Chris Witt,Principal Planner
In an effort to encourage and enable more Rhode Island children to safely walk and bike to school, the Rhode Island Statewide Planning Program and the Rhode Island Department of Transportation have awarded over $4.6 million to Rhode Island schools to participate in the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) National Program. This is an exciting opportunity to have schools and communities work together to make walking and bicycling to school a safe and routine activity. The Program covers a wide variety of projects and activities, both infrastructure and non-infrastructure, with the goal of creating comprehensive Safe Routes to School Programs in individual elementary and middle schools.
Safe Routes to School is an international movement designed to reach communities. It began in Europe and has spread to the United States as a means to encourageand enable children to walk and bicycle to school safely. As a result of various state and local pilot programs over the last few years, federal legislation establishing Safe Routes to School programs in every state was passed. Eligible activities include:
The Rhode Island Safe Routes to School Program is school focused. An applicant must include a school/school district and city or town. It may also include a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. If the applicant is a non-profit, the application must be in partnership with a school and a city or town and be part of a comprehensive program for a particular school. The program is geared towards including nontraditional partners such as parent-teacher organizations. A school "team" must be formed to include representatives from the school, municipal government and community. Unique to other transportation projects, the team should consist of, as a minimum, the school principal, teachers, parents, the municipal engineer or public works director, municipal planner and law enforcement as well as interested citizens and/or businesses.
SRTS education, encouragement, and law enforcement activities have been implemented in the past few years in schools throughout Rhode Island. Some construction projects are completed with several more underway.
Below is a list of SRTS resources related to non-infrastructure activities, such as Education and Encouragement activities. Some of these resources are of no cost to the local SRTS program; others have a fee. It is the applicant’s responsibility to contact the providers and check out any credentials or references and possible fees. Potential program providers can contact Ronnie Sirota the Rhode Island SRTS Coordinator, if they would like to be considered for the resource list.
The following online guides, resources, and links also provide valuable information regarding safe routes to school activities: