In an effort to encourage and enable more of Rhode Island’s children to safely walk and bike to school, the Rhode Island Statewide Planning Program, Rhode Island Department of Transportation and the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Steering Committee announce a call for proposals to participate in the 100% federally funded national Safe Routes to School Program. The Program is a reimbursement program for a wide variety of projects and activities, with the goal of creating comprehensive SRTS initiatives in individual elementary and middle schools. Up to $2 million is available for projects during this funding cycle.
This is the second Rhode Island Safe Routes to School call for project proposals. In the first project solicitation, approximately $1.9 million in funding was distributed to implement a variety of projects including crosswalk and sidewalk construction, traffic signals, increased law enforcement in school zones and pedestrian and bicycle safety education. The SRTS Program has previously funded projects in Woonsocket, Central Falls, Cranston, East Providence, Barrington, Jamestown, Providence and Warwick.
Many of us remember a time when walking and bicycling to school was a part of everyday life. Many children are now driven in a private vehicle even if they live close to the school. Childhood obesity rates have more than tripled in the past 30 years resulting in children being at greater risk for a variety of health problems such as heart disease and diabetes, while the number of children walking and biking to school has declined. There is much to be gained by going back to the way it was when most of us walked or biked to school.
Application packets have been mailed to municipal and school officials in all the cities and towns. The application deadline is February 24, 2010. Two informational workshops (contents the same) will be held at the RI Department of Administration, Conference Room A at One Capitol Hill, Providence on Wednesday, December 16 at 9:00 a.m. and at 6:00 p.m.
Eligible activities include both infrastructure and non-infrastructure projects. Examples of infrastructure projects include the planning, design and construction or repair of crosswalks or sidewalks and traffic calming measures that improve the ability of students to safely walk and bicycle to school. Examples of non-infrastructure activities include walking school buses, safety curriculum, and cooperative programs with local law enforcement.
The Rhode Island Safe Routes to School Program is school focused. An application must include both a school or school district and city or town. It may also include a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization such as a school PTA. A school “team” must be formed to include representatives from the school, municipal government and community. The complete application package for the 2009 SRTS Project Solicitation and important information about the program is included on the RI SRTS web page: www.planning.ri.gov/transportation/srts/srts.htm. Other material helpful in planning your school’s program can be found on the National Center for SRTS website at: www.saferoutesinfo.org.
For more information contact the Rhode Island SRTS State Coordinator, Ms. Ronnie Sirota at 401-222-1233 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.