Category: safe routes

Federal Safe Routes funding 80% distributed

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.”

Bicycle education material in Spanish

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.

California Safe Routes becomes law

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.