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).