Check out that map and list your name on the page and be sure to scan the QR code if you walk or bike to the listed destination. The data that is created is helpful to the city when applying for grants!

Impervious Surfaces

The yellow areas in the photo below are public and private parking lots. There are over 30 (!) lots. The radiant heat trapped by impervious surfaces and buildings as well as heat generated by building mechanical systems, motorized equipment, and vehicles is known as the “Heat Island Effect” .  According to a study by a sustainability consultant, that means the temperature in Albert Lea can increases by at 1.3 degrees.

How Space is Used Downtown

If one is not using a car, one does not need to park.  How can we use space differently in our downtown? Could space be used for development? A new park? We want to generate some ideas by celebrating Parking Day! 

A lot of outdoor urban space is dedicated to the private vehicle, while only a fraction of that land is allocated to open space for people. With that in mind, we are going to convert the area beneath the water tower on the lake into a place for recreation for the day. Our recreation staff is going to repurpose the lot with a different use of that space in mind!