Walking and Biking Coming to Brooklyn Center

May 15, 2013 at 10:41 am 2 comments

By Andrew Richter

Well the rush to force us out of our cars and take us back to the 19th Century is now hitting Brooklyn Center;

Multiple partners in Brooklyn Center are working together to provide safe routes for students to walk or bike to school, and seek to encourage all residents to use sidewalks and trails.


The efforts are supported by grants issued by the Minnesota Department of Transportation and Hennepin County.

Oh yeah, it’s the “free money.”

In 2012, Brooklyn Center received a grant from MnDOT to assist in completing a Safe Routes to School plan. The funds were used to hire a consultant to help the city and school district evaluate school safety zones, signs, crosswalks and sidewalks, public input and options for improvements.

Why, was there a problem? Were kids getting run over on the way to school? Or is this like most of these projects; a solution in search of a problem.

Lisa Austin, the interim Safe Routes to School coordinator for MnDOT, said Brooklyn Center has been a great partner in the program because of involvement from schools, city staff and community residents. “Safe Routes to School really takes a team,” Austin said. The planning funded by the grant should be complete by the end of the school year, said Brooklyn Center Public Works Director and City Engineer Steve Lillehaug. It has focused on schools in the city that serve students in kindergarten through sixth grade, he said. The improvements range from adding or improving sidewalks and crosswalks near schools in addition to signage, according to Lillehaug.

Doesn’t that make us all feel good?

The city’s regular street reconstruction projects could include some of the improvements. MnDOT also offers grants for implementing projects identified during the planning stage, Lillehaug said. “We have a pretty good system but there are some missing elements that we’ve identified and we’ll be addressing,” he said. Students at area schools, including those focused on in the study, learned more about Safe Routes to School last week during National Walk and Bike to School Day May 8.

Yippy! How about we learn math, science, English, and history!

Students typically walk or bike home at the end of the school day with their families during the national event. The rain last Wednesday put a damper on that opportunity, but the students at Earle Brown Elementary walked a lap around the school’s track before gathering in the cafeteria for a snack and opportunity to learn more about Safe Routes to School. “It’s about increasing kids physical activity,” Hennepin County Safe Routes to School Coordinator Cathy Rude said at the event.
It is also about connecting families and reducing vehicle traffic near schools, she said.

I though this was all about safety?? Like I said, where is the evidence there is a problem?

This month, Earle Brown Elementary students and their families have been given the challenge to create “walking school buses.” Groups of students, with at least one adult, are encouraged to walk to school and join their classmates along the route, Rude said.

Boy is our school system in trouble…..walking school buses????

Participating groups may submit a photo of their walking school bus to Michelle Auld, Brooklyn Center’s Safe Routes to School program coordinator, at mauld@brookcntr.k12.mn.us for the opportunity to win a gift card and end of the year celebration. The deadline is Friday, May 31. In the long term, Brooklyn Center has two programs underway to improve pedestrian routes in the city. A grant from Active Living Hennepin County is funding the development of school route maps in Brooklyn Center, Lillehaug said.

Active living; yet another pressure group promoting complete streets!

Additionally, the city and county are partners in a study of methods to increase walking and biking in Brooklyn Center. The study, which includes a survey of residents, is expected to be complete by the end of the year, Lillehaug said. “The goal of all of this is to encourage students and the community to lead healthier lifestyles,” he said. Overall, the grants have provided the city an opportunity to evaluate all of its systems for pedestrians, Lillehaug said. Residents may complete the biking and walking survey online through Monday, July 1, at surveymonkey.com/s/BCPedBikeStudy.
Info: 763-569-3340 (Steve Lillehaug) or publicworks@ci.brooklyncenter.mn.us

Again where is the problem? Where is the information about how many kids walk or bike? How many kids will walk and bike to school in January if we “build another path?” It’s just the same stupid “feel good stuff” everywhere!


Entry filed under: Agenda 21, Brooklyn Center, City Government, Environment, Hennepin, Safety, Transportation.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sarah Gulczinski  |  May 15, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    Just have to say that when I think of walking or biking… Brooklyn Center is not what comes to my mind… I am uncomfortable driving through there sometimes.. I’m just saying

  • 2. Cheryl  |  May 15, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    I would think “Walking School Buses” aren’t very safe in 40 below zero January weather of Minnesota. Just Sayin.


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