Rochester selected for MnDOT school transportation project

(ABC 6 News) – Rochester Public Schools (RPS) and the City of Rochester have been selected for a Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) school transportation demonstration project.

The City says Rochester was one of just two Minnesota communities selected for the project. MnDOT consultants will work alongside City teammates, RPS, and the Lincoln K-8 District-Wide School to plan and implement a School Streets Demonstration Project.

The project will create temporary car-free zones adjacent to schools at the start and end of the school day to prioritize safe walking conditions for children, their caregivers, and teachers. It’ll help manage traffic and ensures safety during school arrival and dismissal by eliminating vehicle congestion and creating an environment where children can safely walk, bike, play and learn before, after, or during school.

This award does not include any direct funding, but provides technical assistance and materials valued at up to $25,000.

Josh Johnsen who serves as the City’s Strategic Initiatives Director highlights, “We are excited to have the opportunity to work with MnDOT, RPS and Lincoln School. This partnership represents a shared commitment to safety and finding creative solutions for, what can be complex problems.”

Demonstration projects, also known as “quick-build” projects, put pedestrian, bicyclist, and traffic safety improvements in place using low-cost materials that can be installed quickly. These projects are flexible and designed to be easily changed or removed if necessary. They allow the community to benefit immediately from walking and cycling improvements, with flexibility for public feedback to alter design, while building shared experiences that can be used to guide the installation of more permanent infrastructure.

“As a district, the safety of our students is a priority and we are focusing efforts on arrival and dismissal traffic safety,” said Dustin Morrow, Student Services program coordinator at Rochester Public Schools. “Our district-wide schools such as Lincoln Elementary have to take into consideration additional traffic since many of the students come from across the district area. This demonstration project grant will give us the opportunity to work with experts to provide the safest possible traffic flow for our students, staff, parents, and community members as a whole.”

Consultants from Minnesota DOT will begin working with the City and RPS in late-spring of 2023.