Regional Safe Routes to School seeks funding
After months of partnership building and community research, the Roaring Fork Regional Safe Routes to School program (SRTS) has been informed by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) this week that it is proceeding into the final phase of receiving grant funding in the amount of $62,000 for non-infrastructure programs.”Out of 72 applications, the Safe Routes Regional Partnership for the Four E’s is being recommended for funding by the Safe Routes to School Advisory Committee,” explained Betsy Jacobsen, CDOT bicycle and pedestrian coordinator and interim Safe Routes to School coordinator. “The Colorado Transportation Commission will have final approval of projects in their May meeting and are currently reviewing the SRTS project proposal.” The goal of these programs is to help communities continue to find ways to help improve biking and walking for transportation and to get involved for improvements in their communities. The total funding requests for the 72 applications exceeded $6.5 million. For the 2005-06 funding cycle, CDOT had approximately $1.9 million to distribute – far short of all the requests. In order to stretch funds as far as possible, all contingencies were removed from budgets, and the committee selected projects based on scoring criteria. In some cases, the committee is recommending partial funding. This was done to award portions of applications that better fit the goals of Safe Routes to School, as well as to stretch dollars.Community partners for Roaring Fork Regional Safe Routes to School program include: Re-1 and Aspen school districts and St. Stephen’s, the communities of Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, Basalt and Aspen. New Century Transportation Foundation will be collaborating with partners regarding an outlined plan of action.More than 4,300 children in kindergarten through eighth grades in the Roaring Fork Valley will be impacted by this program that will also include community audiences.Proposed activities include engineering/planning/charettes/education process of 1) individual school program team formation, 2) school site audits, 3) neighborhood site audits and 4) Safe Routes to School travelsurvey.Encouragement and enforcement will be conducted through Walk and Bike to school events in October and assistance with community Bike Rodeos. Bike Colorado will be working with schools and a $1,000 per school monetary incentive will be offered to participating schools for internal implementation of Safe Routes to School programs.Additional community education will be through Web site upgrades and expanded media coverage regarding the benefits of walking and biking for children.Project deliverables will be: 1) A safe route map for each school in each regional city, 2) community meetings for each of the four towns in the region – the meetings will be geared to raise awareness, identify problems and generate solutions for the issues identified, 3) a prioritized list of safe route improvement projects for each regional city and SRTS budget recommendations for city/town 2007 and 2008 budget cycles, and 4) next steps … recommendations for Safe Routes to School and a sustainability outline for 2007-08 school year.Additional funding for a more detailed SRTS program is being sought through community programs and private partnerships.Cathy Tuttle is with the New Century Transportation Foundation. For more information, e-mail email@example.com.
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