Monday, January 09, 2012

ODOT to Accept Applications for Safe Routes to School Projects

COLUMBUS (Monday, January 9, 2012) – The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is currently accepting applications for Safe Routes to School (SRTS) projects across Ohio.

The program provides federal funding for projects that will make it safer and more appealing for children in kindergarten through eighth grade to walk or ride their bikes to school.

“The goal of Safe Routes to School is to combine health and fitness with safety,” said ODOT Director Jerry Wray. “It’s an opportunity to work closely with schools and communities to create a healthy lifestyle for our children.”

The program has funded approximately $31 million in 400 projects since it began in 2004. Projects have included education, planning, sidewalks, pedestrian and bike paths, crosswalks, traffic calming, and bike racks.

SRTS is federally funded through the Federal Highway Administration, which means state and local applicants are not required to match funds.

A minimum of 10 percent and a maximum of 30 percent of Ohio’s allocation must be used for education, enforcement and encouragement. This year, ODOT rolled out its “Every Move You Make, Keep It Safe” educational campaign. The campaign’s purpose is to educate Ohio’s 1.2 million, their families, teachers, and school officials about appropriate safety practices for walking and bicycling to school.

Ohio’s First Lady, Karen Waldbillig Kasich, who serves as ambassador for Ohio’s SRTS program, and the “All-Ohio Safe Routes to School Show Choir” produced a music video titled “Be Safe Out the Door” to promote the benefits of walking and biking to school. The video can be viewed at:

“I believe that active kids are healthy kids,” said Waldbillig Kasich. “Biking and walking are activities that children can do that not only provides them health and fitness benefits but it has also been shown that physical activity before and after school improves their academic performance.”

Likely applicants will be state, local and regional agencies including nonprofit organizations.