Bike Route? originally uploaded by Michael Cornelius
According to an article which appeared last week in the Star Tribune, Dakota County is providing tens of thousands of dollars in grant monies, derived from the State Health Improvement Plan. Unfortunately the money is going to pay for recreational trails, used by few, instead of going to provide something which would actually be of benefit to the South Metro.
I’m all about outdoor recreation and funding it (if you remember, I voted in favor of the Apple Valley park bond referendum and suggested others do so as well) but I do not see a reason for spending a couple thousand dollars on signs to raise awareness or planning for future trail systems which may never be built. Signs do not work, making attractive alternative facilities for recreation/travel do.
What do I mean? Well, there are plenty of park signs and trail markers all around the South Metro but there are still very few people who take regular advantage of them. Why? Simple: because these trails do not go anywhere useful. So what is this grant going to pay for?
1. Rosemount and Apple Valley are each in line to receive $25,000 from Dakota County to develop citywide bicycle and pedestrian plans.
2. Lakeville will receive $11,400 for signs and an additional $4,000 to develop a trail around Lake Marion.
$54,000 to develop plans?! Now the article doesn’t exactly say what “development” means but if it is just to design it, I will throw my hands up in defeat as that’s nothing short of wasteful spending from companies taking advantage of cities because they simply don’t know any better.
What do I suggest? How about taking that money and working on a much larger master plan at the county level and forcing the cities to abide. They are all individually concerned with themselves and not the grand scheme of having a viable pedestrian/bike friendly route so people could get around–and you know, across the river. Thankfully I’m not the only one who thinks this way. Check out this Star Tribune commenter’s own thoughts on the issue:
In an effort…to be suburban and not urban the planners from the 60′s and 70′s decided sidewalks would not be necessary in new developments. Good foresight. How are these walking and biking trails going to get me to work? Do you plan to have employers move to Dakota County or are we still at the mercy of a couple of bridges?
posted by elmi0001 on Jan. 20, 10 at 1:21 PM
While Apple Valley Mayor Mary Hamann-Roland seriously believes that this type of nonsense will attract companies to the South Metro, everyone else–you know, people who are not delusional, know that will never be the case.
So what do you think? Do you believe that $60,000+ in grant monies aimed at signs and development of pedestrian planning will be sufficient to attract business and promote good health in the county? Perhaps you think that this money would be much better spent on other programs? If you think there are better alternatives what would you like to see them use this money for instead? Whatever you think about Dakota County handing over money like it was candy, go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.