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MDOT announces Safe Routes to School grants to seven schools in four counties

Contact: Jeff Cranson, MDOT Director of Communications, 517-335-3084
Agency: Transportation

October 25, 2011 -- The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) today announced that seven Michigan schools in four counties will receive federal Safe Routes to School (SRTS) grants averaging approximately $148,000 per school. The grants will pay for safety improvements and education programs aimed at encouraging students to travel safely between home and school.

"These grants will fund sidewalk, curb and crosswalk improvements, along with safety education programs that will make it safer for children to walk and bicycle to school," said State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle. "MDOT is pleased to work with schools and communities to develop safe walking and bicycling environments."

"The structures that Safe Routes to School and the Michigan Fitness Foundation have established have allowed us to succeed in our efforts to improve the health of our students," said David Hornak, principal of Horizon Elementary School in Holt. "This partnership has been a winning combination and I would strongly recommend that other schools get involved. When our children walk or bike to school, they tend to be more academically engaged and office behavioral referrals decrease. In addition, we are always searching for ways to partner with our community. The Walking School Bus has been a great way to involve parents."

"We are very excited to receive an award to fund much needed infrastructure improvements around Bennett Elementary. Our community has been eager and ever so patient to have an improved, safe and walkable environment," said Marina Chavez-Camerena of Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision. "With improved sidewalks and streets, I believe we may have a 20 percent increase in walkers. There is no doubt that the Safe Routes program will have a positive impact on our community."

Federal SRTS funding enables schools to make infrastructure improvements and offer educational activities and safety campaigns that encourage students to walk and bicycle safely between home and school. MDOT and the Michigan Fitness Foundation partner to work with schools, neighborhoods, students, teachers, parents, school transportation directors and local law enforcement agencies.

The pedestrian safety education and walking school bus programs funded with the SRTS grants are expected to get under way during the 2011/2012 and/or 2012/2013 school years, while infrastructure improvements funded with SRTS grants are expected to be implemented in 2012.

The following projects are listed alphabetically by county:

Ingham County
Horizon Elementary School, in partnership with Delhi Township, the Ingham County Road Commission and the city of Lansing, will install sidewalks and crosswalks on Ambler Street and Washington and Willoughby roads. The project budget is $207,774.

Missaukee County
Three schools: Lake City Lower Elementary School, Lake City Upper Elementary School and Lake City Middle School, in partnership with the city of Lake City, will install sidewalks, crosswalks and curb "bump outs" on Russell Street, and sidewalks and crosswalks on Gladwin Road and Houghton, Pine and Union streets. The project budget is $138,114.

Schoolcraft County
Emerald Elementary School and Manistique Middle School, in partnership with the city of Manistique, will install sidewalks and crosswalks on Garden, Michigan and Manistique avenues and Cattaraugus and Maple streets, and implement pedestrian safety education and "Walking School Bus" programs. The project budget is $266,251.

Wayne County
Bennett Elementary School, in partnership with MDOT and the city of Detroit, will install sidewalks and crosswalks on Mandale, Lawndale, Whittaker, Senator and Mullane streets, and implement pedestrian safety education and "Walking School Bus" programs. The project budget is $426,375.

MDOT's role is to administer the federally legislated SRTS program that creates opportunities for collaboration with agencies and partners not traditionally involved with transportation funding. The SRTS program provides educational programs, infrastructure improvements and encouragement activities to help children safely walk and bike to school and increase their physical activity. Funding was established by Congress under the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users of 2005 (SAFETEA-LU). SRTS funding is 100 percent federal, with no local match required. More information is available at online at: www.saferoutesmichigan.org.

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