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Have 15 minutes? Help improve walk/bike infrastructure around your Northern Michigan school

Norte administers the Safe Routes To School initiative across the Traverse City-area as well as in Elk Rapids and Northport and we’re aiming to improve our data collection in support of more – lots more! – happy, healthy, ready to learn kids in Northern Michigan.

Sometime in the next 2 weeks – before winter comes!, we need your help counting how kids get to your school.

Why?

1. Because young people count

  • Counting traffic is a normal part of planning transportation, but right now, not everyone gets counted. We are changing that. If you want sidewalks, safer intersections or protected bike lanes on your street, for example, counting traffic is one of the best ways to get started.

2. Better Data = Better Solutions

  • Who is using our roads and how? We need to understand the problem to create solutions. Counting traffic – even once – sets a baseline. That baseline can be analyzed, tested and compared. Counting again later lets us test traffic solutions and prove whether they are working.

3. Because we can all help

  • Planners, road engineers, doctors, and politicians – we all need information to make good decisions. So do you. Counterpoint for everyone. Whether you’re a mom, grandpa, teacher, neighbor or anything in between, counting traffic helps and it will only make things better.

We’re going to use an app called CounterPoint to do our counts. It’s a transportation planning and measurement tool designed in 2013, to make traffic counting global, fun, easy and inclusive for all ages and disciplines.

CounterPoint runs on crowdsourcing and citizen science. Data validity is transparent, simple and comparable with automatic counters that starts (and often ends) conversations about how our transportation systems are (and should be) working.

Importantly, CounterPoint’s definition of “traffic” includes everyone. The app’s simple User Interface comes with intuitive buttons for strollers, children’s bikes, cargo bikes, wheelchairs, cars, and transit.

How it works at Northern Michigan schools:

1. Download the Counterpoint app
2. Create an account
3. Search for nearby count locations already created. If your school doesn’t exist, create a “counterpoint” at the location. It’s easy: go to the location you think would be best to count, click the “+” sign in the app, name the counterpoint (add the intersection or description to the title as schools can have multiple points), take a photo and save.
4. Arrive at your location at least 20 minutes before the bell rings in the morning or when the bell rings in the afternoon to do your count.
5. Start a 15 minute “regular” count.
6. Please make sure to count all adults and children walking, biking and rolling. Counting cars/trucks/buses etc. isn’t required but you’re welcome to if you want.
7. Submit your count.

Norte will download these counts on a monthly basis. Again, this is important data that will be used to improve walk/bike infrastructure, design, and policies around schools in Northern Michigan.

Want to stay up to up to date on walk/bike efforts at your school. Sign up here.

Thank you!

Questions? Get at us at hello@elgruponorte.org