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This page shows some of the latest Safe Routes to School News in Illinois. If you would like to share a story that is not yet posted on this site, please send us the information at <SafeRoutes@nt.dot.state.il.us>.


News Page Index
Lincoln's Last Walk to School (Elmhurst)
The Village of Mundelein Wins 2nd Place Award for Student Pedestrian Safety Web Page
CU SRTS Bike Rodeo May 21st at 9 AM
Winners Announced for State Contest Promote Bicycle Advocacy
Urbana mayor wants all walks shoveled
Preview: Road construction gets underway this week
Hultgren Visits Storm School in Support of Fit for Kids Initiative
National Center Announces Three New Tools for Safe Routes to School
National Center for Safe Routes to School Seeks Applications for $1,000 Grants: Call for Applications for Fall 2011 Activities
Registration Opens for Walk to School Day 2011 Submit a Safety Slogan for a Chance to Win $250
New Bicycle and Pedestrian Curricula Guide
“Bicycling is fun…and healthy too!” Poster Contest - Deadline April 22, 2011
25 Mini-Grants Awarded to Launch Creative Ideas for Safe Walking and Bicycling to School
NCSRTS Unveils New (FREE) Online Parent Survey Feature
Mundelein Launches New SRTS Webpage
One step closer to safety for Dunlap students
Why we should care about kids walking to school
Schools, city work to fill gaps for safer travel (Braidwood)
International Walk to School Day (Quincy)
District 181 students join in national Walk to School Day (Hinsdale)
Walk to School Day gains footing (Somonauk)
Rogers Park students celebrate Walk to School Day
C U Share The Road Video Premiere (WAND TV)
Several D300 schools join “Walk to School” movement (School Website)
District 300 students gear up for walk to school (Kane County)
Stepping up to healthy challenge (Carpentersville and Elgin)
Turnout huge for International Walk to School Day (Kane County)
More Illinois schools do healthy Walk and Roll day (Statewide, Urbana, Metropolis)
Walk and Roll to School Day Celebrated by District 205 Schools: Oct. 6 event encourages students and parents to get out and walk. (Elmhurst)
Urbana mayor declares Oct. 6 Walk to School Day
Champaign Urbana and Decatur Students Walk to School (WCIA TV News)
Champaign, Urbana Bicycle Education Video Premieres October 5, 2010 (link to video below!)
Walk to School Day Celebrates National Efforts to Promote More Walkable, Active Communities: Thousands of Events in US Will Recognize the Role Walking and Bicycling to School Can Play in Student Health and Safety
School district to pursue walking and biking safety grant (Elmhurst)
Pink pavement's fans say gripes are 'petty' (SRTS 2nd item - General Information)
Electronics recycling here to stay in Oak Lawn (SRTS Third Item)
Grant could help rough Waterloo sidewalks: City, school system seek cash for fixes
Goreville putting kids first, renovating park and sports fields ...
Village board discusses Dunlap Days, new sidewalks
Parents and students pound the pavement for Walk to School Day (East Moline)
Green Works® Naturally Derived Cleaners Teams Up with National Center for Safe Routes to School and Sierra Club to Encourage Families to Walk to School This October; Offering Green Grants to Schools That Get The Most People Walking
September is Childhood Obesity Month
Walking to School Could Reduce Stress Reactivity in Children and May Curb Risk of Heart Disease, Study Shows
Healthbeat: Bringing communities together to create safe routes to school
New Law: Drivers must STOP for pedestrians in crosswalks
New resource about involving students with disabilities in SRTS programs
Congratulations to the City of Urbana - a Bicycle Friendly Community
Call for 2010 James L. Oberstar Safe Routes to School Award Applications
Belleville sets the stage for breaching century-old dam (Signal Hill Elementary Trail)
Long-awaited sidewalks greeted with celebration (Niles)
Sward Elementary School’s Student Council (Oak Lawn, Ill.) Wins National SRTS Grant
City, schools join forces for safe routes (Braidwood)
Neither snow nor rain nor lousy drivers on cell phones ...
Capital projects get a boost from state, federal grants (Park Ridge)
PEDESTRIAN SAFETY STEPS UP WITH PASSAGE OF HB 43
Registration Open for Walk to School 2010
School Safety Patrol Celebrates 90th Anniversary
New SRTS Online Resource for Law Enforcement Officers
Information on Walking and Biking Levels from the 2009 National Household Travel Survey Released
APRIL IS NATIONAL DISTRACTED DRIVING AWARENESS MONTH
Study to examine school traffic (Danville)
Apps for Healthy Kids Competition Open Now (Ends on June 30, 2010, at 5:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time)
Safe Routes to School $1,000 Mini-grant Call for Applications (Due April 7, 2010)
Applications available for EPA Smart Growth Implementation Assistance (SGIA) program - Deadline April 9, 2010
National Center for Safe Routes to School Releases Baseline Report on Student Travel Modes
Alliance for Biking and Walking Releases Report: "Bicycling and Walking in the U.S.: 2010 Benchmarking Report"
North Pekin project nears completion
Take Students on a Run Through Germany with Paul Staso (Free Incentive/Mileage Club)
New Requirements for Adult Crossing Guard Vests - Effective 1-15-10
Speed trailers placed around Rockton schools
Urbana district urges residents to shovel sidewalks
Snowy Sidewalks (Champaign Urbana)
Study to look at traffic options near Danville High School, Local Elementary Schools
Alpha joins Henry County tourism group
Nelson outlines projects for 2010 (Coal City/Diamond)
Illinois to Remain Part of the SRTS National Partership's State Network Project through 2011
New Illinois Laws (Texting While Driving/Cell Phone Use in School Zones) Take Effect January 1, 2010
Free FHWA Bicycle Safety Materials Available Again
Northwest suburban mayors take a look forward (Prospect Heights)
Chicago school honors Safe Passage Program volunteers: Community volunteers escort kids to and from Bradwell Math, Science and Technology Academy
National Center for Safe Routes to School Announces Spring 2010 Mini-grant Recipients
Transportation For America Releases New Report "Dangerous By Design" - Identifies SRTS as One Solution to Safer Streets
Gustafson students hoof it to school in Batavia
Council covers routes to Plano's brighter future
Walking Safely and Without Fear - America Walks Reaction to death of Somer Thompson, FL
Route 176 pedestrian tunnel eyed in Lake Bluff
Speeding tickets can benefit Safe Routes to School program
Morton still expects Safe Routes funding
WTSD 2009: Kids learn how to cross streets safely (Quincy)
WTSD 2009: Harris School participates in international walk to school day (Decatur)
WTSD 2009: Walk To School Day offers glimpse of tomorrow's livable communities (Transportation Secretary LaHood's Blog)
WTSD 2009: Students walk, roll to school (Evanston)
WTSD 2009: Walking to School In Champaign - News Clip from WCIA TV
WTSD 2009: International Walk to School Day Celebrates Local Efforts
Morton snags $250,000 grant: Village will get to install sidewalks, crosswalks near three schools
National Night Out aims to increase safety awareness (Champaign Urbana)
Willow Springs to add more sidewalks for children’s safety
Grant to help build sidewalks near Ralston, Windsor schools (Machesney Park)
Safe Routes project aims to educate students, drivers (Champaign - Urbana)
Klingner and Associates hired by city for engineering work on upgrade at 33rd and Maine (Quincy)
New Mapping Tool to Assist with SRTS
Mansfield lands two Safe Routes to School grants
School notes (North Chicago)
Carthage awarded $40,000 for Safe Routes to School
Pleasantdale Grant Means Sidewalks for Students
Council: A good week for Plano
Grant money to help make school sidewalks safer (Mundelin)
Grant to help fund new sidewalks near schools in Pontiac
Sidewalk work (Rochelle)
Safer trips to school (Hickory Hills)
Getting SRTS into the Classroom — Free Materials Available
Grant will aid in getting kids to school safely (Coal City)
Communities receive Safe Routes to School funds (Peotone, Beecher, Monee)
Harris School Receives Safe Routes to School Grants (Decatur)
West Belleville getting first bicycling and walking trail (Signal Hill Elementary)
DuPage County briefs: Lisle gets grant money
School route grant approved (Macomb)
City to build sidewalks, walking bridges with grant
Columbia gets $70,000 to protect kids walking to school
Galesburg to receive $195,500 for school routes
City gets Safe Route to School grants to fund projects near schools on Maine, Columbus Road (Qunicy)
City receives $190k grant for sidewalk work (Pontiac, IL)
Gov. Quinn Announces $13 Million is Awarded to Communities to Create Safe Routes to School
Gov. Quinn announces $13 million is awarded to communities to create Safe Routes to School - IGNN
Study Finds Physically Fit Students Post Higher Academic Test Scores Than Less Fit Peers
Updated Data Collection Forms from the National Center for SRTS
Apply for the Oberstar Award - All Local SRTS Programs Are Eligible!
Potential New Law regarding No Phones in School Zones
Potential New Law Regarding Speeding in School Zones
Project to make safe route in Tilton School area (Rochelle)
Applications Open for 2009 Oberstar Safe Routes to School Award
National Great Outdoors Month 2009 Proclamation
The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center Launches Updated Free Image Library
Urbana Set to Unveil New School Zone Signs Friday
Register for 2009 Walk to School Day
GOATS plan bike rodeo, with help from friends (Galena)
Bike Project Volunteer Headed to Iraq/Champaign Urbana Bike Rodeo
Grant for speed traps protects school zones (Champaign-Urbana)
City, D-80 team up for 'Race to Chicago'
Grants make routes to 10 schools safer: Recipients get training on implementing bike and pedestrian safety programs(Children's Hospital of Central Illinois)
Germantown Hills residents relieved sidewalks will be built near school
Sidewalk improvements projected for 2010 (Ottawa)
Urbana board to discuss 'walking school buses,' boilers
Opportunity for Law Enforcement Personnel to participate in NHTSA SRTS Law Enforcement Pilot
Cerny details mayors plan for 2009 (Carbon Hill)
The Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute Reports on Helmets for 2009
Forest Preserve District to build path near Glendale Heights school
Havana school wants students to walk: Junior high applies for grant to make roads around school safer
National Partnership and CDC report: SRTS Improves the Built Environment - feat. Urbana, IL
National Partnership and CDC report: Safe Routes to School: Leads to Greater Collaboration with Public Health and School Officials
National Partnership and CDC report:SRTS: Steps to a Greener Future
School building panel OKs $1.6 million parking lot project (Quincy) SRTS 2nd Item
Clarendon Hills backs Safe Routes to School
Applications endorsed by City Council for 'Safe Routes' grants (Quincy)
Council to consider 'Safe Routes to School' grants for sidewalks, lane reduction (Quincy)
King Elementary cyclists get a rules roundup at bicycle rodeo (Urbana)
Congestion near St. Dominics and Madison Schools (Quincy)
Board finalizes grant for safer school routes (Somonauk)
New National Trust for Historic Preservation Program to Encourage Community-Centered Schools (State of Illinois)
EVENT:Brookport Safe Route To School Program Meeting Today (Metropolis & Brookport)
Walk to School Day turning Urbana into gaited community
Pontiac to seek 'Safe Routes to School' grant
Project to repair sidewalks around Pontiac schools OK'd
Harlem district students to learn school safe routes
Morton aims for safe school route grant
C-U working to make roads safer for children
EVENT: Safe Routes To School Program To Be Launched In Metropolis And Brookport
Closing of parks, historic sites rob us of priceless assets/Walking for a cause
Conference will focus on biking, walking to school
Task Force releases recommendations for advancing Safe Routes to School
AASA Survey Finds Rising Fuel, Energy Costs Stressing School Budgets
Director's Column: Safe Routes to School: A Great Way to Get Youth with and without Disabilities More Active
Safe Routes to Urbana Schools
Police pose as pedestrians to nab errant drivers (Chicago, IL)
Alton High gets new assistant principal (Approves SRTS Plans)
Connect with other programs at the Safe Routes Forums
Take a hike: Machesney Park, Harlem earn grant to motivate kids to walk or bike
Crossing guards merit appreciation
Safe Routes to School National Partnership Announces New State Network Project
Towns trying to provide safe routes to schools (Champaign)
Board looks to make school routes safer
West Frankfort Safe Routes to Schools travel plan accepted
Walking school bus in Quincy
Plan aims to get more Quincy students walking to school
Walking home from school concerns (Quincy)
Program promotes safer; healthier kids (SRTS Program Announcement)
IDOT announces new program that encourages safe environment for kids that walk or bike to school: $23 million available to fund Safe Routes to School
Safe routes to schools (Quincy)
Marion continues sidewalk refurbishing
Student safety, activity targeted (AlWood - Alpha/Woodhull)
Let kids outdoors: Crime is down, but parents shelter their children as if there's a child predator on every corner.




Lincoln's Last Walk to School (Elmhurst)
Tuesday, May 31, 2001

Students enjoying the last walk to school event of the year in Elmhurst.

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The Village of Mundelein Wins 2nd Place Award for Student Pedestrian Safety Web Page
Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Village of Mundelein is pleased to announce that it won 2nd place in the Intergovernmental Risk Management Agency’s 2011 Best Risk Management & Safety Initiative Award program for its Student Pedestrian Safety Web Page (www.mundelein.org/community_info/srts.htm). The safety award program recognizes safety products that are timely, innovative, and effective in preventing loss or reducing exposure to loss. The pedestrian safety web page explains the Village’s and Mundelein Elementary School District #75’s combined efforts to enhance the safety of pedestrian routes to school. The web page raises awareness about safe walking and biking to school and provides safety informational resources. The Village will receive a 2nd place plaque and a $500 award to further the Village’s risk management program and safety practices.

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CU SRTS Bike Rodeo May 21st at 9 AM
Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Bike Rodeo is an annual event for families and an opportunity for parents and children to learn how to be safe when bicycling and to practice some basic bicycling skills. This year's bike rodeo is brought to you by C-U Safe Routes to School Project, C-U Mass Transit District and Illinois Public Media.

This year's event is 9am on Saturday, May 21st at The Market at the Square in Urbana.

willconnect.org/?orgs/?C-U-Safe-Routes-to-School-Project/?

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Winners Announced for State Contest Promote Bicycle Advocacy
Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The League of Illinois Bicyclists and Active Transportation Alliance are pleased to announce the winners of the state “Bicycling is Fun…and Healthy too!” poster contest. The League of Illinois Bicyclists (LIB) and Active Transportation Alliance (ATA), partnered with Saris Cycling Group, a manufacturer of bicycle racks and cycling training products, for the poster contest promoting the benefits of riding a bike. The contest asked fifth grade students to create a poster around the theme “Bicycling is fun…and healthy too!”

Giselle Lechuga, from Otter Creek Elementary School in Elgin, was the first place winner in the state competition. Giselle will a Schwinn Ranger mountain bike, Planet Bike Spok bike light and Lazer helmet. Otter Creek Elementary School will receive a Saris bicycle parking system. Giselle is currently a finalist in the national competition. One national winner will win a trip to the 2012 National Bike Summit in Washington DC.

Emilena Fontanez, from Elmwood Elementary School in Elmwood Park, was the second place winner in the state competition. Emilena will receive a Lazer bike helmet and Planet Bike Spok bike light.

Meghan Quinn, from Jefferson School in Elmhurst, was the third place winner in the state competition. Meghan will receive a Planet Bike Spok light.

