Bob & Susie Huff

When Bob Huff returned home to Edina after completing graduate school in New York, he assumed he'd be leaving traffic hazards and headaches behind in "The City That Never Sleeps." He has since come to appreciate that a prosperous and growing suburb inevitably faces its own fair share of transportation hassles, as well. These growing pains may be most noticeable in residential areas, and Huff's own experience offers an excellent case in point.

After welcoming their second child, Bob and wife, Susie, moved from the east side of town to a new home off McCauley Trail in Edina's Indian Hills Neighborhood. On paper, the site is perfectly situated for a young family - in easy walking distance to playgrounds at Creek Valley Elementary School and Countryside Park and close to expansive Bredesen Park and dog-friendly Van Valkenburg Park.
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In practice, getting their 5-year-old daughter, 3-year-old son and golden retriever to any of these amenities is anything but a walk in the park. "While we love to walk and run around Bredesen, we currently need to drive over there," Bob said. "That's a shame. We should be able to take a trail from our house to Bredesen without competing with cars zooming around the blind corners of McCauley Trail."

Similarly, "while Creek Valley is less than a mile away and has everything for the kids - from the playground, to an ice rink and sledding hill, to tennis courts and soccer fields - we can't get there on foot. There is no sidewalk or trail to help get there safely."

While such situations are frustrating, the Huffs are heartened to know that things are trending in the right direction. As the City continues to grow and invest in its infrastructure, Edina's ongoing living streets initiative aims to balance the needs of motorists and non-vehicular traffic in a way that is safe and convenient for everybody. Strategic expansion of the City's existing sidewalk network is an important part of Living Streets.

All this will take time, but the Huffs have no intention of moving again anytime soon. More to the point, the Huffs know that the process is not nearly as slow-moving or passive as it may look at first glance.

"The City of Edina makes it easy for the public to get info and give feedback on things like this, in real time," Bob said. Online with Speak Up! Edina, residents can help identify problem spots - like the tough corners on McCauley Trail - and discuss possible solutions. "I have posted comments, ideas and questions to ‘Speak Up! Edina,' and always recommend that neighbors do the same."

In the end, "if [we] keep with it, we'll ensure that all our neighborhoods and parks are accessible, at all times, to everyone."