Angie Stenson is the Senior Transportation Planner at the St. Cloud Area Planning Organization (APO). The APO is the Metropolitan Planning Organization for the St. Cloud area and conducts transportation planning activities for all modes including transit, bicycle, and pedestrian. Ms. Stenson graduated from the University of Illinois with a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning and is an alumna of North Dakota State University. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP).
On May 9, 2012 MnDOT announced Safe Routes to School (SRTS) grant recipients of federal funds totaling $768,000. The program will support 92 Minnesota schools, funding non-infrastructure and planning activities. Oak Hill Community School in St. Cloud is among the awardees. Oak Hill is one of 70 schools in 35 communities statewide to receive support for completion of a SRTS plan. The planning assistance grant will help the school gather information on existing conditions, gather public input, and identify potential infrastructure and non-infrastructure solutions to promote bicycling and walking to school.
Safe Routes to School is a program created through federal legislation in the 2005 federal transportation bill (SAFETEA-LU). The main purpose of the program is to increase opportunities for children to safely walk and bicycle to school. It also seeks to address the current social issue of childhood obesity and inactivity. In addition, SRTS can lead to community benefits such as decreases in traffic congestion issues and motor vehicle emissions.
At the core of SRTS are the 5 E’s: Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, and Evaluation. This promotes a balanced approach to the implementation of the program. This funding cycle included solicitation for non-infrastructure and planning funds only, meaning no infrastructure projects were awarded. Since 2005, however, the majority of funding, $9.9 million, has been awarded for infrastructure projects.
Non-infrastructure and planning activities are a vital part of the SRTS program as a whole. The importance of the new, concrete sidewalk or the smooth, asphalt multi-use path installation is visibly understood by most, but the underlying factors of education, encouragement, enforcement, and evaluation can be more difficult to validate. This funding cycle MnDOT allocated funding for planning assistance as well as non-infrastructure projects including walking and bicycling maps, support for crossing guard programs, bicycle safety programs (during and after school), and various encouragement activities such as a “Walking School Bus”. These programs are activity based and go hand-in-hand with the development of new infrastructure.
In the case of Oak Hill, the planning process is valuable because no clear, common-sense solution directly addresses the primary goal of increasing opportunities for children to safely walk and bicycle to the school. Existing conditions, opportunities, and scenarios will be explored through the combination of community input and technical expertise (SRTS grant). The objective of the process will be to provide a plan for pedestrian infrastructure improvements in and around the school, and it will stress ways to bolster bicycle and pedestrian safety education as well as encouragement programs. If you are a parent or staff member at Oak Hill, look for opportunities to get involved in the SRTS planning beginning this fall.
Do you have an interest in bicycle and pedestrian issues beyond the SRTS program? The St. Cloud Area Planning Organization (APO) has a venue for you to share your ideas or concerns. The APO Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee consists of community members and officials who meet to discuss relevant and ongoing bicycle and pedestrian topics in the metropolitan area. Please contact me if you would like more information.
What is the Walk About?
It is an Open Streets event where selected streets will be closed to motor vehicle traffic, making the streets available to all non-motorized transportation and people of all abilities. Open Streets or “ciclovias” events are exploding in popularity across the country!
The St. Cloud Downtown Alliance Foundation is hosting the Downtown Walk About, An Open Streets Festival on Wednesday, June 6, 2012, 6-9pm. The closed streets will be transformed into “urban playgrounds” for people of all ages, with music, bicycling, rollerblading, walking, Zumba, and other activities in the heart of our region.
What’s the difference, you might ask, between an event like this and any old 5K race?
Typically we see streets close so the super fit can race through them; everyone else cheers from the sidelines. These events require no registration. The entry point for those attending is easy — you can start, stop and change direction at any time along the route, as long as you’re moving on your own power. It’s about inviting folks who are not regularly active to experience their community in a new and refreshing way … on their feet and in the street.
Hello again loyal BLEND followers!
It’s Chad Johnson from the St. Cloud Area Family YMCA, and I hope you are enjoying this unique “winter” weather! I know all of you winter sports gurus are a little down this winter, but instead let’s enjoy the fact that we can spend more quality family time outside without having to put extra layers on.
I mean its February in Minnesota, and how often can you say “I just played disc golf and cross country skied in the same day?” Well if you come to the Plaza Park Bank Family Snow Games on February 11th, this can become a reality! This event will be centered on Cross Country Skiing and Frisbees!
The Plaza Park Bank Family Snow Games will take place on Saturday, February 11th, from 9:00am-1:00pm at Riverside Park in St Cloud, MN. We will have equipment for cross country skiing, disc golfing and other fun games and activities! Don’t worry about getting too cold because we will have warm beverages and oatmeal in the warming shelter. We will also be giving away awesome prizes including snow tubing passes to Powder Ridge, snow tubes, Skatin Place party passes, and much more! Register today, because the first 300 will receive a FREE LONG SLEEVE SHIRT!