Fifth graders throughout the state entered their posters in school competitions with each school selecting a school winner to advance in the state-level competition. Forty-four schools from across the state sent in their school winning posters to be considered.
Images from the national finalists’ posters are at http://www.sariscyclinggroup.com/index.php/poster-contest/2011-finalists-vote-now.html. The winner is expected to be announced on Friday, May 20. All of the school winners for Illinois are also on the Facebook page for the League of Illinois Bicyclists at http://www.facebook.com/pages/League-of-Illinois-Bicyclists/53760367182.
To learn more about the SCG Poster Contest, contact Gina Kenny at gina@bikelib.org or (708) 334-2244. Also visit http://www.bikelib.org.


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Urbana mayor wants all walks shoveled
Friday, 05/06/2011

Patrick Wade

URBANA -- It's May. Flowers are blooming, and the temperature is rising. But the city is continuing its battle against the snow.

Mayor Laurel Prussing told a task force this week that she hopes to have a citywide sidewalk snow-removal ordinance in place before the freeze sets in again this winter. It is an idea the committee has visited before, but for a more limited geographic area.

Earlier this year, the neighborhood safety task force had discussed setting up snow rules which would require property owners to shovel their sidewalks after significant snowfalls along 35 miles of "Safe Routes to School" and possibly business districts. Now, Prussing has expanded the potential enforcement zone to the entire city...



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Preview: Road construction gets underway this week
Thursday, May 5, 2011

By Jennifer Delgado

Along with white-flowering trees and green grass, spring brings orange barrels and the start of road construction season.

Throughout Chicagoland construction is gearing up on interstates and local roads. Here’s a look at work motorist can expect to impact their commutes in Des Plaines and Park Ridge.
...
Central School: A $305,000 state grant will provide a raised crosswalk, pavement marking and curb bump outs along the District 62 school on Thacker Street. The 4-inch high crosswalk will improve visibility and slow down traffic while the extended curb will help kids crossing the street because the distance is shorter.

The city had hoped to be awarded $34,000 more to build a sidewalk along Prairie Avenue, but will continue to applying for grants, Oakley said. The work is part of the Safe Routes to School initiative...


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Hultgren Visits Storm School in Support of Fit for Kids Initiative
Sunday, May 1, 2011

Erin Sauder

Tuesday was no ordinary school day for H.C. Storm School in Batavia.

U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren (IL-14) visited to show his support for the Fit for Kids initiative, an ongoing drive by Kane County to reverse the epidemic of childhood obesity.

In October, H.C. Storm celebrated its fifth Walk to School week to promote good health.

“It grew from one day to a weeklong celebration,” said Principal Cynthia Sikorski.

Hultgren also got to hear that H.C. Storm School is the recipient of a $10,000 Fit Kids 2020 Grant to install new playground equipment.

Sikorski said it will replace the current equipment which has “outlived its time.”
Hultgren was not the only politico in attendance Wednesday. He was joined by Kane County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay, Batavia Mayor Jeffrey Schielke and Batavia School Superintendent Jack Barshinger, who all got to glimpse Batavia’s newly developed plans for Safe Routes to School throughout the city.

Safe Routes to School is a federally funded program which was established in 2005 and is administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation. SRTS uses a multidisciplinary approach to improve conditions for students who walk or bike to school.

Batavia’s Travel Plan Committee evaluated the needs for each school and came up with a detailed list of sidewalk gaps, signage and miscellaneous needs within the community.

Karen Young, assistant city engineer, said several projects are slated to begin in 2012...



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National Center Announces Three New Tools for Safe Routes to School
Friday, May 6, 2011

In its continuous effort to equip communities with resources and technical information to support Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs, the National Center for Safe Routes to School has unveiled three new web-based SRTS tools - a reorganized, redesigned website, an interactive map of federally funded SRTS programs, and searchable success stories from SRTS programs across the country. These improvements – which are all integrated into the National Center’s website, www.saferoutesinfo.org - will help program coordinators, transportation and public health professionals, parents and others more easily locate SRTS information and resources, and get a better sense of the reach and progress of the federal program.

“These new tools and website improvements were designed to support the ever-growing enthusiasm and commitment of communities to make a difference in how their children get to school,” said Lauren Marchetti, director of the National Center for Safe Routes to School.

Comprehensive improvements to the website make it easier to search and browse the information that is available through the National Center’s website. The website has been reorganized into five main sections, based on what information and resources visitors use most: Program Tools, Funding Portal, Events & Training, Data Central and About Us. The site-wide keyword search function has been improved to help visitors more quickly find specific tools and resources. The site is also now equipped with an RSS feed, which allows frequent visitors to more easily stay informed of new information and updates to the National Center’s website.

To quickly view what’s happening with SRTS in any area of the country, the interactive map depicts federally funded SRTS projects and their locations. Searches can be based on several criteria including the location of the school or school district, the amount of funding awarded, and congressional district. The interactive map is based on data included in the National SRTS Project List, a resource developed and maintained by the National Center.

Newly searchable success stories will make it easier to search and find examples of SRTS program stories. The National Center has developed more than 160 detailed descriptions of the activities and lessons learned from local SRTS programs across the United States. From Walking Wednesdays and bicycle rodeos, to new crosswalks and sidewalks with curb cuts, communities across the country are building SRTS programs tailored to their unique needs. These success stories - or case studies - provide examples of how to set and meet goals, how to gauge success and how to regroup, if necessary, to make a program more effective.

The National Center's contract with the Federal Highway Administration to serve as the information clearinghouse for the federal SRTS program has been extended 18 months, until November 2012. In this role, the Center will continue to develop SRTS resources and training, provide technical assistance, and disseminate successful techniques and strategies for SRTS programs.

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National Center for Safe Routes to School Seeks Applications for $1,000 Grants: Call for Applications for Fall 2011 Activities
Tuesday, April 19, 2010

The National Center for Safe Routes to School is now accepting applications for 25 mini-grants of $1,000 each. These mini-grants support the goal of Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs, which is to enable and encourage children to safely walk and bicycle to school. SRTS programs are implemented nationwide by parents, students, schools, community leaders, and local, state, and tribal governments. Applications are due Wednesday, May 18, 2011.

The National Center’s SRTS mini-grant program, now in its fourth award cycle, seeks creative ideas that match a school’s needs and interests together with ways to help improve safety and/or increase the number of students walking and rolling to school. They may fund activities ranging from the nuts and bolts that help start or sustain a program to new ideas that explore the range of benefits of safe walking and bicycling.

Selected mini-grant proposals will fit a school's identified needs and interests. It may help to engage a variety of student and adult leaders to decide what kind of changes the school would like to accomplish and the types of activities that could support these changes. The goal of this program is to support schools' and communities' needs related to walking and bicycling programs, as well as to involve students' creativity and leadership at an age-appropriate level. There are many right answers, and creativity and innovation are encouraged.

Mini-grant activities should occur between August 1, 2011, and the end of the Fall 2011 semester. The National Center encourages applicants to use student creativity along with student and adult leaders to identify their school's needs and interests and to propose safe walking/bicycling activities that address those needs and interests.

For more information and to submit a mini-grant application, visit minigrants.saferoutesinfo.org.


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Registration Opens for Walk to School Day 2011 Submit a Safety Slogan for a Chance to Win $250
Wednesday, April 6, 2010

Registration is now open for Walk to School Day 2011, a one-day event in the U.S. that is a part of an international effort to celebrate the many benefits of walking and bicycling to school throughout the month of October. Now in its 14th year, this year’s event will be celebrated on Wednesday, October 5. Walk to School Day participation reached a record high in 2010 with more than 3,500 registered U.S. events, and that number is expected to rise once again in 2011.

Walk to School Day event registration is free and available to individuals and organizations holding an October event in the U.S. Events that register on the Walk to School website, www.walktoschool.org/register, will be displayed on an interactive U.S. map on the website, where neighboring communities, media and other organizations can identify who is walking in their areas.

Registering a Walk to School Day event provides organizers access to free, downloadable materials including event ideas, certificates and customizable flyers. Registrants can also subscribe to a weekly e-newsletter for six weeks in September and October with tips and resources for holding a Walk to School event.

New in 2011, the National Center for Safe Routes to School, the national coordinating agency for Walk to School activities in the U.S., wants to include parents, students, teachers and other community members in determining a safety slogan for this year’s event. While safety is a focus for Walk to School Day events every year, developing a safety focused slogan and new resources for this year’s celebrations will enable participants to show support for a larger, international campaign, the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety, which will be launched in May. This is a logical fit because the trip to school is a safety concern throughout the world. For more information, visit www.decadeofaction.org.

Anyone is invited to submit catchy slogan ideas for the nationwide Name that Walk to School Day contest. Slogan ideas can be entered through an online form on the Walk to School Day website, www.walktoschool.org/contest_form.cfm, for a chance to win a $250 Walk to School Day mini-grant for a school, and to be featured on the Walk to School website. All are invited to vote for their favorite slogan in an online poll from May 4 through 10. New, free resources using the winning safety slogan will also be available in August 2011 for everyone to use.

For more information on Walk to School activities in the U.S., visit www.walktoschool.org. To see photos from events held in 2010, visit www.iwalktoschool.org/photos/index.htm.

Name that Walk to School Contest Details -
Slogan ideas must be submitted on www.walktoschool.org/contest_form.cfm by 5 p.m. EDT on April 26, 2011. The National Center for Safe Routes to School will select up to four finalists for popular vote through an online poll to be conducted May 3 through 10. The winning slogan will be announced on May 11 on the website and Facebook page to coincide with the launch of the U.N. Decade of Action for Road Safety. Submitters are asked to identify the school to receive $250 should their entry be selected. For complete contest rules, visit www.walktoschool.org/contest_rules.cfm#rules.


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New Bicycle and Pedestrian Curricula Guide
Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Safe Routes to School National Partnership is pleased to announce the release a new publication called Bicycle and Pedestrian Curricula Guide: Making the Case for Bicycle and Pedestrian Youth Education.

The guide, created through a contract from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is intended to give Safe Routes to School practitioners, teachers, school administrators and others the necessary background information to fully understand the positive benefits of teaching bicycle and pedestrian education in the classroom, and to provide these audiences with easy access to currently available curricula. The guide and its accompanying inventory are organized into descriptive categories that will help in choosing the right curriculum for specific classroom needs.

The Safe Routes to School National Partnership's Bicycle and Pedestrian Curricula Guide: Making the Case for Bicycle and Pedestrian Youth Education was created through the help of several dozen bicycle and pedestrian education leaders from throughout the country; we thank everyone who assisted for their help and contributions.If you were unable to submit your curriculum for review, you can fill out this form to have your curriculum added to an online database which will be updated periodically.



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“Bicycling is fun…and healthy too!” Poster Contest - Deadline April 22, 2011
Friday, February 11, 2011

The League of Illinois Bicyclists and Active Transportation Alliance are partnering with Saris Cycling Group, a manufacturer of bicycle racks and cycling training products, to launch a poster contest promoting the benefits of riding a bike. The contest asks fifth grade students to create a poster around the theme “Bicycling is fun…and healthy too!” The purpose of the activity is to get kids thinking about all of the roles bicycles play in their lives.

One winner will be selected from each state to receive a bike, bike light and helmet. The first place winner’s school will also receive a bicycle parking system. One national winner will win a trip to the 2012 National Bike Summit in Washington DC.

“The contest provides a fun activity to get students excited about learning and provides teachers a creative way to introduce healthy living concepts,” said SCG Advocacy Coordinator Heather Fortune. “Increasing students’ awareness of bicycling is the first step towards helping them ride bikes more often.”

To learn more about the SCG Poster Contest or to participate contact Gina Kenny at gina@bikelib.org or (708) 334-2244. Also visit http://www.bikelib.org.
*************************************************************
About League of Illinois Bicyclists

The League of Illinois Bicyclists (LIB) is the statewide advocate for all Illinois bicyclists, promoting bicycle access, education and safety. For more information, as well as bike safety sheets focusing on safe riding skills, visit www.bikelib.org.

About Active Transportation Alliance

The Active Transportation Alliance is a non-profit, member-based advocacy organization that works to make bicycling, walking and public transit so safe, convenient and fun that we will achieve a significant shift from environmentally harmful, sedentary travel to clean, active travel. For more information on the Active Transportation Alliance, visit www.activetrans.org or call 312.427.3325.

About Saris Cycling Group
Saris Cycling Group, Inc. is located in Madison, WI. Saris Cycling Group is an industry leader committed to bicycle advocacy and manufactures Saris Car Racks, Saris Parking and Storage Solutions, CycleOps PowerTap, and CycleOps Trainers. For more information, visit www.sariscyclinggroup.com.


About Schwinn Bicycles
Schwinn makes bikes that allow riders of all ages and abilities to experience the joy of riding. The bikes are built to the Schwinn Quality standard, with over 100 years of cycling heritage, passion and expertise. For more information, visit www.schwinnbikes.com.

About Planet Bike
Planet Bike is located in Madison, WI and manufactures bicycle parts and accessories. Planet Bike donates 25% of profits each year to improving conditions for bicycling. For more information, visit www.planetbike.com.

About Lazer
Lazer is the oldest helmet producer in the world. Lazersport provides quality helmets for every kind of cycling. For more information, visit www.lazersport.com.
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25 Mini-Grants Awarded to Launch Creative Ideas for Safe Walking and Bicycling to School
Thursday, January 27, 2011

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — The National Center for Safe Routes to School announced today the selection of 25 recipients who have been awarded $1,000 mini-grants for projects designed to encourage safe walking and bicycling to and from school. The mini-grant activities, many of which are driven by student leadership, will occur during the spring semester of the 2010-2011 school year.

"We continue to be impressed by the innovation and creativity of the mini-grant applications we receive," said Lauren Marchetti, director of the National Center for Safe Routes to School. “Communities nationwide are tailoring walking and bicycling to school programs to address their unique needs, and that customization and attention to detail is what will sustain these efforts to improve safety and promote an active trip to school in the future.”

Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs are sustained efforts by parents, schools, community leaders and local, state, federal and Tribal governments to improve the health and well-being of children by enabling and encouraging them to walk and bicycle to and from school. The National Center, which serves as the clearinghouse for the federal SRTS program, received 304 eligible mini-grant applications from across the country in this third round of awards. Selected proposals distinguished themselves through their commitment and creative approaches to improve safety and increase walking and bicycling to and from school.

Proposed mini-grant activities identified ways in which SRTS programs can address school and community priorities such as the need to be physically active, concern for the environment, personal security, accessibility, and community building. In addition to developing adult-led student walking groups - also known as walking school buses - and teaching bicycle mechanics and maintenance, recipients plan to address concerns about crime and personal security and to engage students of all abilities to participate in safe walking and bicycling activities.

"The community support and student leadership recognized in these projects will strengthen SRTS efforts across the country and help establish active lifestyles and communities for the future," Marchetti continued.

For more information, including the list of awarded projects, please visit: www.saferoutesinfo.org/news_room/2011-01-27_mini-grant_recipients_announced.cfm

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NCSRTS Unveils New (FREE) Online Parent Survey Feature

The National Center for Safe Routes to School (the National Center) has launched a new feature which gives local Safe Routes to School programs the ability to collect parent survey responses online in both English and Spanish. The online parent survey option is a free service that streamlines the data collection and submission processes, and saves local programs administrative time and money. The new feature enters parent survey responses directly into the National Center's online data system which eliminates the need for additional fee-based survey software. Previously, organizers had to subscribe to Survey Monkey in order to collect responses and then go through additional steps to submit their local data to the National Center. This online parent survey option is offered in addition to the National Center's free service of processing hard copies of the English and Spanish Parent Surveys.

