WYDOT puts $10,000 towards Pinedale Elementary School Pathway planning
Part of ‘Safe Routes to School’ program
by Wyoming Department of Transportation
April 12, 2011
Children in several communities in the state will have a safer time walking and biking to school thanks to a federally funded grant program administrated by the Wyoming Department of Transportation.
WYDOT awarded $975,728 to nine projects in the state as part of the 2011 Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program, which is designed to promote walking and bicycling to school. Out of the nine projects, five will be fully funded and four will be partially funded.
"Every year we get about $1 million from the Federal Highway Administration that we award to schools, communities or nonprofits," said Sara Janes, Safe Routes to School coordinator for WYDOT. "The Safe Routes to School program has to benefit children in grades kindergarten through eighth. The improvements have to occur within a two-mile radius of a school."
The Safe Routes to School program was created several years ago by the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equality Act: A Legacy for Users Act (SAFETEA-LU).
Eligible activities that are funded fall into the "Five E" components, which are education, engineering, enforcement, encouragement and evaluation, the Federal Highway Administration’s Web site indicated.
Under the five components, communities could apply for funding to pay for such projects and initiatives as pathway and sidewalk construction, Americans with Disabilities Act upgrades, helmet purchases, educational programs and events and law enforcement events.
"The ones that were fully funded this time around were mainly construction projects," Janes said. "The partially funded projects fell under the education, encouragement, evaluation and enforcement categories."
Communities that receive funding typically have about a year to let the projects after being awarded the funding.
With WYDOT continually receiving requests from the communities for Safe Routes to School money, Janes said it’s an indication that the program is working and it’s benefiting the state.
"It provides a safe walking path for kids to go to and from school," she said. "The trend has been that kids are not walking and biking as much to school. With childhood obesity on the rise, we want them to do those activities more and we want them to be safe."
Susan Davidson, former council member in Burlington and who now writes grants for the city, said the funding from the program has benefited the community. Burlington, which has received funds from SRTS for the past three years, has gravel roads so city officials decided to apply for the funding to build a sidewalk path.
Besides the sidewalks, the city used the money for safety events at the school and a contest for gift certificates toward new bikes. Davidson said the program is vital to cities like Burlington.
"Our town just has a U.S. highway going through it," Davidson said. "The children have to pay attention when they’re out, especially when they’re walking to school. This program has helped ensure that our children are now safer. There are a lot of moms and children who are now using the sidewalk path."
The following are the projects that received funding:
1. Arp Elementary Pathway, Cheyenne.
Project: The pathway will provide an off-street, shared-use path for children who walk or bicycle to school.
2. Chugwater (SRTS) Phase 3, Chugwater
Project: This project will include connecting existing pathways together, installing sidewalks and educating students on the safety of walking and biking to school.
3. Evanston (SRTS) Project, Evanston
Project: The funding will be used to install sidewalks and repair the two prominent biking and walking routes to the middle schools, youth development centers and the outdoor public recreational site. ADA work will also be completed.
4. Big Horn Schools (SRTS), Big Horn
Project: The project will be completed in two phases. Phase 1 consists of installing a crosswalk with a pedestrian actuated flashing beacon and sidewalks on a section of road on the north side of Highway 335. Phase 2 includes extending the sidewalk west of the school by about ¼ of a mile so it reaches two major subdivisions, extending curb and guttering and installing a crosswalk across Highway 335.
5. Shoshoni (SRTS), Shoshoni
Project: This project includes installing sidewalks, curbs and gutters in specific locations on California, Idaho, Fifth and Third streets.
6. Pinedale Elementary School Pathway, Sublette County Recreation Board
Project: The money will be used for a comprehensive SRTS plan that will help guide the Sublette County Recreation Board in future planning.
7. Burlington Safe Routes to School, Burlington
Project: The money will be used for encouragement and enforcement projects. In Burlington’s initial application, city officials want the funding to hold safety events, measure the perception of safety among the citizens and look at ways to increase patrol with law enforcement.
8. Cowley Pathway Project, Cowley
Project: The money will be used for education, encouragement, enforcement and evaluation. The city will provide education materials that promote safety, look at ways to develop its enforcement efforts, hold a bike rodeo and evaluate the program.
9. Lovell (SRTS) – Phase II – Shoshone Avenue Sidewalk, Lovell
Project: The money will be used for education in conjunction with the community’s existing SRTS project.