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Thursday, November 06, 2008
  Federal Safe Routes funding 80% distributed
By Yokota Fritz 
More than 4,000 programs across the U.S. have received Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Federal funds to improve sidewalks, crosswalks, signage and other infrastructure in the vicinity of schools, as well as provide education programs to teach children and motorists about safe walking and bicycling, and encouraging walking and bicycling to school once the environment is made safe. States' Departments of Transportation have awarded more than 80 percent of available Safe Routes to School Federal funds after only three years of the start of the Federal initiative.

"This is impressive progress for such a new program," said Lauren Marchetti, Director of the National Center for Safe Routes to School. "This reflects how the Safe Routes to School program touches so many of the things people care about these days — increasing physical activity among children, reducing congestion and improving air quality around schools, improving safety and creating a sense of community."

Safe Routes to School funding was made available through the transportation legislation (SAFETEA-LU), passed in 2005. Funding is distributed to individual states by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration. State DOTs then award the funds to local communities. Each state works within its own guidelines, and within Federal rules, to award funds in a competitive process — with some states receiving hundreds of applications for a limited amount of available funds.

The goals of the Safe Routes to School Federal program are to enable and encourage children, including those with disabilities, to walk and bicycle to school; to make the trip to school safer and more appealing; and to facilitate planning, development and implementation of projects that will improve safety, and reduce traffic, fuel consumption and air pollution in the vicinity of schools.

"The early success of Safe Routes to School clearly shows a demand for transportation choices that go beyond the automobile," said James L. Oberstar, Chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. "This program will shape the habits of an entire generation by providing transportation options that are safe, environmentally sound, and healthy."


Friday, April 25, 2008
  Bicycle education material in Spanish
By Yokota Fritz 
To better serve families and communities throughout the state, Bicycle Colorado's education team is translating key Safe Routes to School materials into Spanish. More than 70,000 school-age students speak primarily Spanish in Colorado, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

"Providing our handouts and education materials in both English and Spanish allows us to effectively reach out to more students and families within our communities with bicycle and pedestrian safety messages," said Maggie Thompson, Bicycle Colorado education director.

Bicycle Colorado wants all bicyclists in the state to have access to safety information and the rules of the road. After all, when more people ride bikes more often, everyone benefits.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007
  California Safe Routes becomes law
By Yokota Fritz 
Late last week Governor Schwarzenegger signed CA AB57 Safe Routes to School!

Thank you to those who spread the word for reaching out to the Governor in support of this bill, which provides a framework for future funding and protects existing California SR2S funds.

$52 million is currently available for California State Legislated Safe Routes to School (SR2S) Funds. Application Deadline is November 16, 2007

Please spread the word that funds are available for State Legislated Safe Routes to School (SR2S) projects. These funds are not to be confused with Federal Safe Routes to School (SRTS) funds associated with SAFETEA-LU. Applications must be for capital projects such as sidewalks, pathways, bike lanes, traffic calming, etc. (with up to
10% available for non-infrastructure activities such as education, encouragement and enforcement). Only cities and counties are eligible to compete for these funds; please spread the word to Public Works Officials.

Approximately $52 million is available for two fiscal years worth of projects (06-07 and 07-08). The deadline for applications is Friday, November 16, 2007. Start preparing your grant applications now!

To view the updated SR2S Guidelines and Application, please visit the CALTRANS Safe Routes page.

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Thursday, February 08, 2007
  Submit your Safe Routes grant proposals
By Yokota Fritz 
Thirteen states with active Safe Routes to School (SR2S) programs currently are accepting applications to fund local "Safe Routes" programs. If you're actively involved in bicycling advocacy in California, Utah, New Mexico, Nebraska, Missouri, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio, West Viriginia or Delaware, contact your state Safe Routes to School coordinator and find out how your local cycling advocacy efforts can receive federal funds.

The purpose of the federally funded Safe Routes to School program is to improve walking and bicycling access for children to schools. For those lobbying local governments for improved facilities only to be rebuffed by claims that funding is not available, SR2S may be a source of funding.

Federal law mandates that between 10% and 30% of Safe Routes spending must be for 'non-infrastructure' projects. Possible uses for this funding includes cycling safety education for students and teachers, and "Bike To School" type promotion efforts. I've seen SR2S funds used to pay for teacher in-service training, to purchase incentives for children to ride their bikes to school, and to pay LCIs for their time in teaching school staff and children.

In some states, cycling advocacy groups and private organizations can apply and have received funding. If you have a relationship with a local government, it can be helpful to have them submit your proposal on your behalf.

Even if your state is not actively accepting grant applications, get your thinking caps on to think of innovative and effective programs to get children to walk and bike to school. Let me know if you've been involved in the Safe Routes grant process; I may want to highlight what you've done.

Safe Routes application status

More Safe Routes information:

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