To see if online surveying is appropriate for your school and for information on how to start using this new feature, visit www.saferoutesinfo.org/resources/evaluation_parent-survey-instructions.cfm.

Parent survey results can help local programs determine how to improve opportunities for children to walk and bicycle to school, and measure parental attitude changes as local Safe Routes to School programs occur. For more information on collecting local Safe Routes to School data, visit www.saferoutesinfo.org/data.


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Mundelein Launches New SRTS Webpage

Please click on link above to view this site. It is a great example of using your municipal website to provide information and promote SRTS in your community!

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One step closer to safety for Dunlap students
November 20, 2010

By Brandon Schatsiek
Chillicothe Times-Bulletin

Dunlap, Ill. — Whether they really want to go to school or not, students in the village of Dunlap could at least have a safe and fun way to do so in future years.

As part of the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School program, the Dunlap Village Board has applied for funding that would allow the implementation of a sidewalk to run down Legion Hall Road connecting the Copperfield subdivision and Dunlap Grade School.

“The sidewalk will allow students to get from Copperfield to the grade school but it also will tie in Dunlap Middle, the high school, athletic facilities as well as the library and the Rock Island trail,” said Dunlap Village Board Trustee Sheila Taylor.

“The main objective is to get students safely to school but also allow them to access other facilities as well.”

Currently the only portion of sidewalk along Legion Hall Road is on the north side but it does not connect to the grade school or to Copperfield. Of the 391 students that attend DGS, 91 of them live in the Copperfield subdivision.

“All of those residents who would walk from Copperfield have to walk on Legion Hall Road,” Taylor said. “With the amount of traffic we have anymore, it’s not a safe situation for them.”

The Safe Routes to School program is a federally funded program that started in 2006 for Illinois and was extended to run through the end of 2010. After this cycle, IDOT will have approved $30 million worth of projects over the past few years.

The SRTS projects are 100 percent funded from the program; no communities are asked to partially cover or match any funds awarded unless their project exceeds what they applied for.

The application to receive funding is a two-step process that asks communities and school districts to first submit a School Travel Plan, which focuses on building a framework for the second leg of the plan.

“(The STP is) like a map because what it does is provide you a framework to determine what you’re already doing to promote biking and walking to make it safe for kids, what you need to do and where to go to make it successful in the short term and long term,” said IDOT SRTS Coordinator Megan Holt Swanson.

... for more, click on the link above.

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Why we should care about kids walking to school
November 18, 2010

Posted in CULTURE by Cynthia Hoyle

The first Wednesday in October of this year thousands of kids, parents, volunteers, and U of I Student Athletes hit the sidewalks of Champaign-Urbana early in the morning. What was that all about? October 6th was International Walk and Roll to School Day, a perfect example of “Thinking Globally and Acting Locally.“ Events took place in more than 40 countries and 3,200 schools across the U.S. In Champaign-Urbana, 15 elementary schools participated this year.

Why is walking and biking to school important? You may have heard about the epidemic of childhood obesity in our country, and Champaign County is no exception. The long term consequences of our children being overweight and obese has life long implications, including the unprecedented fact this generation may be the first in American history to have shorter life spans than their parents.

Consider these facts:

Obesity rates among children have tripled since 1980.
Illinois has the 8th highest rate of childhood obesity in the country at 27%.
Roughly 10% of children nationwide walk to school regularly. Even among those kids living within a mile of their school, only 25% are regular walkers.
In 1969, 87% of children who lived within 1 mile of their school walked or bicycled there.
Many experts feel that lack of activity is one of the primary reasons for the increase in childhood obesity and the increase in cases of type 2 diabetes in children.
Elementary school-aged children should accumulate at least 30 to 60 minutes of age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate physical activity from a variety of activities on all, or most, days of the week.
Walking one mile to and from school each day is two-thirds of the recommended sixty minutes of physical activity a day. Plus, children who walk to school have higher levels of physical activity throughout the day.
What are the most common barriers to walking and biking to school? A study from the CDC confirms many of the reasons given by parents in C-U:

(For more, click on link above)

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Schools, city work to fill gaps for safer travel (Braidwood)
Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Marney Simon
Staff writer

The city of Braidwood and the Reed-Custer School District are hoping to get their hands on some federal dollars that will help create safe passage for students on their way to school. City finance director Lisa Heglund announced on Sept. 28 that the city and school district had filed a joint application for funds through the federally funded Safe Routes to School program.

Heglund said the city and school district submitted the first phase of the grant application last week. Next up will be public comment on the issue.

"We ask that the public come in and give us feedback about the sidewalks in town, the sidewalk location, where they'd like to see additional sidewalks," Heglund said.

The city and schools would also look for input on problems on existing sidewalks.

The issues surrounding students' safety while walking to school is part of a nationwide healthy initiative to encourage children to walk or bike to school. The Illinois Safe Routes to School Program is administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), and provides funding with three main goals: ...


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International Walk to School Day (Quincy)
Wednesday, October 6, 2010

QUINCY, ILL. -- Drivers know to slow down in school zones but kids also need to pay attention.

Wednesday is International Walk to School day and kids at Washington school in Quincy learned about pedestrian safety.

Safe Kids of Adams County joined forces with FedEx teaching kids to look both ways, make eye contact with drivers when cross the street and obeying traffic signals.
...


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District 181 students join in national Walk to School Day (Hinsdale)
Friday, October 8, 2010

By CHUCK FIELDMAN cfieldman@pioneerlocal.com
Maryann Romanelli got more than she bargained for when she went to the District 181 School Board in July 2000 with an idea.

An avid walker herself, Romanelli found some information online about a Walk to School Day in other places for which students and their families were encouraged to avoid motor vehicles and use their feet as transportation.

"I wanted to get people aware of walking to school," she said. "The board told me I should go ahead and get it set up, so I did."

With Romanelli getting the engine started, District 181 has had a Walk to School Day each year since 2000, including the Oct. 6 event this year.

"There are so many benefits to the walking part," Romanelli said. "There is the health aspect to be out there walking, and there also is less (auto) congestion and less exhaust from cars. ...

"I think it also brings the school community together, and I had people tell me the first couple of years (of Walk to School Day) that they met neighbors they had never met before."



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Walk to School Day gains footing (Somonauk)
Friday, October 8, 2010

By Caitlin Mullen
SOMONAUK – Looking ahead, Dylan Yates said the opportunity to walk to school Wednesday provided him with some exercise that will help get him in shape for next year’s soccer season.

“It’s either walk or ride the bus, and I’m tired of riding the bus,” said Dylan, a seventh-grader at Somonauk Middle School. “I’ll walk to school when I can. That’s the truth.”

Somonauk elementary and middle school students participated Wednesday in International Walk to School Day, which encourages students living within one-and-a-half miles of school to skip the bus ride and get to school the old-fashioned way.

Groups of children flocked to Finding Heroes Park on Dorothy Drive in Somonauk, greeting each other and shouting excitedly. ...


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Rogers Park students celebrate Walk to School Day
Thursday, October 07, 2010

by Allison Roy

Rogers Park students and teachers celebrated Walk to School Day Monday and say they don’t always feel kids are safe when they walk to class.

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C U Share The Road Video Premiere (WAND TV)

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Several D300 schools join “Walk to School” movement (School Website)

Head's up drivers: On Oct. 6, there will be more District 300 students hiking to class than usual - and liking it.

Nine D300 schools opted to participate in International Walk to School Day next Wednesday as part of a Kane County Health Department initiative. The participating schools include Carpentersville Middle School, Eastview Elementary, Neubert Elementary, Golfview Elementary, Hampshire Elementary, Liberty Elementary, Parkview Elementary, Perry Elementary, and elementary students at Westfield Community School.

In a letter from the Health Department encouraging D300 schools to join the movement, health officials noted that children born today may live shorter, less healthy lives than their parents and grandparents because too many children are overweight.

"Across Kane County, 1 out of 5 kids are overweight," the executive director wrote. "In some Kane communities that number is an even more alarming 1 out of 3. As these children get older they are more likely to be stricken with diabetes, bone and joint problems, heart disease, and other serious health problems."

For their participation in the "Making Kane County Fit for Kids" project, the Parent-Teacher Organization of each school will receive $250, and D300 will receive $1,000. But more importantly, students and their parents will be urged to consider the importance of exercise, and how it can be easily incorporated into kids' daily lives.

D300 sent home fliers with all students from the participating schools this week to alert them to the special event Oct. 6. The fliers stated, "Help promote healthy living and a clean environment by walking or biking to school. If your family lives too far, consider starting your walk from a park or friend's house closer to the school."



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District 300 students gear up for walk to school (Kane County)
Wednesdy, September 29, 2010

By Larissa Chinwah

Tracey Perez walks her two young children to and from Westfield Community School in Algonquin until snow accumulates on the sidewalk, rendering the half-mile walk from their home treacherous.

The early morning exercise, Perez says, lets the youngsters burn off energy before classes start and helps the environment by taking one car off the road.

Advertisement Next week, the Perez family will join hundreds of other students from Community Unit District 300 who are participating in the International Walk to School Day on Wednesday, Oct. 6. The event, which is part of the "Making Kane County Fit for Kids" project, encourages biking or walking to school to stay strong and healthy, as well as promoting a clean environment.

Students at nine District 300 schools will take part in the event: Carpentersville Middle School, Eastview Elementary, Neubert Elementary, Golfview Elementary, Hampshire Elementary, Liberty Elementary, Parkview Elementary and Perry Elementary. The students will wear green T-shirts to show their support of the environment.

"It is a great opportunity to get involved with something that is international to promote health and the environment," said Perez, president of the Westfield PTO. "There is an obesity problem in this country because kids are not getting sufficient exercise. This is a great way to address those issues." ...



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Stepping up to healthy challenge (Carpentersville and Elgin)
Wednesday, October 6, 2010

CARPENTERSVILLE — “That girl walked to school. Go get her!”

It wasn’t a threat or a schoolyard taunt for a classmate forced to walk to Golfview Elementary School on Wednesday.

It was the rallying cry of fourth-graders Megan Fukala and Melissa Castaneda as they sprinted after arriving students outside the Carpentersville school, their orange Gator Patrol sashes flapping behind them. The two girls handed out Gator Grams — green slips of paper redeemable for prizes — to every student they saw cross the street from the surrounding neighborhood to the school.

Gator Grams were just one of the incentives offered at area schools celebrating International Walk to School Day on Wednesday. ...


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Turnout huge for International Walk to School Day (Kane County)
Thursday October 7, 2010

By KANE COUNTY CHRONICLE

More than 45 schools in eight of Kane County’s nine school districts participated in Wednesday’s International Walk to School Day, according to the Making Kane County Fit for Kids initiative.

That is about one-quarter of the estimated 180 schools that took part statewide. Michael Isaacson, Director of Community Health for the Kane County Health Department, was encouraged by the turnout.

“We are very excited that so many schools, parents and communities came forward to promote active living,” ...

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More Illinois schools do healthy Walk and Roll day (Statewide, Urbana, Metropolis)
October 6, 2010

CHICAGO — It's Walk and Roll to School day and more than 170 schools in Illinois are participating.

That's up from 158 last year.

The international event is held the first Wednesday of October. The idea is to promote active transportation that's better for kids' health and the environment.

Events in Illinois include ...

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Walk and Roll to School Day Celebrated by District 205 Schools: Oct. 6 event encourages students and parents to get out and walk. (Elmhurst)
Wednesday Octoer 6, 2010

Carol Pavlik

It was a clear fall morning Oct. 6 for International Walk to School Day, as students from all Elmhurst elementary and middle schools made their way to school. The initiative highlights the healthy benefits of walking to school, as well as the benefits of alleviating traffic congestion and improving air quality around schools.

Jackson Elementary School, 925 Swain Ave., was one of only six schools in the Chicago area to receive a $500 mini-grant through the Active Transportation Alliance. The funds were designated for Safe-Routes to School/Go Green events at the schools. Jackson held its event on the school lawn at 8:15 a.m. Wednesday, just before the first bell rang. ...



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Urbana mayor declares Oct. 6 Walk to School Day
October 4, 2010

Taylor Goldenstein, staff writer

Urbana will celebrate International Walk to School Day Oct. 6 as declared by Mayor Laurel Prussing at Monday’s regular meeting.

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Champaign Urbana and Decatur Students Walk to School (WCIA TV News)
October 6, 2010

Families across Champaign Urbana traded their wheels for walking shoes.
A group of Martin Luther King Elementary students walked to school Wednesday.
They usually ride the bus.
Instead they joined their teachers and classmates about a block away.
One teacher lead by example...


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Champaign, Urbana Bicycle Education Video Premieres October 5, 2010 (link to video below!)
Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The new locally filmed and edited bicycle education video produced collaboratively with by the cities of Urbana and Champaign (with support from C-U SRTS Project, Champaign County, C-U MTD, and the University of Illinois) is now available on-line for your viewing.

You can find it on the City of Urbana website:
http://www.urbanaillinois.us/CUSTR

Or on youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/user/UPTV6?feature=mhsn#p/a/u/0/m3IsA8XZWko


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Walk to School Day Celebrates National Efforts to Promote More Walkable, Active Communities: Thousands of Events in US Will Recognize the Role Walking and Bicycling to School Can Play in Student Health and Safety
Wednesday, October 6, 2010

CHAPEL HILL, NC — Today, thousands of students, parents and communities representing more than 3,200 schools across America are celebrating the simple act of walking and bicycling to school. It’s International Walk to School Day!

Now in its 13th year, this one-day event in the U.S. is a part of an international effort in more than 40 countries to celebrate the many benefits of safely walking and bicycling to school and to encourage more families to consider getting out of the car and onto their feet on the way to school in October.

Walking and rolling to school also embodies two main goals of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign: to increase our kids’ physical activity and to empower parents to make these kinds of healthy choices.

“Congratulations to all those participating in International Walk to School Day. By walking or biking to school, students, parents, teachers, and administrators all across America are getting active. It also helps kids get a head start on being active for 60 minutes each day, the goal set by the Presidential Active Lifestyle program. I know that by getting students moving, we can help ensure they will live full and healthy lives, and that is why I am so encouraged by all the events going on across our country this month,” said First Lady Michelle Obama.

The National Center for Safe Routes to School, which serves as the clearinghouse for the federal Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program, coordinates online registration efforts and provides technical support and resources for Walk to School Day in the U.S. and facilitates worldwide promotion and participation. Safe Routes to School programs are sustained efforts by parents, schools, community leaders and local, state, and federal governments to improve the health and well-being of children by enabling and encouraging them to walk and bicycle to school. Safe Routes to School activities range from building sidewalks, to getting drivers to slow down in school zones, to encouraging students to take active trips to school with school-wide competitions. On average, at least 50 percent of Walk to School Day events are part of an ongoing SRTS program each year.

“Safe Routes to School is a terrific program to encourage walking and biking to school,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. “Not only does it put the right infrastructure, like sidewalks, in place to help families be safe as they walk and bicycle to school, it also helps them stay active.”

