Program Helping Children Find Safe Routes to School
Transportation Funds Directed To Manchester Local Schools
Chillicothe – Working with communities across the state to improve safety and encourage children to walk or ride their bikes to school, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is helping to make these routine activities once again, and one area school is benefitting from the department’s statewide program.
The Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program makes federal funding available for a wide variety of projects, from building safer street crossings to establishing programs that encourage children and their parents to walk and bicycle safely to school.
Earlier this year, ODOT awarded nearly $4 million to communities across the state for a host of projects, including school crossing signals, sidewalks, educational materials and school travel plans. In District 9, communities that received funds to develop a School Travel Plan included Aberdeen in Brown County; Jackson in Jackson County; Chesapeake, Ironton and South Point in Lawrence County; Frankfort in Ross County; and Manchester in Adams County.
As a result of its School Travel Plan, the Manchester Local School District will now receive funds totaling $82,500 for projects and activities that will increase the number of children walking or bicycling to school, including $69,900 for a sidewalk addition project along U.S. Route 52; $5,100 for traffic control at U.S. 52 and Island Creek Road; and an additional $7,500 for education, encouragement and enforcement.
“Safety issues are a big concern for parents, who consistently cite traffic danger as a reason why their children are unable to bike or walk to school,” said District 9 Deputy Director James Brushart. “This is one part of Governor Strickland’s ongoing commitment to transportation safety, and we appreciate the hard work and dedication the Manchester school district and the community have put into developing a successful travel plan.”
With increased traffic on the road and fewer designated areas to walk or bike, the number of children traveling to and from school by walking or riding their bikes has decreased from half of all school aged children in 1969 to about 15 percent today, and more than half of all children arrive at school in private automobiles.
By developing a School Travel Plan, local communities can encourage both parents and children to travel by means other than a motor vehicle or bus to and from school. This is accomplished by reducing individual car trips, increasing walking and bicycling and by making the walking and bicycling environment safer.
ODOT is now accepting a new round of applications for its widely-recognized Safe Routes to School program. For more information on the program, log on to the newly redesigned ODOT website at www.dot.state.oh.us. And to learn more tips for getting to school safely, go to www.saferoutesinfo.org.
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For more information contact: Kathleen Fuller, public information officer
Ohio Department of Transportation, District 9
1-740-774-8834, direct line and outside Ohio
1-888-819-8501, ext. 774-8834, toll free in Ohio