Applications solicited for Safe Routes to School proposals
ITD’s Safe Routes to School program is accepting grant applications for approximately $1 million in project funds that will be used to reimburse local organizations and jurisdictions that implement programs for improving travel to and from school.
Idaho schools, nonprofit organizations, local governments and other state agencies are encouraged to submit a Letter of Intent to Apply for 2009 funding to ITD by May 16. Safe Routes to School funds may be used for projects that lead to more children from kindergarten through eighth grade walking and bicycling to school.
"Successful Safe Routes to School programs involve parents, children, community members, school staff, traffic engineers, city planners, law enforcement, community leaders and many others," said Josephine O'Connor, program coordinator at ITD. "They also involve engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement and evaluation, or the 5Es of traffic safety."
Infrastructure improvements such as sidewalks or bicycle racks may receive funding up to $100,000. Non-infrastructure improvements like "walk to school" events and education activities can receive funding up to $25,000. A list of eligible projects and a sample Letter of Intent are available at itd.idaho.gov, click on Safe Routes to School and then How to Apply.
Childhood obesity rates have more than tripled in the past 30 years, while the number of children who walk and bicycle to school has declined, O'Connor explained.
Less than 16 percent of students between the ages of 5 and 15 walk or bicycle to school, according to a National Household Travel Survey conducted in 2001.
Congress designated $612 million toward developing the National Safe Routes to School program in 2005 as part of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU).
Since 2007, ITD has awarded $2 million to Idaho communities to improve routes to school.