Secretary LaHood will join a group of students in Silver Spring, Maryland, this morning on the walk to school, as a part of Montgomery County’s Walk to School Day celebration.
“I am excited by the variety of government officials who are coming together to support and celebrate Walk to School Day this year,” said U.S. Rep. James L. Oberstar, chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. “I hope this type of national collaboration between the U.S. Department of Transportation and the First Lady’s Let’s Move! campaign signals to communities across the country that together we change the transportation habits of an entire generation of young people, and make the American youth safer, healthier and happier.”

Chairman Oberstar sponsored the Safe Routes to School legislation that strives to create safe settings to enable more parents and children to walk and bicycle to school.
“Walk to School Day is a chance for families to reconnect with a lifestyle that existed before the car became the default mode of transportation, even for short trips,” said Lauren Marchetti, director of the National Center for Safe Routes to School. “We hear stories from across the country about how that first walk or bicycle ride to school encourages a family or a school to keep moving – and that’s the exciting part of the celebration.”

As of Oct. 5 more than 3,200 U.S. schools have registered their local Walk to School Day e

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School district to pursue walking and biking safety grant (Elmhurst)
Monday, October 4, 2010

Annemarie Mannion

More than 400 parents have responded to a survey conducted by Elmhurst School District 205 to learn about the need for sidewalks in Elmhurst, and what may keeping children from walking or biking to school.

The survey asked questions such as whether there are physical barriers that keep children from walking to school and whether children have too much to do after school that prevents them from walking or biking.

The survey is part of an effort seeking a $100,000 grant to improve safety for children walking or biking to school. A survey is required by the National Safe Routes to School program that would supply the grant.

The center seeks to improve safety and encourage more children, including children with disabilities, to walk or bike the school.

Parent Karen Stezowski, who has been working on promoting walking and biking to school, said the survey is a step in the grant process.

“It’s being done to say ‘This is our starting point’ and next year we can say ‘here’s what we did to improve our numbers’ (of children walking or biking to school),” she said. ...



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Pink pavement's fans say gripes are 'petty' (SRTS 2nd item - General Information)
Sunday October 3, 2010

Ken Leiser
...
Walk, bike to school

This Wednesday is International Walk to School Day, and communities across the U.S. hope events like this will help shift the culture away from the car through promotion of walking and bicycling to school.

So how do you get into the swing of walking and do so safely? The Walk to School website, www.walktoschool.org, and several organizations such as Chicago's Active Transportation Alliance provide the following safety tips:

• Reduce the distance if it is too far of a walk to your child's school by finding a spot, say, a quarter- to a half-mile from school that will permit you to park your car while you walk with your child.

• Teach your children traffic safety while walking and bicycling with them. When your child gets older, he or she will be able to put that information to good use and be safer when traveling.

• Teach your child to cross streets at marked crossings and to always look left, then right, and then left again before crossing.
...

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Electronics recycling here to stay in Oak Lawn (SRTS Third Item)
Sunday, October 3, 2010

By Elisabeth Martin

A safe way to school

The reminders near Sward School for drivers to slow down are about to become a lot more adorable.

The school announced this week that Emma Repetny, Anna Corsiatto, Emily Jennings, Rebecca Lipczynski and Rachel Lipczynski presented the winning designs for its "Design-a-Sign" contest. The students' designs will be turned into traffic signs at intersections near the school, asking drivers to put safety first, and will be paid for with a $1,000 Safe Routes to School grant that Sward won last year.

Sward's decision to apply for the grant stemmed from student Nikolas Aggelopoulos' quest to get a sidewalk built along 52nd Avenue to make his walk to school safer. After hearing about the 11-year-old's mission, the nonprofit Active Transportation Alliance contacted Nikolas' mom, Paula, and suggested that the school apply for a Safe Routes to School grant.

Nikolas is still waiting for his sidewalk, but hopefully the signs will make walking and driving to school a little safer for all of Sward's students.


* Sward's grant was awarded as part of the National Center for Safe Routes to School's yearly mini-grant program.

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Grant could help rough Waterloo sidewalks: City, school system seek cash for fixes
Monday, September 27, 2010

Bumpy walking paths of Waterloo, your days could be numbered.

City and School District officials are meeting next month to figure out what sidewalks might be fixed through a state program that improves walking and biking paths to schools.

Funding for the Illinois Safe Routes to School Program comes from the federal government. About $15 million is available statewide.

The money might also pay for training crossing guards or adding speed limit displays. A committee is scheduled to meet this week.

"Those areas where people primarily would walk to school we're looking at first," said school board member Chuck Pittman, who serves on the committee. ...


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Goreville putting kids first, renovating park and sports fields ...
Saturday, September 4, 2010

In 2008 and 2009, Goreville Unit School District 1 was presented with a grant of $247000 by the Illinois Department of Transportation in their “Safe Routes to School” Program. This money will be used to enhance the village ...


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Village board discusses Dunlap Days, new sidewalks
Friday, September 17, 2010

By Chelsea Peck

Chillicothe Times-Bulletin

Dunlap, Ill. — Grants, Dunlap Days, bills and committees, among other items, were discussed at the Dunlap village board meeting Wednesday.

Trustee Sheila Taylor discussed the progress toward the Safe Routes to School Grant, which would put a sidewalk for students walking to and from school on Illinois Route 91 and from French Drive along Legion Hall Road to Dunlap Grade School.

“At this point, I am waiting on approval from the school board. Without support from the school board we can’t proceed with the Safe Routes to School,” Taylor said.

The goal for the committee is to have a travel plan, or route, for the sidewalk submitted by Oct. 15.

Colleen Slane discussed Dunlap Days 2010 and plans for the future. ...



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Parents and students pound the pavement for Walk to School Day (East Moline)
Friday, September 10, 2010

By Nicole Lauer, nlauer@qconline.com

EAST MOLINE — The students shouted "Walk to school!" as their photo was snapped for the school yearbook.

Enthusiasm for walking to school was abundant Friday morning at East Moline's Ridgewood Elementary, where students were challenged to ditch the bus or the car and walk to school. Students held signs celebrating their effort and urging drivers to "stop for pedestrians."

The event was the kick-off for Ridgewood's weekly Walk to School Day that encourages students to walk to school every Wednesday. Starting this week, if a student walks to school every Wednesday for the next five weeks their name will be entered into a drawing for prizes.

The "Walk to School Day" program started in 2009 to encourage students to be physically active and enhance their health and wellness. The initiative is part of the school's Safe Routes to School effort, which includes applying for federal funding to help the school add more sidewalks, implement a "road diet" which would narrow the road to slow down traffic, and make other changes that would make the choice of walking to school safer and easier.

Some Ridgewood students walk daily to school, but many others, such as Adam Franks, said they opted to walk Friday just to get in on all the excitement.

"It's just a special day," Adam said.

Principal Sheri Coder cheered parents and students for breaking their usual routine and hitting the pavement for the event.

"This is a great thing," Ms. Coder said. "It reduces the traffic up here, it saves you gas money. We'd love to have you do this every Wednesday."

Among those aiding in making the special day happen was Diana Johnson, a veteran crossing guard who has crossed students at the busy intersection of 7th Street and 30th Avenue for the past five or six years.

"Hi guys! Wahoo, good job!," Ms. Johnson said as she helped one of many groups across 30th Avenue. "Good morning. OK, there you go. Thanks for walking."

In addition to Ms. Johnson, many other neighbors of the school helped to lead "walking school buses," small groups of students led by an adult or two to ensure parents feel safe letting students make the trek. Also assisting for Friday's kick-off was East Moline Mayor John Thodos, Rock Island County School regional superintendent Jim Widdop, and State Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline.

All three special attendees said they supported the walking effort.

"Kids today need to be encouraged to walk to school," Sen. Jacobs said. "We were forced to walk to school. We didn't have an option."

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Green Works® Naturally Derived Cleaners Teams Up with National Center for Safe Routes to School and Sierra Club to Encourage Families to Walk to School This October; Offering Green Grants to Schools That Get The Most People Walking
Thursday, September 2, 2010

New Green Works® Walk To School Challenge Lets Kids and Their Families Win Some Green While Going Green

Parents everywhere have wistful memories of it. Often uphill. Usually both ways. Now, the makers of Green Works® Naturally Derived Cleaners are teaming up with the National Center for Safe Routes to School to encourage parents to join their kids in this definitive childhood moment.

Walking to school.

October is International Walk to School Month. During the month of October, elementary and middle school students and their families can help their schools win one of five $5,000 grants – simply by walking or bicycling to school. Parents are invited to sign up online for the Walk to School Challenge at www.facebook.com/greenworks, and log their families' walking or bicycling trips on behalf of their school. The five schools with the highest levels of participation will be eligible to win a $5,000 grant. Frequent walkers and bicyclists can also earn individual prizes, ranging from green shoelaces to reusable water bottles.

The Walk to School Challenge comes during a time of increased attention to the sedentary lifestyles of both adults and children throughout America. Walking and bicycling to school provides an easy way for many families to take a step towards more physical activity in their everyday routine. In fact, First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move anti-obesity campaign has repeatedly identified walking to school as an option for children and families to reach the goal of "60 minutes of active and vigorous play every day to grow up to a healthy weight."

The makers of Green Works® are also partnering with the Sierra Club, the oldest and largest environmental organization in the United States, for the Walk to School Challenge. Together, the groups hope to encourage people to use walking and bicycling to school as a simple way to spend more time outdoors and live a more natural lifestyle.
"We are excited to help get more people to take this simple step to a more natural, healthier lifestyle," said Ria Lacher, brand manager for Green Works®. "And while not everyone lives close enough to walk to school every day, we think everyone can find a way to participate. If you live far away, walk together to a bus stop or park a few blocks from your school and walk the rest of the way to campus."
Walk to School Day was founded in 1997 as a way to bring community leaders and children together to build awareness of the need for communities to be more walkable. The one-day event has grown to a month-long celebration that includes millions of participants worldwide. In 2009, students and parents from over 3,500 U.S. schools laced up their sneakers to walk or strapped on their bicycle helmets to pedal to school instead of riding in a car.

"Communities are using walking and bicycling to school as the first step to change their culture and create environments that are more inviting for everyone, young and old," said Lauren Marchetti, director of the National Center for Safe Routes to School. "The Walk to School Challenge is an exciting way to encourage students and families to think about the environmental benefits of making that choice - like fewer idling cars in the drop off lane - and to join together to walk for their school on Walk to School Day and throughout October 2010. Every step counts."

The National Center for Safe Routes to School, the clearinghouse for the federal Safe Routes to School program, coordinates online registration of U.S. Walk to School Day efforts and provides technical support and resources. Walk to School events are a way for schools and communities to build enthusiasm for walking to school, promote the benefits of walking and bicycling, and bring visibility to any safety concerns. Registration of a Walk to School event at www.walktoschool.org or www.facebook.com/greenworks provides access to downloadable materials...

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September is Childhood Obesity Month
Monday, August 16, 2010

At the urging of the National Childhood Obesity Council, on May 31, Congress passed a resolution to declare September Childhood Obesity Month.

For more information, please visit: http://marcialfudge.com/2010/05/house-passes-fudgegranger-resolution-to-designate-september-as-national-childhood-obesity-awareness-month/.

This is a great reason to plan additional SRTS events in September, as a way to continue to educate parents and children on the dangers of and solutions to the problem of childhood obesity and to encourage more active transportation for Illinois' children!

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Walking to School Could Reduce Stress Reactivity in Children and May Curb Risk of Heart Disease, Study Shows
Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A study found a stress reduction for students who walk to school and it may potentially have a longer term cardiovascular health benefit.

Researchers compared heart rate and blood pressure of students who (a) experienced a simulated walk to school against (b) those students who experienced a simulated ride (not on a bicycle!) to school. During a test following these two experiences, heart rate and blood pressure of group b (riders) increased more than group a. Increases in HR and BP can contribute to cardiovascular disease over time.

More information at: http://www.buffalo.edu/news/11622.


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Healthbeat: Bringing communities together to create safe routes to school
Thursday, August 5, 2010

By HEMA LANKA Contributor
Since 1980, the percentage of overweight children has tripled, hitting 34 percent in 2010. Shortened recess time at many schools, combined with children spending more time indoors on videogames and TV, is decreasing the amount of time that children spend being active. As back to school season gets under way, several neighborhoods around the country are gearing up to promote safe walking and bicycle routes to school as a way to increase physical activity.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends that children get 60 minutes of physical activity per day. A daily trip back and forth to school is one way for kids to make physical activity a regular part of their daily routine. In 2006, Congress passed federal transportation legislation that established the national Safe Routes to School program. Several organizations, in partnership with the National Center for Safe Routes to School, are contributing to the cause that target increasing the number of kindergarten through eighth-grade students that can walk or ride their bike to school.

In Chicago, the National Center for Safe Routes to School is preparing for the annual celebration of International Walk or Bike to School Day. On that day, Safe Routes Ambassadors will designate one local elementary school to host the day's safety education programs. Locally, the Hinsdale, La Grange, Willow Springs communities received funding through the Illinois Safe Routes to School Program. The following benefits are top motivators for parents to consider making that choice for their children:

• Preparation for a healthy, active lifestyle

• Opportunity for social interaction for kids AND parents

• Opportunity to learn and exercise responsibility

Since 1969, the number of students that walk or ride their bike to school has fallen from 62 percent to under 16 percent. The biggest factor contributing to this decrease is the increase in automobile traffic and congested intersections. Many parents are concerned about letting their children walk or bike to school when they have to cross busy intersections, or use crosswalks that are not easily visible to drivers. In order for walking or biking to school to be a viable option for students, their environment needs to be safe.

To address this issue, the National Center for Safe Routes to School is working with the highway and transportation authorities in several states to fund infrastructure projects that will create a safer environment for pedestrians and bikers. These projects include repairing and building new sidewalks, installing traffic lights, and assigning trained crossing guards to help students across busy intersections.

Parents still concerned about their child's safety on the way to school can also participate in other innovative solutions such as the Walking School Bus. The Walking School Bus consists of one or more adults that walk along with a group of children on the way to school. For student bicyclists, there is also a Walking Bicycle Train that follows a similar arrangement with one or more adults riding along with the students to school.

For those interested in implementing a Safe Route to School partnership in their own neighborhood, the National Center for Safe Routes to School has outlined the following seven basic steps for success... (go to link for rest of article).

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New Law: Drivers must STOP for pedestrians in crosswalks
July 22, 2010

Earlier today, Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law HB 43, which requires drivers to come to a complete stop for pedestrians in all crosswalks – even those that don’t have a stop sign or traffic light.

The law, which takes effect immediately, clarifies the law that, until now, required drivers to yield and stop “only when necessary.” This measure will save lives and help prevent thousands of serious injuries people suffer each year.

Please spread the word! Drivers in Illinois must stop for pedestrians in crosswalks.


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New resource about involving students with disabilities in SRTS programs
Thursday, July 29, 2010

In June, the National Center released a new resource about involving students with disabilities in SRTS programs. This resource is intended to help SRTS organizers include and accommodate children with disabilities in SRTS. It discusses practical strategies for involving students with disabilities in SRTS, and provides examples of schools that have done so effectively.
The resource can be accessed at http://www.saferoutesinfo.org/resources/collateral/Involving_students_with_disability_web.pdf.


