Safe Routes to School plans are a great way to start or grow a SRTS program. The following Minnesota stories highlight SRTS planning work and the outcomes of SRTS planning processes.
The Southwest Regional Development Commission worked with the City of Lakefield to develop a Safe Routes to School Plan (June 2013) and Land Use Plan (June 2013). Both of these plans outlined projects to enable Lakefield to become more pedestrian friendly. The process entailed outlining sidewalk and trail gaps.
A key connection was missing between Pleasantview Elementary and the southern neighborhoods in Lakefield. The need for the trail project was discussed during the planning process for the SRTS Plan and Land Use Plan. A trail connecting the south city park and Pleasantview Elementary was identified in both plans.
The SRDC worked with Lakefield, Pleasantview Elementary (Jackson County Public Schools), and Jackson County Public Works to submit a SRTS Infrastructure Grant. The South Lakefield SRTS Connection Trail was selected for funding through the Minnesota Department of Transportation 2015-2016 SRTS solicitation.
The success of this project was dependent on coordinated public planning processes that identified the gaps and potential solutions. This outlines how planning and plan development is a key component of outlining projects that will be successful in securing funding.
Minneapolis Public Schools and the City of Minneapolis have a comprehensive SRTS program that has included several types of SRTS planning. In 2007, a task force was created to develop the Minneapolis Safe Routes to School Strategic Plan.
Since that time both the city and the school district worked to implement SRTS programs and make infrastructure improvements using MnDOT grant funding, Statewide Health Improvement Program funding, and their own local funding sources.
Since the strategic plan was developed, schools and the city completed a variety of different planning activities. In 2012, the City developed a Walking Routes for Youth map that analyzed and developed a map with walking routes to all the schools in Minneapolis. The walking map allows the City to prioritize where it will make improvements during other city road projects and which projects they submit for grant funding.