At 4pm on Thursday, November 13, the Minneapolis Bicycle Advisory Committee's Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, Equity, & Evaluation Subcommittee held its monthly meeting.
Safe Routes To School Program Update
Safe Routes is a national and international effort to combat obesity and increase safety for kids. In Minneapolis, Safe Routes is a joint effort between Minneapolis Public Schools and the City.
Biking Programs in Minneapolis Public Schools
Jennifer Bordon, Program Assistant with Safe Routes to School in Minneapolis Public Schools, presented an update on the bicycling activities included in their Program to date.
Some interesting facts included in her presentation:
To date, the program has recorded over 433 children biking to Minneapolis High Schools and Middle Schools on a regular basis. Ramsey Middle school had the highest percentage of bikers at 10%.
In May 2012 MnDOT awarded $60,000 to MPS to fund and establish bike fleets and bike maintenance shops at six Minneapolis schools. Since then, several other schools have started bike fleets independently.
STEM & Bicycles: MPS Science developed a sixth grade science and engineering unit centered on bicycles. The program is optional, but has already been adopted by several schools. In this initiative volunteers (from the program and local businesses) work with small groups of kids exploring the structure of bikes by reverse engineering them.
To learn about all the initiatives and information offered by the MPS’ Safe Routes to School Program visit their website at: sss.mpls.k12.mn.us/sr2s.
Safe Routes Infrastructure Improvements
Forrest Hardy, from the City of Minneapolis, discussed some of the physical infrastructure changes their program is responsible for implementing in order to create a safer environment for children traveling to and from school.
Focusing on areas with denser traffic or where speeding has been known to be a problem, the Safe Routes Program has used a combination of Federal and Capital funding to bump out curbs, provide or improve crosswalk markings, build speed bumps, create a traffic calming median, put up a pedestrian shelter median, and install overhead flashers and curb ramps near several schools throughout the city.
Forrest reported that curb bump outs in particular, have proven to be very effective in reducing the risks posed to children’s safety when crossing at corners. Not only do they slow motorists down, but once slowed down, motorists have demonstrated a tendency to be more likely to obey nearby stop signs.
You can learn more about the Safe Routes to School program’s infrastructure initiatives at: www.minneapolismn.gov/publicworks/saferoutes.
Visioning Exercise: 5E’s Priorities
In part 3 of its visioning exercise, the subcommittee discussed possible priorities that aligned with its mandate going forward. Suggestions included:
Looking into the possibility of applying for Platinum status with the League of American Bicyclists.
Possibilities for encouraging winter bicycling.
Learning more about how the Minneapolis Police Department handles accident reports.