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Congratulations to the City of Urbana - a Bicycle Friendly Community
Monday, July 19, 2010

The City of Urbana is proud to announce that we were named a Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) by the League of American Bicyclists in May of 2010. Andy Clarke, League President, said “Communities from all areas of the country, climates and populations see bicycling as an integral component of building livable communities. The Bicycle Friendly Community program is recognizing those leading the way.”

The Urbana Champaign community has also been very active in Safe Routes to School. For more information about the events held this weekend, please visit:

http://urbanaillinois.us/BFC


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Call for 2010 James L. Oberstar Safe Routes to School Award Applications
Thursday, July 8, 2010

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (July 8, 2010) – Applications are now being accepted for the 2010 James L. Oberstar Safe Routes to School Award. The 2010 Award will recognize outstanding achievement by a school or community in conducting a SRTS program that has greatly improved the safety or increased the number of elementary and/or middle school students walking and bicycling to school.

The James L. Oberstar Safe Routes to School Award recognizes Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs for outstanding achievement in improving the health and well-being of an entire generation of school children. The award is given annually by the National Center for Safe Routes to School to an exemplary SRTS program in the United States.
Applications can be submitted by individuals or organizations such as schools, local SRTS programs, community organizations, local governmental departments, state SRTS coordinators, SRTS advocates, state Departments of Transportation, Governor's Highway Safety Offices, FHWA Division representatives, and NHTSA Regional Offices. The application deadline is Wednesday, August 4.

For more information and an application, visit http://www.saferoutesinfo.org/news_room/oberstar_award/oberstar_award_instructions.cfm.

About the James L. Oberstar Safe Routes to School Award
The Safe Routes to School Award is named for Congressman James L. Oberstar, current Chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, in order to honor his dedication to America’s school children. During Chairman Oberstar’s 35 years as a member of Congress, he has shaped the nation’s surface transportation policies to support and encourage walking and bicycling as important alternatives to motorized transportation. As a champion of the SRTS program, Chairman Oberstar built bipartisan support to secure its inclusion in the 2005 Federal transportation bill named Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). SAFETEA-LU included $612 million over five years for SRTS programs in the 50 States and the District of Columbia. These federal funds are administered by each state’s Department of Transportation.

Each year, the James L. Oberstar Safe Routes to School Award recognizes a particular type of accomplishment. In 2009, Ben W. Murch Elementary School (Washington, D.C.) received the award in recognition for excellence in building community support and infrastructure for safe walking and bicycling to school. In 2008, Bear Creek Elementary School (Boulder, Colo.) was recognized for outstanding achievement in increasing the number of students who safely walked or bicycled to school during the entire school year. Both winners were able to achieve their successes as part of a SRTS program that benefited from federal SRTS funding. The Michigan Department of Transportation received the 2007 award in recognition of outstanding achievement in establishing a state SRTS program.


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Belleville sets the stage for breaching century-old dam (Signal Hill Elementary Trail)
Monday, June 14, 2010

BY MIKE FITZGERALD - News-Democrat

BELLEVILLE -- City officials are leaning toward a plan to breach the decaying, century-old dam at Peterson Pond near Signal Hill Elementary School before the end of the summer.

Once the dam is breached and drained into nearby Powder Creek, then the city can finally access a nearly $250,000 state grant to build a biking and walking trail between the school and Foley Drive.

The Belleville City Council has already set the stage for the dam's breaching with its awarding last week of a $13,900 contract to Hoelscher Engineering, of Fairview Heights.

The firm has been hired to perform a hydraulic study to determine the plan for draining the pond and turning it into a stormwater retention basin.

The study is moving on a "very, very aggressive" schedule so that its findings can be shared by June 24 with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, plus leaders of the city and nearby townships, as well as the Signal Hill Neighborhood Association, said Gary Hoelscher, the firm's president.

"It's a very fast-track project, but it's plausible to get it done by early fall of this year," Hoelscher said.

Once a plan is decided upon, the project won't be that complicated, he said.

"You're fully draining a lake and putting in culverts," Hoelscher said. "It's stuff we can get done in time so they can keep their grant."

An estimate made more than a decade ago had put the price at $200,000 for breaching the dam and draining the 6.5 million-gallon pond into nearby Powder Creek.

No plan, however, has been decided on how to pay for the dam's breaching and for the installation of drainage pipes. The hope is that some of the cost will be picked up by Stookie and Centreville townships, Hoelscher said.

Last August, the city won a nearly $250,000 grant through the Illinois Department of Transportation's Safe Routes to School program to build the trail and install a traffic signal.

The idea is to keep Signal Hill School District 181 students who bike and walk to school off busy streets, including the hilly, twisty Superior Drive, which runs parallel to the proposed trail.

But the trail's construction was delayed after the Signal Hill Neighborhood Association objected to the trail having a crossing on the dam, which the Illinois Department of Natural Resources declared a Class 1 flood hazard nearly 20 years ago because of its decaying status.

Now the city faces a deadline of December to start the trail or otherwise risk losing the Safe Routes grant, said Barb Ducey, the neighborhood association president.

"The city's leading the charge here, but they have a lot to do," Ducey said.

Even so, with the awarding of the $13,900 contract to Hoelscher, "We at least have a starting point right now," she said.





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Long-awaited sidewalks greeted with celebration (Niles)
Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A "welcoming committee" helped Franklin Elementary School in Park Ridge celebrate the completion of new sidewalks near the school on June 4.

Students walking to school that morning were greeted by Park Ridge-Niles School District 64 Superintendent Sally Pryor, Franklin Principal Dan Walsh, Park Ridge City Engineer Sarah Mitchell, Park Ridge City Manager Jim Hock, and 2nd Ward Alderman Rick DiPietro.

» Click to enlarge image

Tricia Edelstein and her second-grader daughter, Aliyah, are greeted by 2nd Ward Alderman Rich Dipietro on their way to Franklin School on June 4. District 64 celebrated the opening of new sidewalks on Dee Road and a welcoming committee greeted them on their way to school.
(Curtis Lehmkuhl/Staff Photographer)

» Click to enlarge image

Tammy Macahon and her second-grader son, Sean, walk to Franklin School on June 4. District 64 celebrated the official opening of new sidewalks on Dee Road near the school.

The sidewalks, funded through a $400,000 federal "Safe Routes to School" program grant, were installed along both sides of Dee Road between Manor Lane and Farrell Avenue. According to District 64, the sidewalks, which previously did not exist near the school, will make it easier and safer for students to walk or ride their bikes. The sidewalks will also provide a safe access to Northwest Park which is heavily used by youth sports groups and families, the district said.

For the 2010-11 school year, Principal Dan Walsh is planning to develop a "walking school bus" to encourage more students to take advantage of the new sidewalks and walk to school.



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Sward Elementary School’s Student Council (Oak Lawn, Ill.) Wins National SRTS Grant
Tuesday, June 1, 2010

National Center for Safe Routes to School
Announces 34 Fall 2010 Mini-grant Recipients

Selected Communities Use Creative Approaches to Encourage
Safe Walking and Bicycling to School

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (June 1, 2010) - The National Center for Safe Routes to School announced today the selection of 34 recipients to receive $1,000 mini-grants for projects designed to encourage safe walking and bicycling to school. The mini-grant activities, many of which are driven by student leadership, will occur during the fall semester of the 2010-2011 school year.

“The innovation and creativity of the mini-grant applications we received are impressive,” said Lauren Marchetti, director of the National Center for Safe Routes to School. “The projects addressed a variety of local issues and concerns — truancy, tardiness, environmental effects of vehicle idling, student health, school zone safety — all of which illustrate the diverse approaches communities are taking to create successful walking and bicycling to school programs.”

Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs are sustained efforts by parents, schools, community leaders and local, state, and federal governments to improve the health and well-being of children by enabling and encouraging them to walk and bicycle to school. The National Center, which serves as the clearinghouse for the federal SRTS program, received 375 SRTS mini-grant applications from schools and community organizations in 44 states. Selected proposals distinguished themselves through their commitment and creative approaches to increase safe walking and bicycling to school.

Proposed mini-grant activities identified ways SRTS programs can positively target physical activity, environmental benefits, personal safety and community building efforts. Reducing the practice of distracted driving was another focus of several recipients. Many of the projects were designed to ensure that students are involved in every step of the SRTS programs, from planning to implementation. For example, some students will be writing letters to city council members to request sidewalks, and others will be designing and promoting “no phone zone” campaigns to their peers and parents.

“These mini-grant recipients demonstrate how important it is to tailor Safe Routes to School efforts to the unique needs of each community,” continued Marchetti. “The community and student leadership recognized here strengthen SRTS efforts across the country and set the stage for truly livable communities in the future.”

The selected 34 mini-grant recipient organization programs and activities include:

Sward Elementary School’s Student Council (Oak Lawn, Ill.) will sponsor a Safe Routes to School campaign. As part of the campaign, students will design signs to encourage safer driving behaviors. Up to four designs will be chosen and permanently mounted on school property. Families will also be encouraged to safely walk and/or bicycle to school for two full weeks in the fall of 2010. Families that successfully complete this challenge will be recognized for their efforts.

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City, schools join forces for safe routes (Braidwood)
Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Marney Simon
Staff writer

The state of Illinois has opened up grant funding for the federally funded Safe Routes to School Program. Now, the city of Braidwood and the Reed-Custer School district will team up to try to obtain some of those needed monies.

"[City Finance Director] Lisa Heglund and [Reed-Custer Director of Operations] Jim King are getting ready to talk to each other," Braidwood Finance Commissioner George Rozak announced on May 11. "They're going to work together on the project for second and third street sidewalks. [Funds] have just been opened up by the state here in the past few days."

Heglund said that when it comes to the needed projects, the city will do whatever it can to get their hands on as much money as is available.

"We'll try for as much as we can," Heglund said. "You're limited to how many projects you can apply for, and each street might be considered a project."

Heglund said that she and King would work together to identify the projects most needed.

The Illinois Safe Routes to School Program is a federally funded program administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). Safe Routes supports projects and programs that enable and encourage walking and bicycling to and from school. The program applies to schools serving grades kindergarten through eighth grade.

Illinois will be able to award at least $7 million in grant money throughout the state as part of the program's 2010 cycle.

Read more this week in the Braidwood Journal.


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Neither snow nor rain nor lousy drivers on cell phones ...
Tuesday, May 18, 2010

By Burt Constable - Daily Herald Columnist

While trying to explain the allure of working as a school crossing guard, Jan Stiefvater keeps getting interrupted by living examples of why she has spent the last quarter-century doing it.

"Hi, Jan," calls Rich Busch, a 26-year-old man who grew up across the street from Thomas Dooley Elementary School in Schaumburg. He was just a kindergarten kid when he got chickenpox near the end of the school year. His mom, Gloria Busch, recalls how she was scheduled to work at that year's annual Field Day school party, but couldn't leave her little boy home alone. She knew she could count on Stiefvater.

"I brought out the lawn chairs and they sat right there," Busch says, pointing to the spot in the driveway where Stiefvater kept the itchy boy company. "We're going to miss her."

While making sure that kids cross the street safely in all kinds of weather is all that is required of a crossing guard, Stiefvater, 63, says her gig "is really a community affair." The daughter of legendary suburban football star and coach Bill Beckman, Stiefvater says, "That was kind of in me, the community thing, kind of the old-time, small-town thing."

Stiefvater brings that spirit to her job as a crossing guard.

"She's known about every loose tooth," says mom Julie Alley, as she picks up her daughter, Danielle, 6, whose big gap in her smile for the crossing guard backs up her mom's story. When the Alleys mentioned a desire to vacation in Boston, Stiefvater showed up the next day with travel books, maps and ideas about where to go in Boston.

"She's wonderful," Alley says.

"We look at that job as you sit in your car and cross the kids, but she's impacted our lives in a big way," says Susan McManus, a neighborhood mom for three decades who still swings by occasionally to chat about life even though her daughter just turned 30. "She is part of the 'village' that helped me raise my child and the children I cared for in my in-home day care."

Stiefvater's husband, Scott, retired in 2004 from his career as a teacher at Schaumburg High School. Their children, Becky (now a teacher at Fremd High School in Palatine) and Eric (now a Schaumburg police officer), were young when their Everett Dirksen Elementary School was down one crossing guard.

"Gosh, I'm here," figured Stiefvater, who already was a room mom and active in the PTA. "I'll just help out until they find somebody."

Trained by Schaumburg police, Stiefvater moved to Dooley after a couple of years and will retire from there at the end of the school year. The school will honor her with an after-school ceremony on May 27.

"I know that her being there has made everyone safer," says Principal Marion Friebus-Flaman. "We consider her a part of our school community. A lot of the parents just love her."

That outpouring of gratitude and affection is what community activist Maryann Romanelli of Hinsdale had in mind when she got Illinois to recognize the first Tuesday in May as Crossing Guard Appreciation Day. Romanelli remembers how she thought it would be a snap to step into the job when her local octogenarian crossing guard was sick one week.

"You have a different perception when the cars are coming at you, and you are trying to make eye contact (with drivers) and they are on the cell phone," Romanelli says. "I have to tell you it was one of the scariest things I've done. People driving around you when you are in the middle of the road with your stop sign up. People driving fast on wet roads."

With the emphasis on the increase in fitness and reduction in pollution that comes when kids walk to schools, more and more communities are realizing the value of a crossing guard, says Megan Holt Swanson, Illinois Department of Transportation's Safe Routes to School Coordinator. While her department funds safety improvements such as curbs and signs, a good crossing guard can be a life-s

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Capital projects get a boost from state, federal grants (Park Ridge)
Wednesday, May 12, 2010

By JENNIFER JOHNSON jjohnson@pioneerlocal.com
State and federal grants are helping the city of Park Ridge pay for $1.5 million worth of capital projects during the 2010-11 fiscal year.

The city's capital budget totals $8.1 million, an increase of $520,100 over the 2009-10 fiscal year. But because of the grant proceeds, city funds will pay for $6.6 million in projects, a decrease of $964,900 from the previous year's capital plan.

The grants will cover new sidewalks, street improvements, repairs and a beautification design project.

A $400,000 Safe Routes to School grant paid for the construction of sidewalks along the east and west sides of Dee Road between Manor Lane and Farrell Avenue, giving Franklin Elementary School students a place to walk to and from school. The project is nearly complete.

Safe Routes to School is a program geared toward increasing the number of children who walk or bike to school by funding projects that allow this to occur.

...

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PEDESTRIAN SAFETY STEPS UP WITH PASSAGE OF HB 43
April 29, 2010

Advocates for safe and accessible transportation are celebrating the Illinois Assembly’s passage of HB 43, a measure that will drastically improve pedestrian safety in Illinois.

The bill, championed by Sen. Heather Steans and Rep. Luis Arroyo, will require drivers to come to a complete stop for pedestrians in all crosswalks – even those that are unmarked or don’t have a stop sign or traffic light.

Until now, Illinois law required drivers to yield and stop only when necessary. That language has lead to confusion among drivers and pedestrians, and it’s made enforcement difficult.

The bill now moves to Gov. Pat Quinn’s desk for his approval. The law will go into affect immediately after he signs the bill.

