Ohio makes getting to school safer for students
ODOT targets record $11 million to Safe Routes to School projects
COLUMBUS (Thursday, April 1, 2010) – With projects aimed at keeping children from walking in the streets or along train tracks to increasing the number of police officers watching over school zones, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) will invest a record $11 million to make getting to school safer for students in 41 Ohio communities.
The $11 million in federal transportation funds to be invested this year will represent the most ODOT has invested in its successful Safe Routes to School program since it began in 2004.
In all, ODOT will fund 66 projects ranging in size from $1,650 to $500,000.
Among the largest projects to be funded, the city of Columbus will receive $500,000 to construct new sidewalks and a safer railroad crossing to prevent children at Westmoor Middle and Valleyview Elementary schools from walking along dangerous railroad tracks to get to school. The city will receive an additional $500,000 for new signage and crosswalks to provide for safer intersections near two elementary schools.
Other large investments include the village of Sheffield who will receive $500,000 for a new walkway to connect large residential areas to Sheffield Middle and William Barr Elementary schools. Approximately 1,400 students are expected to use the walkway when it is complete. The village of Chagrin Falls will also receive $500,000 for pavement markings, which will increase visibility at intersections.
Other construction projects include: $300,000 to the city of East Palestine for construction of a designated walkway facility that includes traffic control, curbs, and ADA ramps, $100,000 to the city of Athens for construction of two hillside stairwells to serve two schools, and $105,000 to the city of Gahanna for construction of a designated bike lane along a busy roadway.
Another 17 communities around Ohio will receive funding to increase law enforcement near school zones or to develop educational materials and events which encourage more students to walk or bike to school. This includes $1,650 to the city of Cambridge for safety town designed to teach elementary students about roadway safety and $43,500 to the Holmes County Commissioners for enforcement, materials and learning activities.
According to the Ohio Department of Health, since 1980, the prevalence of obesity has tripled among school-age children, and it remains high at approximately 17%. Aimed at elementary and middle schools, ODOT’s Safe Routes to School program is part of a national movement to create safe, convenient, and fun opportunities for children to walk and bike to and from schools.
For more information contact:
Scott Varner, ODOT Central Office Communications, at 614-644-8640
Or Becky Giauque \Jee-awg\, ODOT District 11 Communications Office, at 330-308-3949