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Pictures from Alta Planning and Design taken in Glencoe and Bemidji Minnesota
Demonstration Project Scheduled for May of 2023
12/21/22 by Aitkin County SHIP Coordinator
Since the community walk audit held in July of 2022, a group of community members, stakeholders and officials have been meeting monthly. A location has also been identified by the group and the plan is to conduct a demonstration project with tentative installation in May, weather dependent.
Why demonstration projects instead of making a permanent infrastructure changes right away? Demonstration projects allow public agencies, community partners, and people walking, bicycling, taking transit, and driving to evaluate potential infrastructure improvements before potentially investing in permanent changes. The benefits of a using a demonstration project approach are the following: a.) Test aspects of safety improvements before making further investments; b.) Inspire action and build support for project implementation; c.) Develop further public awareness of potential issue and conceptual options; d.) Increase understanding of active transportation needs in the community; e.) Gather data from real-world use of streets and public spaces. Please see pictures above for examples of what a demonstration project looks like (examples are from Glencoe and Bemidji, Minnesota.
The location the task force has identified as barrier to walking and biking is the crosswalk at Hwy. 169 and 1st Street SE. The demonstration project comes at a good time as MnDOT is planning to reconstruct Trunk Hwy. 169 and Hwy. 210 in 2030. Their planning for road projects start years in advance and their team is currently in the planning phase of the the reconstruction project. Representatives from MnDOT have been at "the table" and meetings for planning the demonstration project and their team looks forward to see what the outcomes will be. Below is an image of the area in the City of Aitkin where the demonstration project will be located. The task force plans to release more information to come to inform the community of Aitkin what to expect.
The project is being funding by the following: Aitkin County CARE with MDH Grants ($7,000); Aitkin County SHIP ($2,500.00); Aitkin County Public Health ($1,126.838), Minnesota Department of Health ($5,000); and City of Aitkin ($2,000).
Aitkin Community Walk Audit was held in July of 2022
7/21/22 by Aitkin County SHIP Coordinator
Aitkin County CARE was awarded a Building Resilient Inclusive Communities (BRIC) grant by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), which included having a contract with Alta Planning and Design who specializes in active transportation work. A task force was identified (Lynne Jacobs- Aitkin County CARE, Lon Nicko- City of Aitkin, Chief Paul Ryan- City of Aitkin and Hannah Colby- Aitkin County Public Health) and held an audit for the community. Walk audits are a great tool to gather information about street conditions, engage community members, and inform planning and traffic safety projects. Through walk audits, you can help improve walking, health, and quality of life in the community! During the walk aduit, participants went for a walk together, noting what makes their streets feel comfortable for walking and what is missing.
With additional funding from MDH with the BRIC grant, cost of materials (up to $5,000) can be ordered to host a demonstration project based on what recommendations and improvements were given during the workshop. A work group was formed since the audit. Interested community members and key stakeholder, such as representatives from the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDot) and the Aitkin County Engineer, meet on a monthly basis to plan and prepare for an upcoming Demonstration Project in 2023.
The audit and workshop was funded by Aitkin County CARE with BRIC grant dollars and the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) program with Aitkin County Public Health.
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