Guest commentary: Help with biker/walker countIf you are a walker or ride your bicycle around Two Harbors, there is an interesting event coming up over September 11-13. The Statewide health Improvement Plan (SHIP) needs your help to make it successful.
By: Forrest Johnson, Lake County News Chronicle
If you are a walker or ride your bicycle around Two Harbors, there is an interesting event coming up over September 11-13. The Statewide health Improvement Plan (SHIP) needs your help to make it successful.
SHIP has been asked by the Minnesota Dept. of Transportation and the University of Minnesota to gather volunteers for the first-ever bicycle/pedestrian count in our area. The count is part of a larger pilot study to collect data on how many pedestrians and bicyclists are utilizing specific locations. The intent is for communities throughout the state to annually collect the data so it can be used to evaluate use and prioritize potential infrastructure investment. A long term goal is to also make non-motorized use in the community a safer proposition.
Volunteers will be asked to man (or woman) a counting post for two hours during the three day period between 4-6 pm. You can volunteer for a day or all three, it’s up to you. I appreciate any help you can offer. I’ll be hosting a simple training session on Wednesday, Sept. 5 at 6 pm, in the Split Rock Room at the Human Resources Building, across from the Court House. If you can’t attend the session we’ll make sure you get a quick bit of training at your site.
Two Harbors has been on an ambitious plan to create walking and biking trails within the city. The count can help the community understand patterns of use so we can continue making the city safer and easier for non-motorized transportation.
Folks can also come out and celebrate the latest section of trail. The ribbon cutting will take place at the portion of the trail near the Shopko parking lot, Tuesday, Sept. 4 at 10 am. Former Congressman Jim Oberstar was instrumental in getting funding for the trail system and he’ll be the keynote speaker at the celebration. State Aid Construction Funding and Minnesota DNR grants also contributed in funding the system.
As I’ve mentioned in previous columns, Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) efforts will focus on creating wellness policies and action plans for the City of Two Harbors, Two Harbors High School and Minnehaha Elementary. The strategy will target participation in three areas: Safe Routes to Schools, Healthy School Food and an Active Transportation effort within the larger community of Two Harbors.
The SHIP effort in Two Harbors has an overall goal of creating lasting and sustainable wellness plans created by local folks who care about providing healthier foods and active living choices for our kids and residents.
Simple lifestyle changes can lead to healthier lives. Our goal will be to increase the health of Two Harbors by developing sustainable community programs and policy changes that support active lifestyles and healthy nutrition. For that to take place community members, from kids to seniors, are invited to bring their ideas to the table.
Small changes can make a big difference in the overall health of a community.
Again, I hope to be able to bridge SHIP with the wellness and recreational plans already in place within the community and create a healthier place for all. There is huge potential to make Two Harbors the “City of Wellness…with Healthy Schools to Boot.”
I know there are a host of local folks out there walking our trails and practicing healthy food options. Bring your ideas to the wider community and be a part of these upcoming events. Please feel free to contact me at 834-8520 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org