Community leaders, parents and schools across the country are using SRTS programs to encourage and enable more children to safely walk and bike to school. Some schools have great places for walking and bicycling but few students are taking advantage of it. Other schools have children walking and bicycling in conditions that could benefit from improvements, while some schools do not have children walking or bicycling to school at all. Many of our schools struggle with traffic congestion and motor vehicle emissions polluting the environment. At the same time, children in general engage in less physical activity, which contributes to the growing epidemic of obesity.
At first glance, these problems may seem to be separate issues, but SRTS programs can address all these challenges through a coordinated action plan. SRTS programs use a variety of education, engineering and enforcement strategies to improve the ability for children to safely walk and bicycle to school and encouragement strategies to entice more children to walk and bicycle.
Successful SRTS programs involve the whole community. Parents, children, neighborhood groups, schools, law enforcement officers, community leaders and transportation and public health professionals help identify the issues and solutions.
Additional information on Denver’s efforts related to SRTS include:
Denver Safe Routes to School Coalition/Denver Safe Routes to School Action Plan: On March 27, 2007, Denver City Council signed Proclamation 15
to establish the Denver Safe Routes to School Coalition with the charge to develop a Denver Safe Routes to School Action Plan.
Federal Safe Routes to School Funding: Denver Public Works has applied for Federal funding for SRTS infrastructure improvements each year since the funding first became available after the passage of SAFE, ACCOUNTABLE, FLEXIBLE, EFFICIENT TRANSPORTATION EQUITY ACT: A LEGACY FOR USERS (SAFETEA-LU) in 2005. Funding is guaranteed through 2009. To date five of the seven applications submitted by Denver Public Works have been funded for improvements totaling more than $350K. Funding for SRTS education efforts have also been approved for Denver Public Schools through the Department of Environmental Health and other non-profit and community organizations for more than $200K.
Safe Routes to School Impact: To date, over 20 schools have or will benefit from infrastructure improvements and/or educational programming as a direct result of the Federal SRTS funding.