The Active Transportation Alliance – Chicagoland’s voice for better biking, walking and transit¬ – worked for nearly two years earning support for this important measure. Key advocacy efforts came from the group’s members, the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police and pediatricians the Metropolitan Planning Council. Unique to this list was the support from an active group of students at Curie Metropolitan High School

“Illinois has taken a major step toward creating safer streets and prioritizing people on our roads,” said Rob Sadowsky, executive director of the Active Transportation Alliance. “I congratulate the General Assembly for taking this bold and important step. Our leaders have made walking a more convenient and safer option. That means safer streets for a large population of people who are unable to drive or choose not to drive.”

Illinois joins dozens of states with similar laws, including California and Massachusetts. Until this bill’s approval, Illinois required drivers to yield and stop only when necessary. This law clarifies driver responsibility and makes it easier for police to enforce the law.

More than 6,000 pedestrians are hit in Illinois each year, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. Those crashes resulted in more than 1,000 serious injuries and 170 fatalities a year.

The Active Transportation Alliance is a non-profit, member-based advocacy organization that works to make bicycling, walking and public transit so safe, convenient and fun that we will achieve a significant shift from environmentally harmful, sedentary travel to clean, active travel. The organization builds a movement around active transportation, encourages physical activity, increases safety and builds a world-class transportation network. Formerly the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, the Active Transportation Alliance is North America’s largest transportation advocacy organization, supported by more than 6,000 members, 1,000 volunteers and 35 full-time staff. For more information on the Active Transportation Alliance, visit www.activetrans.org or call 312.427.3325.

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Registration Open for Walk to School 2010
April 22, 2010

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (April 22, 2010) — Registration is now open for Walk to School 2010, an international event where communities from over 40 countries join together to walk and bicycle to school. International Walk to School Day is Wednesday, October 6, 2010.

Registration is free and available to individuals and/or organizations holding a 2010 Walk to School event in the U.S. Events that register on the Walk to School Web site, www.walktoschool.org/register, will be displayed on an interactive U.S. map on the Web site, where neighboring communities, media and other organizations can identify who is walking in their area. In 2009, Walk to School participation reached a record high of 3,369 registered events.

Registering a Walk to School event provides organizers access to a variety of downloadable materials, including event ideas, certificates, flyers and a frequent walker punch card. Registrants can also subscribe to receive a weekly e-newsletter for six weeks in September and October with tips and resources on holding a Walk to School event.
For more information on Walk to School activities in the U.S., visit www.walktoschool.org. To view 2009 photos, visit www.iwalktoschool.org/photos/index.htm.

The National Center for Safe Routes to School serves as the national coordinating agency for Walk to School activities in the U.S. For more information, visit www.saferoutesinfo.org.


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School Safety Patrol Celebrates 90th Anniversary
Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Celebrating its 90th anniversary in 2010, the AAA School Safety Patrol Program™ is the largest safety program in the world, equipping patrollers with the skills and resources needed to ensure children commute to and from school safely.

This community program includes more than 562,000 patrollers in 30,000 schools nationwide who dedicate their time to ensure students are safe. The patroller duties are a valuable contribution to reductions in pedestrian injuries and fatalities.

Click on the title of this news item to view a newsletter about this event!

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New SRTS Online Resource for Law Enforcement Officers
Tuesday, April 13, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C.-- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced today the launch of a new web-based resource for law enforcement officers. The Safe Routes to School for Law Enforcement Web site, www.saferoutesinfo.org/lawenforcement, provides tips, tools and other materials to help law enforcement officers get involved in Safe Routes to School (SRTS), a national effort to enable and encourage children to safely walk and bike to school.

The new Web site, which is hosted and maintained by the National Center for Safe Routes to School, is designed to aid officers and law enforcement agencies in local SRTS efforts. The resource includes a wide variety of tools, such as:

• Tips for law enforcement officers on walking and bicycling safety,
• Take away materials for students, parents, school staff, and others,
• Talking points on bicycle and pedestrian safety,
• Tips on addressing parental concerns,
• Links to related sites for resource materials, and
• Activities for children.

The participation of law enforcement agencies in SRTS is critical. First, law enforcement professionals command the attention of the public and audiences. Second, involvement of law enforcement enhances engineering and education efforts to provide a more comprehensive SRTS program and a greater likelihood of ensuring safe behaviors among pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists.

Participation in SRTS activities also provides the opportunity for law enforcement to engage in positive interaction with the public and enhance their image in the community.

For more information, visit www.saferoutesinfo.org/lawenforcement.


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Information on Walking and Biking Levels from the 2009 National Household Travel Survey Released
April 8, 2010

U.S. TRAVEL DATA SHOW
DECLINE IN WALKING AND BICYCLING TO SCHOOL HAS STABILIZED

Safe Routes to School Programs Encourage Active, Safe Trips to School

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. and BOULDER, Colo. (April 8, 2010) - First lady Michelle Obama has issued a nationwide challenge to solve the epidemic of childhood obesity within a generation. Walking and bicycling to school are great steps families can take to get America’s kids moving, and new national data show how much work remains to get children out of the car and on to their feet or bikes.

New national travel data show that the decline in rates of walking and bicycling to school has stabilized. However, children are still overwhelmingly arriving at school in their parents’ cars, a significant reversal from four decades ago.

According to the 2009 National Household Travel Survey (NHTS), a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) effort to collect data on travel by the American public, 13 percent of children five to 14 years old usually walked or biked to school compared with 48 percent of students in 1969. Conversely, 12 percent of children arrived at school by private automobile in 1969, and, by 2009, this number increased to 44 percent. Rates of school bus ridership to school over this same 40-year span showed the least change, increasing from 38 to 40 percent. (Figure 1)

While long-term trends demonstrate a decline in walking and bicycling to school, preliminary analysis of 2009 NHTS travel diary data reveals the percent of five through 14-year olds walking and bicycling to school in the U.S. has remained stable at about 12 percent over the last 15 years. (Figure 2) This is hopeful news for Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs – sustained efforts by parents, schools, community leaders and local, state, and federal governments to improve the health and well-being of children by enabling and encouraging them to walk and bicycle to school.

“There is a real opportunity to change the car culture and make school campuses less congested if more of the parents who are driving shorter distances let their children walk or bike to school, and those who driving further distances let their children ride school buses,” said Lauren Marchetti, director of the National Center for Safe Routes to School. “Encouraging this type of change in families’ school transportation habits, a goal of the Safe Routes to School program, helps communities reestablish school campuses as the safe, healthy, student-focused learning environment they are intended to be.”

When measuring trips to school of one mile or less, a distance considered easily walkable and bikable for most students, 38 percent of five to 14-year old students reported usually walking and bicycling to school in 2009, compared to 88 percent of students in 1969. The percent of children who live within a mile of school decreased by 10 percentage points, from 41percent in 1969 to 31 percent today. (Figure 3) This population living in relative close proximity to school represents an area of potential growth of the SRTS program.

“These new data show that we still have a lot of work ahead to get more children walking and bicycling to school. There is so much momentum across the country to get children more physically active and healthy. We must ensure that Congress provides additional funding so that more schools can benefit from Safe Routes to School funds to make the necessary safety improvements,” noted Deb Hubsmith, director of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership. “In addition, we must work together with school systems to site schools near the children they serve, so that distance will no longer be such a barrier to making the active choice for the trip to school.”

Complete press release and graphs available at our FAQ page.

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APRIL IS NATIONAL DISTRACTED DRIVING AWARENESS MONTH
Wednesday, March 24, 2010

HOUSE PASSES MARKEY RESOLUTION NAMING APRIL NATIONAL DISTRACTED DRIVING AWARENESS MONTH

-- WASHINGTON--

The U.S. House of Representatives today passed H.Res. 1186 by a vote of 410 to 2. Authored by Congresswoman Betsy Markey, the resolution will designate the month of April as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The resolution encourages all Americans to consider the lives of others on the road and put an end to distracted driving.

Here are a few links for more information:
http://www.tmcnet.com/usubmit/2010/03/24/4691375.htm
http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/focusdriven-applauds-us-house-passage-of-resolution-to-designate-april-as-national-distracted-driving-awareness-month-89532787.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_XirRG_6A8


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Study to examine school traffic (Danville)
Friday, March 12, 2010

BY JENNIFER BAILEY

DANVILLE — Danville Area Transportation Study officials are close to finalizing a request for proposals for its proposed School Zone Traffic Circulation Study.

Thursday’s DATS meeting was canceled due to the lack of a confirmed committee member quorum. The next DATS policy committee meeting will be April 8.

DATS Director Adam Aull said the project outline is being finalized and City Engineer David Schnelle will soon release the request for proposals to conduct the study.

The study area for the project encompasses four District 118 schools: Danville High School and North Ridge Middle School on Jackson Street, Edison Elementary at Winter Avenue and Vermilion Street and East Park Elementary School on Colfax Drive off of Fairchild Street. Previous discussions included adding Schlarman High School.

Mayor Scott Eisenhauer said it’s not being included because the state is planning to do a study at Winter Avenue and Vermilion Street and because Schlarman does not yet have an outline of new school traffic patterns.

A traffic circulation study around Cannon Elementary School on Main Street also likely will be completed in the future.

The study’s purpose is to review current traffic patterns during school operating hours and determine how to solve congestion, safety and access issues. Solutions for through traffic, bus staging and student pick-up will be developed.

The project will be completed during fiscal year 2011. Funding, estimated at $54,500 for consulting fees, will come from DATS.

DATS is funded by 80 percent federal transportation planning funds. The funds require a local 20 percent match by the lead agency for a project, whether it is Danville, Tilton or another government agency.

Eisenhauer said the city’s matching funds already are built into the annual DATS budget as part of the normal 20 percent required match.

No additional funding is requested or required for this school traffic study.

Aull said $4,500 will be spent this fiscal year to kick off the study, with the remaining funds spent in fiscal year 2011.

DATS officials could look at study proposals in late May or June.

“(The study) goes back to the (discussions about the) Jackson corridor rebuild and shared-use path along it,” Aull said.

There are traffic and pedestrian and bus congestion issues around the school campuses along there.

“We can help students and traffic and tie safe routes to school into there …,” Aull said.

The study ties into the Safe Routes to School programs.

The current focus schools: Edison and North Ridge in Danville and Pine Crest Elementary School in Georgetown-Ridge Farm Unit 4.

Safe Routes to School programs examine conditions around schools and conduct projects and activities to improve safety and reduce traffic and air pollution in the vicinity of schools.

The programs help make bicycling and walking to school safer and more appealing transportation choices.

Estimated cost for staff and materials: $23,162. DATS is serving as the lead agency.



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Apps for Healthy Kids Competition Open Now (Ends on June 30, 2010, at 5:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time)
Thursday, March 11, 2010

As part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign, a new competition has just launched with $40,000 in prizes. It’s called the Apps for Healthy Kids competition.

Here’s a description of the competition:
“The competition challenges software developers, game designers, students, and other innovators to develop fun and engaging tools and games that drive children, especially “tweens” (ages 9-12) – directly or through their parents – to eat better and be more physically active.”

We would love to see some winning apps related to Safe Routes to School. For example, I would love to see a Federally-sponsored tool for tracking mileage contests. But I’m sure there are lots of great potential ways this contest could help SRTS programs.

Here’s the website for more information:
http://www.appsforhealthykids.com/

Ends on June 30, 2010, at 5:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time ("EDT")

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Safe Routes to School $1,000 Mini-grant Call for Applications (Due April 7, 2010)
Friday, February 26, 2009

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (February 26, 2010) -- The National Center for Safe Routes to School is now accepting applications for up to 35 $1,000 mini-grants for creative, youth-focused ideas that support safe walking and/or bicycling to school. Eligible activities must occur at an elementary or middle school in Fall 2010 and support the overall goal of Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs -- to enable and encourage children nationwide to safely walk and bicycle to school.

"Communities across the country are finding new ways to make it safer for children to walk and bicycle to school," says Lauren Marchetti, director of the National Center for Safe Routes to School. "These mini-grants encourage communities to get students involved in the effort to foster a culture of walking and bicycling in their own neighborhoods and schools."

The National Center's SRTS mini-grant program, now in its second award cycle, supports creative ideas that support safe walking and/or bicycling to school and are youth-focused. Successful applications will focus on either increasing safe walking and/or bicycling to school or improving the safety of students already walking and/or bicycling to school. Activities may also explore a variety of issues related to SRTS, including physical activity and environmental benefits, distracted driving, personal safety, integrating children with disabilities and community building. Mini-grant activities with high levels of age-appropriate student engagement are encouraged.

Mini-grant applications are available now at www.saferoutesinfo.org/minigrants. Applications are due Wed., April 7, 2010, and recipients will be announced by Wed., May 26, 2010.

For more information, visit www.saferoutesinfo.org/minigrants.

About the National Center for Safe Routes to School
Since its creation in 2006, the National Center for Safe Routes to School has assisted communities in enabling and encouraging children to safely walk and bicycle to school. The National Center offers training and resources to assist communities in successful SRTS program development, and funding the mini-grants extends that mission.

The National Center is maintained by the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center with funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. For additional information about the National Center for Safe Routes to School, go to www.saferoutesinfo.org.



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Applications available for EPA Smart Growth Implementation Assistance (SGIA) program - Deadline April 9, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2010

2010 Smart Growth Implementation Assistance

EPA is accepting applications for its annual Smart Growth Implementation Assistance (SGIA) program. The SGIA program is an annual, competitive solicitation open to state, local, regional, and tribal governments (and non-profits that have partnered with a governmental entity) that want to incorporate smart growth techniques into their future development.

Once selected, communities receive direct technical assistance from a team of national experts in one of two areas: policy analysis (e.g., reviewing state and local codes, school siting guidelines, transportation policies, etc.) or public participatory processes (e.g., visioning, design workshops, alternative analysis, build-out analysis, etc.). The assistance is tailored to the community's unique situation and priorities. EPA provides the assistance through a contractor team – not a grant. Through a multiple-day site visit and a detailed final report, the multi-disciplinary teams provide information to help the community achieve its goal of encouraging growth that fosters economic progress and environmental protection.

Applications are being accepted through April 9, 2010. Details are available at the link below.


Resource: http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/sgia.htm


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National Center for Safe Routes to School Releases Baseline Report on Student Travel Modes
January 2010

National Center for Safe Routes to School announces the release of a new national report on Safe Routes to School
(SRTS) travel data. The report, entitled Safe Routes to School Travel
Data: A Look at Baseline Results from Parent Surveys and Student Travel Tallies, provides a summary of school travel data that local SRTS programs throughout the United States collected from April 2007 to May 2009.

The full press release is available at
www.saferoutesinfo.org/news_room/2010-02-04_srts_baseline_report.cfm

The full report is available at
www.saferoutesinfo.org/resources/travel_data_reports.cfm

** *KEY FINDINGS INCLUDE:*
- Distance to school is strongly associated with how children get to and from school. The proportion of children walking or bicycling to school is much greater among those who live closer to school.
- Across all grades, the family car and school bus were the two most frequently used options for travel to/from school. Walking was third.
However, there are notable differences between how students in lower grades (K-5th) and higher grades (6th-8th) travel to school.
- Safety factors, like traffic speed and volume and street crossing safety, were frequently selected as barriers by parents who live within one half mile of school but do not allow their children to walk or bicycle to/from school.

