ITD awards 2008 Safe Routes to School grants
The Idaho Transportation Board Wednesday approved grants of $890,000 to 19 Idaho communities for projects designed to encourage students to walk and bicycle safely to school.
The funds are part of the Safe Routes to School program, a federal initiative to encourage and enable children to safely walk and bicycle to school. The Idaho Transportation Department receives federal funds each year to distribute on a reimbursement basis for projects selected by the Safe Routes to School Advisory Committee.
Awards approved this week went to the cities of St. Anthony, Moscow, Priest River, Lewiston, Idaho Falls, Nampa, American Falls, McCall, Pocatello, Payette, Rexburg, Idaho Falls, Bellevue, Sandpoint, New Plymouth and Hailey. The Idaho City School District, Mountain Rides Transportation Authority and the Treasure Valley YMCA also received funding.
Applicants were asked to identify barriers that prevent children from walking or bicycling to school in their communities and to propose a project to address those barriers.
All projects were required to include a non-infrastructure component, such as education and encouragement activities, and to provide evidence of good community partnerships to help build sustainable programs.
Projects ranged in scope from constructing 3,360 feet of sidewalks in St. Anthony to creating a series of safer walking and bicycling route maps to 23 schools in the Treasure Valley.
“The awards committee was looking for projects that emphasized the non-infrastructure components that are so important to the Safe Routes to School program. Without strategies to educate and encourage students to walk or bicycle, our infrastructure dollars will not be as effective,” said Elaine Clegg, the Idaho Smart Growth representative on the Safe Routes to School Advisory Committee.
“Fewer children are walking to school now than ever before,” Clegg said. “One of the goals of the Safe Routes to School program is to raise awareness among communities about the need to provide good connectivity between neighborhoods and schools when planning development and future land use, to enable children who could be walking and biking to do so.”
Award recipients include: