The city of Minneapolis will spend $2 million next summer to make walking in the downtown core easier and safer.

As part of the Downtown Pedestrian Improvement Project, crews will replace faded crosswalk marking with more durable lines and add countdown timers at 19 intersections that currently don't have them.

The project being coordinated with the Downtown Council also includes reconstructing pedestrian ramps to comply with the Americans With Disability Act, improving lighting and adding trees, said Jeff Handeland of the city's Public Works Department.

The upgrades will be concentrated in an area between 1st Avenue N. and Chicago Avenue S. and between 6th and 9th Streets. That area was chosen because of its high pedestrian volumes and because it serves a high number of transit riders and downtown workers, Handeland said.

"We are looking where we can make improvements and have a significant impact, to provide an improved walking experience in terms of safety and aesthetics," Handeland said.

The Downtown Pedestrian Improvement Project was already planned before recent accidents involving bicyclists and pedestrians.

About half of the cost will be covered by a federal grant. The other half will come from funds from the state gas tax.

Construction will begin in June.

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