The baseline results provide useful information about student travel for the schools in the sample, many of which likely just began their SRTS activities, and highlight issues for the national SRTS program to address and promote. Over 130,000 parent responses and almost 2.4 million student trips to or from elementary and middle schools were included in the aggregate analysis. In order to examine information most likely to reflect the starting point for schools before or soon after their SRTS activities began, the analysis only includes each school’s first submission of data.


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Alliance for Biking and Walking Releases Report: "Bicycling and Walking in the U.S.: 2010 Benchmarking Report"
January 2010

Bicycling and Walking in the U.S.: 2010 Benchmarking Report is an essential resource and tool for government officials, advocates, and those working to promote bicycling and walking. The Benchmarking Project is an on-going effort to collect and analyze data on bicycling and walking in all 50 states and the 51 largest U.S. cities. This second biennial report reveals data including: bicycling and walking levels and demographics; bicycle and pedestrian safety; bicycle and pedestrian policies and provisions; funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects; bicycle and pedestrian staffing levels; written policies on bicycling and walking; bicycle infrastructure including bike lanes, paths, signed bike routes, and bicycle parking; bike-transit integration including presence of bike racks on buses, bike parking at transit stops; bicycling and walking education and encouragement activities; and public health indicators including levels of obesity, physical activity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. The report is full of data tables and graphs so you can see how your state or city stacks up. Inside you will find unprecedented statistics to help support your case for increasing safe bicycling and walking in your community. Bicycling and Walking in the U.S.: 2010 Benchmarking Report was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and made possible through the additional support of Bikes Belong and Planet Bike.

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North Pekin project nears completion
Thursday, February 11, 2010

By Tara Mattimoe
Pekin Daily Times

N. PEKIN, Ill. -
It’s taken awhile, but North Pekin is at last nearing the end of the Elm and Lee Streets improvements that were started three years ago.

The project was a major undertaking for the small community (population 1,671), and was planned carefully, said Village President Steve Flowers. The infrastructure for the new street sections — including water lines and storm sewers — was laid two years ago and given time to settle before further work was done. City officials wanted to make sure there were “no problems” before they continued, Flowers said.

The framework remained solid through the changing of the seasons, Flowers said, and last summer the city resurfaced and paved the entire lengths of Elm and Lee Streets. They also constructed new curbs, gutters, and water mains, said Flowers.

All that is left now, Flowers said, is to finish the sidewalks along the streets. The base for the sidewalks was set last year, he said, but they are waiting until school is out for the summer before they pour the concrete.

“They’ll go down in early June. Otherwise we’ll have names and handprints all over our brand-new sidewalks,” he said.

Upgrades to Lee and Elm Streets were an afterthought to the federal Safe Routes to School Grant the village received three years ago, said board member Alex Lambie. The $200,000 grant, created to increase student safety as they walk to and from school, paid for the construction of the Lee and Elm Street sidewalks, said Lambie.

Once North Pekin received that grant, the village board decided it was as good a time as ever to take the plunge and upgrade the streets, he said.

The board estimated the roadwork would cost $2.5 million, Lambie said, but they ended up coming in at about $2 million instead. The funds came partly from a $1 million revolving loan the village holds with a local bank, he said, and the rest gradually came out of the village’s general fund.

Lambie said the new roadways should help immensely with storm water runoff and land erosion problems, as the new constructions channel water more effectively.

Community feedback for the new roads has been nothing but positive, Lambie said.

“The general consensus of people who use the streets has been very happy,” he said.

“The safety of the roads, with the new curbs and no more sharp drop-offs, is definitely improved.

And I’m sure those parents with kids walking to school are happy, too. They were having to walk on the blacktop before,” Lambie said.

In addition to the sidewalks, the village may have to reseed some of the slopes in the spring, Flowers said.

The grass was planted late in the season last year to prevent runoff and silting, and may need to be replanted, Flowers said. The village retained $10,000 from the construction company in case they need to reseed, he said.

Flowers said he is very proud of the new streets. He’s also glad the work is almost done, he said.

“I’m relieved. It’s been a long project. The village trustees have done a great job. I’m very pleased to see our funds being put to such good use,” Flowers said.




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Take Students on a Run Through Germany with Paul Staso (Free Incentive/Mileage Club)
Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Paul Staso of Missoula, MT will be running a 500-mile course through Germany between March 8 and March 30, 2010. P.A.C.E. is set up so that school children located around the globe virtually run/walk with Paul while he's on the road, adding up mileage in teams at school. This is a great opportunity for schools to sign up and use it as an encouragement and education activity. Over 5000 students worldwide have already signed up to trek with Paul.

For more information, please visit:

http://www.pacetrek.com/pace_trek_2010.htm


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New Requirements for Adult Crossing Guard Vests - Effective 1-15-10
Friday, January 15, 2010

Please note that the requirements for apparel for adult crossing guards has changed. Please adhere to the following standard in the new Manual on Uniform Traffic Contral Devices:

Section 7D.04 Uniform of Adult Crossing Guards Standard:
01 Law enforcement officers performing school crossing supervision and adult crossing guards shall wear high-visibility retroreflective safety apparel labeled as ANSI 107-2004 standard performance for Class 2 as described in Section 6E.02.

Section 6E.02 High-Visibility Safety Apparel Standard:
01 For daytime and nighttime activity, flaggers shall wear high-visibility safety apparel that meets the Performance Class 2 or 3 requirements of the ANSI/ISEA 107–2004 publication entitled “American National Standard for High-Visibility Apparel and Headwear” (see Section 1A.11) and labeled as meeting the ANSI 107-2004 standard performance for Class 2 or 3 risk exposure. The apparel background (outer) material color shall be fluorescent orange-red, fluorescent yellow-green, or a combination of the two as defined in the ANSI standard. The retroreflective material shall be orange, yellow, white, silver, yellow-green, or a fluorescent version of these colors, and shall be visible at a minimum distance of 1,000 feet. The retroreflective safety apparel shall be designed to clearly identify the wearer as a person.
Guidance:
02 For nighttime activity, high-visibility safety apparel that meets the Performance Class 3 requirements of the ANSI/ISEA 107–2004 publication entitled “American National Standard for High-Visibility Apparel and Headwear” (see Section 1A.11) and labeled as meeting the ANSI 107-2004 standard performance for Class 3 risk exposure should be considered for flagger wear.


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Speed trailers placed around Rockton schools
Tuesday, January 12, 2010

ROCKTON (WREX) - Rockton's Police Department has a new tool to make sure you slow down in school zones.

The department bought a speed trailer with a grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation.

The trailer will move around to different schools daily.

Police will use information from the trailer to step up enforcement in high-speed areas.

"Especially in the morning and at night when the schools are letting loose, but also during the day when the kids are out on the playgrounds or roads when there might be a safety issue. We're looking to make it a safer area for our residents and their kids," Sergeant Ron Dippel from the Rockton Police Department said.

That safe routes to schools grant was worth $8,500.



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Urbana district urges residents to shovel sidewalks
Tuesday January 12, 2010

By Julie Wurth

*King Elementary School was chosen as the local outreach school by the Illinois State Network during their first session of funding by the National Partnership.

Maybe you were out of town over the holidays when the snow first hit.

Or you couldn't bear to drag out that metal shovel when it was 2 degrees outside.

No more excuses. The daytime highs are now manageable (26 Tuesday, a positively balmy 34 on Wednesday), and it's time to clear those sidewalks.

Schoolchildren will thank you.

The Urbana school district sent out a plea Monday to homeowners, asking them to keep sidewalks shoveled so children can walk to school safely.

A vast majority of Urbana students walk to school, especially at the elementary level, and when the sidewalks are covered with ice or snow, they're forced to walk in the street, spokesman Mark Schultz said.

"It is paramount that our school students are safe when they walk to school," Superintendent Preston Williams said in a release. "We ask that District 116 residents take a few moments and shovel their sidewalks so the kids can walk safely to school and not be forced to walk out into the street."

Jennifer Ivory-Tatum, principal at Urbana's King Elementary School, said Friday's attendance was lower than usual, and some parents called to say their children couldn't make it to school because "there was too much snow."

Last week's snowfall wasn't as bad as storms in previous years, and it helped "tremendously" that students were off school Thursday, she said.

"We kind of lucked out. We were home for that snow day. We didn't actually have kids out in the brunt of it, with people trying to shovel while the snowplows were out," she said. "If we had been in school Thursday, it would have been a major problem."

Still, she was surprised to come back Monday morning to find so many sidewalks still covered with snow.

"We still had people who did not shovel over the weekend," she said.

In Champaign, school officials said they haven't heard any complaints from parents or principals about treacherous sidewalks.

John Ayers Jr., director of operations, said his crews try to clear the walks in the block around each school with snowblowers or tractors, particularly those on busy streets. In years past, he said, they have cleared a path from Carrie Busey Elementary School all the way to Mattis Avenue, so children won't have to scale mountains of snow or go into the street.

Ayers said homeowners may have waited to shovel during Thursday's snowstorm because winds were supposed to pick up that night, and it was so cold. But he added, "This was the best snow to shovel, it was so light."

Ivory-Tatum hopes the district's announcement will serve as a reminder for homeowners during the next snowfall, especially those along busy routes like Goodwin or Fairview avenues. About 150 of King's students walk to or from school, and all of them eventually funnel onto one or both of those streets, she said.

"Those are the streets that worry me the most, because that's where there's the most traffic," she said. "If those streets aren't shoveled, then it's a problem – kids walking in the street, competing for street space with MTD buses and cars."

She also worries about students who come to school with shoes, socks or pants soaking wet from trudging through the snow. The school asks parents to send spare dry clothes, and the staff keeps extras on hand, but it's hard to keep up in this kind of weather, she said.

"We have kids walking around in bare feet in school because their shoes are so wet," she said. "We can't have them sitting around with cold feet."



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Snowy Sidewalks (Champaign Urbana)
Monday, Jan 11, 2010

Reported by: Jenny Gastwirth/ WCIA 3 News

*King Elementary School was chosen as the local outreach school by the Illinois State Network during their first session of funding by the National Partnership.

URBANA--Snowy sidewalks have parents concerned for their kids' safety. Students who can't find a clear path to walk are crossing paths with traffic. Parents say it's only a matter of time before someone gets hurt. "They don't watch where they're going and I have to literally just stop and wait until they cross the street or blow the horn," said Gilda Head.

Getting around King Elementary can be an obstacle course during the winter. Drivers dodge kids who don't want to trek through ice and snow. "A lot of them walk in the street because they don't have on any boots," said Head as she waited for her granddaughter to finish class. "I'm very cautious because they do step out into the street down here at this intersection right here," added Valerie Murphy.

Homeowners who do clear a path say it's not enough if they're neighbors don't do the same. "If they're not shoveling the sidewalks or even putting down salt, they gonna walk out there," said Michael Winston. "They're just kids." "Kids are going to do what they want to," he added.

Teachers are keeping a close eye on students taking off from class, but not all of them can be here to supervise in the morning. "We do have students with people rushing to get to work on time to Carle and Covenant and the U of I who may not be looking for kids walking in the middle of the street," said Jennifer Ivory-Tatum. She's working with the city and police to clear away the problem. "We can help residents who are not able to shovel," she said. "We know of some residents." "We've talked with lieutenant Cobb about people that are elderly." "We have some disabled people who are unable to shovel," she added. But showing a little neighborly love can pave the way for a safer route to school. "It's a community-based neighborhood so everybody's got to help each other," Michael Winston.

So far no one's been hurt, but Principal Tatum says the snowy streets bring another problem into school. Kids' shoes, socks and pants are wet when they get to class. That means slippery hallways. Plus it takes a long time for them to dry off.

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Study to look at traffic options near Danville High School, Local Elementary Schools
Monday January 11, 2010

DANVILLE – Shortly before 2:30 p.m. on most weekdays, a two-block stretch of Jackson Street becomes impassable.

It's not because of weather or construction, but a fleet of school buses that fills all lanes of the one-way section of Jackson Street next to Danville High School as students dismiss for the day and board buses, catch a ride, begin their walk home or drive away.

It's a hub of activity, and the Danville Area Transportation Study committee has decided it's time to hire a consulting firm to conduct a study of the vehicle, bus and pedestrian traffic in that area and make recommendations to relieve congestion and improve safety and access. Solutions for through traffic, bus staging and student pickup will be developed.

But Danville High isn't the only school that will be studied. North Ridge Middle School, Edison Elementary School and East Park Elementary School also will be the focus.

"Each school has different issues, so there's not going to be one solution that fits all of them," said DATS Study Director Adam Aull.

...

Federal transportation money is funneled through DATS, and about $70,000 in funding will be used this year to complete the school zone traffic studies at the four schools in Danville by hiring outside consultants.

Aull said a consulting firm should be on board and ready to begin the studies by July.

He said they'll concentrate initially on existing conditions, determining traffic and pedestrian patterns and how each affects the other, and eventually work into recommendations to improve traffic flow, safety and access. The studies and recommendations will then be turned over to Danville city and school officials to implement changes.

Danville schools Superintendent Mark Denman said the study and recommendations should complement the more aesthetic changes the district and city have already been pursuing around the Danville High campus.

"For years, we've talked of trying to have a greener campus look around DHS," said Denman, referring to the demolition of properties and planting of greenery.

Two other DATS initiatives that will be conducted this year, but by local DATS staff, are a Safe Routes to School study at North Ridge Middle School and Pinecrest Elementary in Georgetown and a bicycle plan initiative that will educate Danville residents about bicycle rules and encourage residents to ride bikes more often not only for enjoyment but for transportation.

Both of those initiatives will be spearheaded by DATS staff and be paid with federal dollars totaling about $70,000.

Aull said DATS staff will enlist the input of school staff and parents and other community members for the Safe Routes To School study. The goal is to encourage more children to walk or bike to school and to make it safer for them.

Aull said DATS did a similar study two years ago for Garfield Elementary in Danville, and changes were made to increase walkability.

He said changes include replacing or creating sidewalks, using more signs, creating walking groups and making walking more fun and safe.

Aull said this work leads right into grants that are available to implement any changes or recommendations.

Angie Stenson, transportation planner, will be heading up the bicycle initiative, which will include printing of a map that will outline safety tips for riding bicycles in the city and the best routes to take in Danville to reach various destinations.

Stenson has been working for the past year with a panel of community members who are bicyclists to assess the community's biking infrastructure and put together a plan for future development of infrastructure to support bicycling locally.

Also, in May, a "Bike to Work" week will be promoted with advertising and printed flyers.

"It's an event to encourage and get people out and riding their bikes," Stenson said. "I'm picturing an event where we will adverti

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Alpha joins Henry County tourism group
Thursday, January 6, 2010

By Sherrie Taylor

...

A $8,500 grant has been received from the Illinois Department of Transportation, part of the Safe Routes to School program. The grant was approved to provide two portable signs, and they will provide traffic information relating to student and pedestrian traffic and a possible need for sidewalks, Taflinger said.

...


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Nelson outlines projects for 2010 (Coal City/Diamond)
Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Ann Gill, Editor

Coal City Mayor Neal Nelson has declared 2010 as the year of follow through.

"We have a lot of projects going on and some in infancy," the mayor said, pointing to stormwater improvements, quiet zones and the potential for a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district.

"There's a lot going on in the village and we need to stay focused," Nelson said.

...

Nelson is looking forward to the completion of sidewalks and bike paths as part of the Safe Routes to Schools grant.