The Plaza Park Bank Family Snow Games is a part of the Bernick’s Family Fitness Series which is sponsored by Bernick’s in conjunction with the St. Cloud Times and 104.7 KCLD. If you are unaware of the series, the Bernick’s Family Fitness Series goal is to continue improving the health and wellness of our community through a series of fun, educational and activity based seasonal family friendly events.
My goal for this whole series is to have fun activities that all ages and skill levels can enjoy! It is so important for our community to get out and be active all year long, and this series will hopefully assist. Keep an eye out for the other events of the series. The more events you participate in, the greater your chances are to win one of the GRAND prizes at the conclusion of the Health Partners Wishbone Walk/Run in 2012! Visit the YMCA website to see all prizes, to register and read more about the Bernick’s Family Fitness Series!
2012 Bernick’s Family Fitness Series:
River Ride Bike Event, May 19th 2012
Family Field Day, August 11th, 2012
Health Partners Wishbone Walk/Run, Thanksgiving Day, 2012
So if you have nothing going on February 11th, bring the whole family out to Riverside Park and have a little fun while it is still nice outside! Hope to see all of you out there supporting our community’s health!
Thank you and good luck!
Health and Wellness Director
St. Cloud Area Family YMCA
Greetings Loyal BLEND Followers!
My name is Chad Johnson, and I am the Health and Wellness Director at the St. Cloud Area Family YMCA! I am pleased to announce that I will be writing to you all every month - doing my best to help you improve your overall health and wellness. Before we get into any discussions, I thought I should let you know a little more about who I am and what I do for the Y! This hopefully will help you all understand why I have such a passion for helping this community.
I received my bachelor of arts degree in Exercise Science and Business at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN, and I am currently pursuing a Master of Science Degree in Exercise Science. Additionally, I hold a certification in personal training through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. All in all, I have been in the Health and Fitness industry for 5 years and I love every minute of it! The reason I have chosen to work for the Y is because it is where my heart is! I only grew up about 5 minutes away from the St. Cloud Area Family YMCA, and I am ecstatic about helping my hometown community improve their health!
Chad and the YMCA!
But enough about me, I want to talk to you all about the Y. Working for the Y is one of the most rewarding things I have ever been a part of. The Y provides programs for all ages, and it is growing to be a solid foundation of this community. Programs that I am directing are the Wellness Coaching Program, Youth Programs, Disease Prevention Programs (I CAN Prevent Diabetes), as well as the Bernick’s Family Fitness Series!
YMCA for Adults!
All of my programs are centered on a very simple vision; to improve as many people’s lives as I can. My goal is to create programs that all ages and skill levels can find useful. Wellness Coaching and leading the I CAN Prevent Diabetes program allows me to connect with adults of all shapes and sizes in an individual setting. In the I CAN Prevent Diabetes Program, the participants learn how to create a healthier lifestyle and prevent diabetes in this 16-week diabetes prevention program. This is not a weight loss program, but a program designed to improve lifestyle habits! I also get to touch the lives of many families together with the directing of the Bernick’s Family Fitness Series events. Our first event touched nearly 1000 people at the first annual Wishbone Walk/Run on Thanksgiving morning! Click here to see all 2011 Wishbone Walk/Run pictures and to LIKE the Bernick’s Family Fitness Series on Facebook!
YMCA and Kids!
Not only do I help adults, but I also direct kids programming the Y has to offer – such as Kids Fitness classes, Youth Sports and also Day Camps (Camp C.H.A.D.). This programming allows me to try and improve the lives of kids in our community. They learn how to be healthy and active in a fun, educational and relationship-based environment at the Y!
I hope it is clear from reading this there are many things the Y and I do for this community, and the exciting thing is that we have only begun! My goal with this series of blog posts is to help inform and guide you all on what is available to you in this community with a hope of helping you reach your own health and fitness goals. Please visit the YMCA website to learn more about these and the other fantastic programs the Y has to offer.
Thank you and good luck!
Health and Wellness Director
St. Cloud Area Family YMCA
If playing in the snow, getting out of the house, and enjoying some new family activities sound fun, then mark your calendar and plan to participate in The Plaza Park Bank Family Snow Games, on February 11, 2012. This event is part of the Bernick’s Family Fitness Series aimed at improving the health and wellness of our community. Sponsored by Bernick’s and other local organizations, the YMCA hosts all upcoming events that are part of the Bernick’s Family Fitness Series. Through a series of fun, educational, and activity-based seasonal events, the Bernick’s Family Fitness Series is family-friendly and following the YMCA’s mission of inclusiveness, every family will have equal opportunity to participate. Your kids will be excited to learn new skills and enjoy activities like snow shoeing, sledding, and cross-country skiing.
For more information on The Plaza Park Bank Family Snow Games and other events included in the Bernick’s Family Fitness Series, visit the official website and registration page.
The first 300 to register get a free, long-sleeve shirt, so register your family today!