School board approves Walk/Bike to School Day, funded through MnDOT grant

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The YME Safe Routes to School (SRTS) committee is moving out of the draft phase and into implentation, including designs for a safer parking lot around the school.
Partnered with the Upper Minnesota Valley Regional Development Commission (or RDC), the SRTS committee at YME has developed a plan to encourage exercise for students who are able to walk or bike to school as well as safety for those who choose to do so. This includes a redesign of the parking lots and drop off zones around Bert Raney Elementary.
“The parking lot redesign is a big solution to the problem, but we’ve been working with the SRTS committee with the drop off and safety concerns,” RDC Transportation and Community Development Planner Lindsey Knutson said.
Knutson and other members of the RDC have been working with YME since the fall of 2012 by writing grants and helping kick start an implementation process.
“The hope is that if we can kickstart implementation, [the school] can do it on their own,” Knutson said.
Consultants from the Community Design Group based out of Minneapolis came to Granite Falls to help with the conceptual design and brainstorming for the school parking lot, as well as rethinking the drop off area.
Three drafts have been presented, all of which include a student plaza and a dividing sidewalk to separate the drop off zones for cars and buses. The next step is approval by the school board and administration of which, if any, of the parking lot redesigns is the best solution to congestion and safety concerns.
Another part of the implementation is a Walk/Bike to School Day that the school board approved at the last board meeting. The Walk/Bike to School Day will be combined with the Fun Day on Friday, May 23.
Superintendent Al Stoeckman hopes that on that day the buses can stop a block or so away so even out of town students can have the opportunity to walk to school.
Through a grant from MnDot, YME was given $5000 to go toward school patrol and materials to be used for the Walk/Bike to School Day, like $1500 to be used exclusively for incentive prizes.