Dakota County SHIP has had success in making it easier for residents to walk and bike to work, school or for fun. Studies have shown there is health, environmental and economic benefits to walking and biking. For example, one meta-analysis from 2008 found an 11 percent reduction in heart disease risk for residents who use active transportation (such as walking or biking) to get to work compared to those who didn’t. In addition, SHIP funds a grant writer who helps city and county staff create successful proposals for construction grants. Grant awards in Dakota County exceeded $3 million between November 2013 and October 2015 (the SHIP 3 funding cycle).
Bicycle/pedestrian plan supports active transportation in South St. Paul
Dakota County Public Health worked in partnership with the City of South St. Paul to create a Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan to guide the city in planning convenient and safe routes for walking and biking. The city conducted an extensive community engagement process and evaluated the current sidewalk and bikeway network. The plan identifies improvements to sidewalks and trails to enhance the network and recommends ways to encourage walking and bicycling in the community.
Grant projects support walking and biking across Dakota County
The City of Burnsville was awarded $1,598,000 in federal funding to construct a segment of the 17-mile Lake Marion Greenway in western Burnsville — part of the 200-mile County-wide Greenway Plan. The grant will fund three miles of off-road, multi-use paved trail. The trail provides an important connection between neighborhoods, jobs, shopping and parks. Dakota County provided grant writing for the project. When completed, the 17-mile Lake Marion Greenway will connect Burnsville, Savage, Credit River Township, Lakeville and Farmington.
Improving biking and pedestrian options in Rosemount
Dakota County has worked with the City of Rosemount since 2010 to improve pedestrian and biking trails by supporting feasibility studies, Safe Routes to School plans, a Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan, wayfinding signs and bike racks.
Since 2011, grants totaling $310,000 were secured to improve biking and pedestrian trails. The Shannon Parkway Bike Lane (pictured right) is one result of this long-standing partnership, increasing bike access to Shannon Park Elementary School.