News

New Round of Funding Approved for Safe Routes to School

April 29, 2015 - Traffic Safety - Denver - The Colorado Transportation Commission has awarded funding for 13 Safe Routes to School (SRTS) projects, a program which educates and encourages children to walk or bike to school by providing financial support to schools, communities and other entities.

“Interest in the SRTS program continues to increase every year,” said Safe Routes to School Program Manager Leslie Feuerborn.  “For the ninth straight year, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) received more requests for funding than it had available.  That’s very encouraging since it’s an excellent program that teaches children safety, encourages healthy living and helps the environment.”

The Colorado Legislature provided $700,000 of funding for projects across the state.  School districts and other entities that received funding are:

  • Adams 50 School District
  • Adams County School District 14
  • Aurora Public Schools
  • Boulder County School District
  • Boulder County Transportation working with St. Vrain Valley Schools
  • Buena Vista working with Buena Vista School District
  • Colorado Springs School District 11
  • Fort Collins working with Poudre School District
  • Idalia School District RJ-3
  • Jefferson County Public Schools
  • Steamboat Springs School District
  • Thompson School District
  • Weld County Department of Public Health & Environment working with Weld County School Districts 6, RE-8, and RE-1

Grantees design the education and/or encouragement programs that best meet the needs of their schools and community.

A typical learning program includes elementary and/or middle school students acquiring bicycle and pedestrian safety education and skills training.  In some projects, physical education teachers receive train-the-trainer training to aid them in sustaining the programs at their school. Purchasing bicycles for use in PE programs is a component in several grant projects.  One district is providing workshops for parents and students that teaches recognition and avoidance of potential safety problems, which is a common barrier for parents allowing their child to walk or bike to school. 

Encouragement programs are various, from hosting Walk and Bike to School Days, Hike and Bike Days, Tires-n-Tennies Tuesdays, or Walking Wednesdays. Organizing Walking School Buses and Bike Trains are another component for several projects. The ultimate goal is to increase the number of students walking and biking safely to and from school.

All of this year’s awarded projects can be viewed at: http://www.codot.gov/programs/bikeped/safe-routes

A committee representing bicyclists, pedestrians, educators, law enforcement, parents, metropolitan planning organizations and transportation planning regions reviewed and scored this year’s 18 applications.  Any political subdivision in the state (school district, city, county, state and tribal entity) was eligible to apply for a grant.  A number of non-profits are working with grantees to provide pedestrian and bicycle safety education and encouragement.

“We’re entering the tenth year of the program and are very pleased with the progress we’ve made,” added Feuerborn.  “Along with enhancing safety, SRTS is a good way to introduce alternative forms of transportation to children other than the family vehicle.”  Another part of the program is the annual Walk to School Day in October and Bike to School Day in May.  To date, 95 schools have registered their events for Bike to School Day which is recognized nationally on May 6th with events running throughout May.

          The Safe Routes to School program was established by Congress in August 2005, as part of the federal transportation re-authorization legislation, SAFETEA-LU. This year’s projects are state-funded and managed by CDOT.

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