Active Living: Moving Forward on the Path to Better Health

In North Country SHIP, bicycle paths have always been an important part of creating healthy environments. Safer roadways and bicycle paths encourage people to make biking and walking a part of their daily routines. In fall 2018, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) completed its Hwy. 92 project in Bagley. As part of this project, a paved bike trail now connects to the Bagley school and creates a safer path with cross walks for residents and students in the community. This has been a project that SHIP has been advocating for since 2011.

In addition to the Hwy. 92 project, North Country SHIP Coordinator Julie Flathers participated in the MnDOT District 2 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), focusing on creating a regional bicycle plan that would be connected to the Statewide Bicycle Plan Network. This TAC provided direction on county specific biking routes, looking for opportunities to connect and expand networks. 2 This work is setting additional groundwork to advance opportunities to make communities in the North Country more bikeable. MnDOT has set aside resources to develop one plan in the Headwaters Region this upcoming year (in 2019). Naomi Carlson, HRDC staff, has worked closely with MNDOT District 2 TAC on this project.

“Given work already done with a Recreational Plan in Hubbard County, and the ability to leverage the investment, it makes sense to complete the first piloted county-specific bike plan in Hubbard County.” This bike plan will help identify and prioritize biking needs in the county regardless of jurisdiction. SHIP is looking forward to staying involved in these planning efforts throughout the region. For more information on MNDOT TAC, go to http://www.dot.state.mn.us /bike/system-plan/districtbicycle-plans.html.