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Lindgren Improves Road Safety

Posted by Jayce Koester ’16, Center for Small Towns on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014

Michael Lindgren ’14, Crystal, is working with the Highway 68 Corridor Coalition to assess safety and transportation issues along Highway 68 between Canby and Marshall. The Coalition and the University of Minnesota, Morris Center for Small Towns (CST) are working together with University of Minnesota Extension’s Neil Linscheid to gather travel information and data from individuals throughout the area.

The highway in southwestern Minnesota serves as a main artery for commuters. In the past concerns have been raised about its safety, so the Coalition is looking to citizens in the area for their opinions on the heavily used road.

Lindgren has been organizing focus groups in Marshall, Canby, and Minneota to gather information from individuals directly affected by Highway 68. The project is based on an earlier study conducted by the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs on Itasca County transit options. Lindgren’s research utilizes information from a variety of sources, including Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) data and public opinion as well as the knowledge and expertise of the Coalition, which is comprised largely of local government officials.

The project, which began in January and will likely wrap up at the end of the summer, provides crucial information about key transportation and safety issues along the highway, which will then be reported to MnDOT. Lindgren will synthesize the information in a report discussing the key issues surrounding the highway and possible improvements. He will then present his report to the Coalition, which will implement the suggestions and information provided.

“The project will do a lot of good to improve road conditions on the 68 and make it safer for everyone who uses it,” says Lindgren. “I learned a lot and was able to use a lot of the skills I’d been practicing and learning while at Morris.”

CST is a community outreach program that serves as a point-of-entry to the resources of the University of Minnesota. Small towns, local units of government, k-12 schools, nonprofit organizations, and other University units are able to utilize CST’s resources as they work on rural issues or make contributions to rural society. Its mission is to focus the University’s attention and marshal its resources toward assisting Minnesota’s small towns with locally identified issues by creating applied learning opportunities for faculty and students.