OLYMPIA – Communities across the state have an opportunity to increase safety for students walking and biking to school through the Safe Routes to School grant program administered by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). WSDOT today issued a “call for projects” that support walking and biking to school safely.
The goals of the Safe Routes to School grants are to increase the number of children walking and biking to school where it is safe, and if it’s not safe, work to make it safer. The program supports pedestrian and bicycle safety projects such as walking school buses, sidewalks, bike lanes, pedestrian safety education, bicycle safety skills classes, crossing guards, speed feedback signs and traffic safety cameras. The program was created to provide children a safe, healthy alternative to riding the bus or being driven to school.
Eligible Safe Routes projects are those within two miles of primary and middle schools (grades K-8), and that address engineering solutions, educational and encouragement programs, and law enforcement efforts. Review criteria for the applications are also based on project readiness and need or potential impact.
Applications for Safe Routes to School project grants are due to WSDOT on May 3, 2010.
In addition to the Safe Routes to School funding program, WSDOT’s Highways and Local Programs is working to increase safety for pedestrians and bicyclists by:
· Working with schools to develop school walk route plans.
· Providing information about walking and biking to the public.
· Researching bicycle and pedestrian issues.
· Working with local communities to improve conditions for biking and walking through design assistance.
· Conducting bicycle and pedestrian related trainings and workshops.