Our Opinion: Making downtown Brainerd more colorful

If colorful crosswalks help alleviate perceived parking issues and add a little splash of color in downtown Brainerd, we’re all for it.


For a few years now, downtown Brainerd has been reinvigorating itself in exciting ways — revitalized storefronts, new businesses, more investment and certainly more interest.

Now, it’s about to get a little bit more vibrant, too.

An initiative conceived by the city of Brainerd Parking Commission as a way to alleviate parking issues downtown would incorporate color into its crosswalks.

The initiative is not just for eye appeal, however, it also has a practical purpose — acting as a way finder to help people realize wherever they park they are within walking distance of their destination.

There’s long been a stigma surrounding downtown parking in which people feel they have to walk too far to get to where they want to go. However, people seem more willing to park farther away and walk more distance if they’re going to a big box store, probably because the store was in a direct line of sight.


As simple as the idea seems, we commend the city for pursuing it. For one, it’s an inexpensive way to make downtown Brainerd a little more unique, a little more colorful. Secondly, if it helps draw more people downtown by chipping away at the myth of lack of parking or having to walk too far, the initiative is more than worth it.

As Mayor Dave Badeaux told the city council at its March 1 meeting, people may be more inclined to park a little farther away from their destination and walk if they still feel like they’re in the general vicinity.

“And one of the ways we can do that is identify an area that makes people feel as though they’re within distance of where they’re going,” Badeaux said.

If colorful crosswalks help alleviate that issue, we’re all for it. While the colors for the crosswalks are not decided — city staff and council members said they liked the idea of incorporating blue and green to align with the city’s seal — we hope the city will look at a variety of not just colors but also design elements.

It’s kind of like naming snowplows. Let’s have some fun with it.

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