Editorial: Better walking conditions benefit allLast week the Rosemount City Council announced plans to apply for a pair of grants that could help pay for some important improvements.
Last week the Rosemount City Council announced plans to apply for a pair of grants that could help pay for some important improvements.
Together, a Safe Routes to School grant and a Dakota County Community Development Agency grant could provide as much as $116,000 to make it safer to walk on sidewalks around the city.
The obvious benefit there is safety. The city has said it would use the money for projects ranging from fixing damaged sidewalks and filling in gaps in its trail system to adding signs to warn drivers of crosswalks and promoting a national Walk to School Day. Anything the city can do to keep pedestrians safer is a good thing.
There is another benefit, though, that is perhaps a bit less obvious: The safer people feel when they’re walking, the more likely they’ll be to take to the trails. More students walking to school means more students getting exercise each day. That’s important at a time when many worry about childhood obesity.
The Safe Routes to School grant is not new. It’s not even new to the area. Red Pine Elementary School, located just north of Rosemount in Eagan, received one last year and has gotten admirable results. While the school has one of the farthest-reaching attendance areas in District 196, programs such as walking school buses and tools such as an online maps showing the best routes to follow on foot have helped get students excited about walking to school. On Oct. 8 the school celebrated a very succesesful Walk to School Day.
Red Pine principal Gary Anger has heard from many people — including Rosemount officials — interested in duplicating his results.
Grant or no grant, we look forward to finding out what kind of success Rosemount can have.