For nine years, the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Committee in Grand Marais has been working to make it safer and easier for students to walk and bike to/from school. This spring, a variety of projects have been done towards this goal, from crosswalk enforcement events (educating about the crosswalks laws) to Walk/Bike to School Day and the Bike Safety Rodeo.
On May 30, the SRTS Committee, including Cook County Schools, the City of Grand Marais, Cook County Highway Department, and the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic, started the installation of a temporary demonstration project at the intersection of County Road 7 and 1st Avenue West in front of Cook County Schools. While full installation was planned for May 30, Mother Nature had other plans. Most of the project was completed on May 31. A few revisions were made on June 2nd, to better accommodate right hand turns.
The project is an opportunity to try out a few different techniques to increase safety of students on foot and bike. The Committee will be conducting a survey (available here) and other evaluation to learn what might be helpful in the long term or what else may be tried in the short term. The project is scheduled to be up until fall, but the vertical elements (the orange posts) will be removed before snow plowing season.
This is locally led project and the Minnesota Safe Routes to School Program at MnDOT has provided technical assistance on project planning. MnDOT is planning to offer support for communities across the state to try this type of demonstration project, which can include crosswalks, curb extensions, bicycle lanes, etc. For more information about the local project, please contact Safe Routes to School Coordinator, Maren Webb, firstname.lastname@example.org or 387-2330. The local Safe Routes to School work is supported in part by the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership/Minnesota Department of Health through Healthy Northland. Additional support for this project is provided by the Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, through the Moving Matters project at the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic.