Residents of Northfield and Dundas now have a centralized location on the internet to find transportation options locally and to connect to the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area, thanks in large part to the efforts of numerous Carleton College students and staff members.
Logan Nash ’11 (Knoxville, Tenn.) built the site, while Galen Kast ’11 (Wausau, Wis.) and Elizabeth Low ’11 (Excelsior, Minn.) designed the publicity campaign working under the wing of associate professor of psychology Mija M. Van Der Wege as part of a comps project on the marketing of environmental issues.
The website is a new resource for transit options in the Northfield-Dundas area. It is a go-to source for information on transit options, ride shares, bike routes, and trail connections that are available in the Northfield community and beyond.
The beginnings of this project came out of a 2008 research study in a class taught by Broom Professor of Social Demography Peter Brandon by three Carleton students, which focused on the role of mass transportation in a small city, with a special eye towards how poverty and health impact that access. The presentation piqued the interest of transit-interested leaders, leading to the formation of the Northfield Transit Initiative.
“Northfield's principal philanthropies––who realized that 30-40% of their annual budgets were going to support transportation needs of individuals––saw the need for an ongoing discussion about Transit options (or lack thereof) in Northfield” a facilitator of the Northfield Grass Roots Transit Initiative and current city council person Suzy Nakasian said.
Picking up on that idea, more Carleton students, along with faculty and staff, were deeply involved with community members and counterparts from St. Olaf in studying the transit issue, both with an eye inside Northfield city limits and connecting the area with the Minneapolis/Saint Paul metro area. That’s where students Charlotte Turovsky ’11 (Larchmont, N.Y.), Dan Levy ’11 (Oakland, Calif.) and Nash “were wildly involved in the organizing of a series of leadership meetings regarding the development of Northfield's Transit Corridor,” according to Nakasian.
Once the initiative’s work was completed, the group needed a way to communicate the options to community members in a clear, concise manner. In stepped Nash, who designed the site that launched in April 2011.
“Transit is so important to Northfield tourism, our campuses and to folks dependent on mass transit options,” Nakasian noted. “This site provides a one-stop site for all transit options in Northfield: bus, taxi, auto rental, bike rental and trail maps.” She also noted that the website includes a new community wide ride share data base, where users can enter where they want to go and then share a ride to get there, whether it’s to a soccer practice in Northfield, to the Twin Cities, or to the Big Apple.”
Nakasian also mentioned the support the entire transit project has received from Carleton administrators as well, most notable from director of campus services Julia Burmesch, vice president and treasurer Fred Rogers ’72, director of academic civic engagement Adrienne Falcon, and director of auxiliary services and special projects Dan Bergeson.
“It’s not just [the] students,” Nakasian said. “Administrators too have been instrumental in this initiative.”