Last fall, the village was notified that it had qualified to receive over $100,000 to install sidewalks and bike trails that would lead to the community's various school buildings.

The grant was a joint project that included the villages of Diamond and Carbon Hill, as well as the Unit #1 School District.

Diamond Mayor Terry Kernc is overseeing the grant project that is slated to be completed by late spring or early summer.

...

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Illinois to Remain Part of the SRTS National Partership's State Network Project through 2011
Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Safe Routes to School State Network Project
Serving 19 States and the District of Columbia in 2010 and 2011 - Get Involved!

The Safe Routes to School (SRTS) National Partnership announced an expansion of the State Network Project to 19 states and the District of Columbia beginning in January 2010. The project, which was first launched in 2007, brings together state leaders to remove barriers to waking and bicycling to and from school.

From 2010 to 2011, the project will support networks in Arkansas, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Lessons learned from working with nine states and the District of Columbia during 2007-2009 will help inform this second phase of the project.

The State Networks will work to increase physical activity among all students, ensure that federal SRTS funds are spent on quality projects, work to leverage additional state resources for SRTS initiatives, and advocate to remove barriers to walking and bicycling to schools through policy initiatives. At the heart of the State Network effort is policy change-specifically working to remove policy barriers to walking and bicycling to schools by implementing complete streets, changing statewide school siting and other policies, and by implementing legislation that would result in funding or policy changes.

The 2010-2011 phase of the State Network Project also will focus on serving low-income communities and reducing crime. The specific policy strategies for each jurisdiction will be determined by the State Network and based on the capacity of the partnering organizations.

Agencies and organizations within the 20 project jurisdictions are encouraged to get involved. Each network will hold a telephone kick-off meeting in January or February. If you would like to participate, please contact the organizer in your state.

Each state organizer will manage the daily operations and work with partners from around the state who are involved in health, equity, transportation, youth, environmental, and smart growth issues to develop and implement an action plan.

According to Robert Ping, State Network Director, "The State Network Project has been very successful in bringing together partners to change state level policies that are resulting in opportunities for more children to walk and bicycle to schools safely. We're honored and excited about expanding this project, and about the impact that it will make towards the goal of reversing childhood obesity by the year 2015. We encourage state agencies, policymakers and non-profits to join us in launching this new project."

The SRTS National Partnership held an open call for applications inviting all states to apply for the State Network Project. The networks were selected based on need and their capacity to support the program. High levels of childhood obesity, diversity and low-income communities also were considered. States that were not selected may still receive technical assistance to help move their state processes forward.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation provided funding for 15 states and Kaiser Permanente provided funding for another five states. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also provided financial support for the project.


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New Illinois Laws (Texting While Driving/Cell Phone Use in School Zones) Take Effect January 1, 2010

No Texting While Driving, PA 96-0130 – Provides that a person may not operate a motor vehicle on a roadway while using an electronic communication device to compose, send, or read an electronic message. GPS devices may still be used and a person can use an electronic communication device while the vehicle is parked on the shoulder of the roadway and when the vehicle is stopped due to normal traffic being obstructed and the driver has the motor vehicle transmission in neutral or park.

Cell Phone Usage in School Zones, PA 96-0131 – Prohibits the use of a cell phone while in a school or construction zone, however, cell phone may be used if it is in “voice-activated mode”.

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Free FHWA Bicycle Safety Materials Available Again
Tuesday, January 5, 2010


The FHWA document entitled Bikesafe: Bicycle Countermeasure Selection System (Publication number: FHWA-SA-05-006) is available once again and can be ordered in increments of 10. This report provides information on 50 engineering countermeasures or treatments, along with education and enforcement programs, that may be implemented to improve bicycle safety and mobility. Included in this version are 60 case studies that illustrate these concepts applied in practice in a number of communities throughout the United States. Also included is a CD-Rom with the Bicycle Countermeasure Selection System, an expert system product designed to assist practitioners with the selection of countermeasures to address bicycle safety and mobility problems.

Please visit the website to order copies of all materials: http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/ped_bike_order.cfm .

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Northwest suburban mayors take a look forward (Prospect Heights)
Friday, January 1, 2010

By Kevin Richardson

Excerpt from article:

Dolly Vole, Prospect Heights: We are excited about projects in 2010, providing they have anticipated grant funding. We have received a go-ahead under the Safe Routes to School program for 2,500 feet of sidewalk on Schoenbeck Road near Palatine Road. It's funded through the state. A water main extension along Camp McDonald Road has to be made permanent. And we're trying to go green and get residents to realize our newsletters cost money and get them to sign up for the e-list. And we are trying to improve communications with town hall meetings. And the committees we started will bear fruit: Economic and business development; flooding and streets; and finance. We've had the water committee for a long time.

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Chicago school honors Safe Passage Program volunteers: Community volunteers escort kids to and from Bradwell Math, Science and Technology Academy
Friday, December 18, 2009

By Angie Leventis Lourgos
Tribune reporter

Dorothy Washington said her 7-year-old son was afraid to walk about three blocks to his South Shore school last year, even with his teenage siblings, because he saw bigger kids fighting.

Relatives advised Washington to transfer David to another school, but she loved the teachers and programs at Bradwell Math, Science and Technology Academy.

So in the fall, she and her neighbors began patrolling the most common routes to school, quashing altercations before they escalated. The volunteer effort is called the Safe Passage Program, and parents and students say it has been effective at quelling violence.

"We have to give this school a chance," said Washington, who added that David now feels safe walking to Bradwell.

Community volunteers in safety vests begin patrolling 45 minutes before class starts and stay 15 minutes after the bell. They return for another hour around the time classes end, ensuring students get home safe and don't linger on school grounds. The effort is coordinated by a community group, the Making Stuff Happen, or MASH unit, which schedules the volunteers and coordinates training sessions on how to handle emergency situations.

Bradwell hosted a "graduation" ceremony Thursday to honor about 30 volunteers who completed the training, and Chicago police Cmdr. Eric Carter praised their work.

"These volunteers have stood up for you and this community," he said to seventh- and eighth-grade students in the audience.

Organizers say they're trying to guard against another tragedy like the September beating death of Fenger Academy High School student Derrion Albert.

"It's imperative for us to prevent that from ever happening in our community," said Lavonte Stewart Sr., assistant program coordinator.

Student Mariah Collins, 14, said she feels safer with more adult supervision this year.

"There haven't been that many fights," she said.

The Black United Fund of Illinois helped launch the program, which also serves Bouchet Math and Science Academy and is in the early stages at South Shore High School. Organizers say they plan to expand the volunteer network to other area schools, including Parkside Elementary Community Academy, O'Keeffe Elementary and Mann Elementary.

"Students need to see that people really care about them," said Bradwell Principal Justin Moore. "Every day, they're greeted by a group of people who really care."

eleventis@tribune.com


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National Center for Safe Routes to School Announces Spring 2010 Mini-grant Recipients
Tuesday, December 8, 2009

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - The National Center for Safe Routes to School announced today the selection of 25 mini-grants recipients to receive up to $1,000 for local projects that encourage student creativity in Safe Routes to School (SRTS) activities in the spring 2010 semester.

“We were truly impressed by the creativity and innovation of the mini-grant applications we received,” said Lauren Marchetti, director of the National Center for Safe Routes to School. “Proposed activities ranged from trail construction and letter writing campaigns, to middle school social marketing strategies.”

The National Center received 247 SRTS mini-grant applications from schools and community organizations across 44 states and the District of Columbia. Selected proposals distinguished themselves through originality of efforts to help lead local community efforts to promote safe walking and bicycling to school, including the strong involvement of students, protecting the environment, promoting physical activity, and the implementation of measurable activities.

“Each SRTS mini-grant recipient illustrates the potential greater impact of successful SRTS efforts nationwide,” continued Marchetti. “The National Center is pleased to support the vision and creativity of local efforts that can lead to real change in transportation behaviors across the nation.”

The selected 25 mini-grant recipient organization programs/activities include:

• Thorne Bay School Student Council (Thorne Bay, Alaska) will lead efforts to improve the school's nearby "Health Heart Trail," which will create safer trails for students and staff commuting to school and for parents and community members attending Thorne Bay events.


• Town of Gilbert (Gilbert, Ariz.) will coordinate a SRTS Triathlon - focusing on Health, Walking, and Bicycling - among 16 schools that participate in the Town’s SRTS program. Students will compete for the highest numbers participating at their various schools. Student-led activities include Walking Wednesdays, walking school buses and bicycle trains, park and walk locations and mileage clubs.

• Meiners Oaks Elementary (Ojai, Calif.), lead by the sixth grade leadership class, will begin a SRTS program that includes “Bikeology,” a bicycle safety and maintenance course, bi-lingual safety information with maps, and youth outreach that is designed to show students how they can change their community through the political process.

• Dallas Ranch Middle School (Antioch, Calif.) with 511 Contra Costa, a commuter transportation network, will create a website and craft a social marketing campaign to educate fellow students about pedestrian and bicycle safety and health benefits as part of its “Walk and Roll 2 School” program. Among additional activities, the student-led effort will promote texting as a great way to coordinate meeting up to walk and bicycle to school in groups and will host a helmet fashion show with categories for “funny helmets” and the “best spiked hair.”

Additional information on more funded projects available from The National Center for Safe Routes to School.

Established in May 2006 through funding from the Federal Highway Administration, the National Center for Safe Routes to School assists communities in enabling and encouraging children to safely walk and bicycle to school. The Center strives to equip Safe Routes to School programs with the knowledge and technical information to implement safe and successful strategies. The National Center for Safe Routes to School is maintained by the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center with funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. For more information, visit www.saferoutesinfo.org.

For more information, please contact Caroline Dickson at the National Center for Safe Routes to School at (919) 962-5835 or di

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Transportation For America Releases New Report "Dangerous By Design" - Identifies SRTS as One Solution to Safer Streets
Thursday, Novermber 12, 2009

To read the report, please visit:
http://t4america.org/docs/dangerousbydesign/
dangerous_by_design.pdf

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Gustafson students hoof it to school in Batavia
Friday, October 30, 2009

By Susan Sarkauskas

International Walk to School Month advocates would love Bridget Ball's parents.

"I only get a ride if it is thundering or lightning," the fifth-grader said Thursday after putting her bicycle in the rack at Alice Gustafson Elementary School in Batavia.

Walk-to-school proponent Dianne Peterson, a volunteer at the school, was handing out bananas and encouraging words to walkers (and bicyclists, and those who rode scooters). She was joined by Batavia firefighters and schools Superintendent Jack Barshinger. It is the second year in a row Peterson has arranged the effort at Alice Gustafson.

The international effort began in 1994 in Great Britain. Some walks rally to create safe routes to school, others for the environment and some to improve children's health, according to iwalktoschool.com, the official Web site of International Walk to School Month.

Peterson asked students why it is good to walk to school instead of being driven, and reminded them of several reasons. "It helps the environment and it saves your mommy money on gas," she said.

A couple of boys looked a little skeptical when she told them that the walk "kick-starts your brain and helps you do better in school."

Jen Meiring walks her son, kindergartner Ethan, to school most mornings, pushing a double stroller containing her younger son, Owen, and a boy she takes care of. She comes back with Owen midmorning to pick up Ethan. "He (Owen) always wants to walk because he gets to ride his bike or scooter," she said. "It is playtime to them."

The majority of students live too close to the school to be eligible for busing; only one school bus drops kids off.

Trader Joe's donated the bananas, and fruit roll-ups that Peterson handed out last week.

Just because the month is ending doesn't mean Peterson, who is a member of the Batavia Environmental Commission, is giving up.

"I might surprise them (the walkers) some other time," she said.



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Council covers routes to Plano's brighter future
Monday, October 26, 2009

By KAT DODD - For The Valley Free Press

PLANO — At Monday’s committee-of-the-whole meeting, the Plano City Council began an otherwise upbeat, future-focused gathering with a moment of silence for the family of Rich Thompson, a city employee who died the previous Sunday.

Following Mayor Robert Hausler’s acknowledgment of the Thompson family’s loss, aldermen turned the floor over to representatives from Waubonsee Community College. The college will host a free “Brighter Futures” community event at Best Western Timber Creek Inn & Suites Convention Center from 4 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 28.

Whether residents are out of work, or simply concerned about their professional futures, Waubonsee’s “Brighter Futures” is designed to help individuals out of work, affected by today’s economy and anyone facing today’s competitive job market. The event will offer financial health seminars, a job search roundtable, and expert resume and cover letter assistance. To learn more about “Brighter Futures” or to RSVP for this free community event, visit www.waubonsee.edu or call 630-466-2360.

In looking to next year, Waubonsee’s Plano campus is on time and on track to begin classes on Jan. 20, 2011. The campus is scheduled to open in November 2010 for student admissions, academic counseling and financial aid services.

“The Plano campus will be completely comprehensive,” said Lulu Blacksmith, representing Waubonsee. “Students will no longer have to commute to Sugar Grove to take prerequisites, or receive counseling or financial aid.”

One key programs the campus will offer is a certified nurse assistant (CNA) program which will allow students, in a relatively short amount of time, to take classes, become certified and find a lucrative career. The campus will also offer degrees in related allied health fields, including EMT, nursing and fire science programs.

Second Ward Alderman Robert Hyde discussed several community offerings. First, he asked for the city to support Jacob’s Well’s Fall Festival by providing portable toilets and a dumpster. This free event for the Plano community will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31.

Hyde also mentioned plans for the more distant future. He is working on a student government day at Plano High School for students to shadow city officials. Hyde also is collaborating with high school art classes to create a city flag.

On the topic of city events, Police Chief Steven Eaves said the Plano Police Department, led by Lt. Jonathan Whowell, had plans to host a bicycle rodeo on Saturday, Oct. 24 at Plano Middle School. This bicycle safety course was part of the $252,000 Illinois Safe Routes to School Program (SRTS) grant awarded to the city in July 2009.

As with every committee of the whole meeting, “to the agenda” was the evening’s most popular phrase. Items to be voted on at next Monday’s city council meeting include; revisions to city employee salary ranges, the city’s responsibility to IEPA for the containing the contamination of the Monarch Foundry, and approval of the site plan for Jacob’s Well subdivision.

Haulser closed the meeting by sharing an announcement given to him at the last minute. The city of Spring Valley is hosting a mayor’s fishing contest on Saturday. A smiling Hausler, who, only three months ago, captured Cabela’s National Team Championship, expressed his regrets at not being able to attend the tournament and add to his trophy collection.



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Walking Safely and Without Fear - America Walks Reaction to death of Somer Thompson, FL
October 23, 2009

October 23, 2009

Yesterday, parents throughout the United States were shocked by the tragic death of a seven year old girl, Somer Thompson who was found killed after not making it home from school. The girl was walking home with a group of other children and got separated. In response to this tragedy, media reports, blogs and others have responded with a broad range of perspectives from decrying the practice of allowing young children to walk home without an adult to those who caution an overreaction to the incident.

The tragedy of this situation does not change the fact that child abductions, particularly by strangers, have become a rarity. A 2002 federal study reported that 99.8 percent of all missing children returned home safe. Of the remaining only an estimated 0.0068 percent represents kidnappings by a stranger.[1] Abductions, however rare, are unacceptable. However, protecting our children from dangers needs to be balanced with what the real risks are and good decision-making.

Where is the danger to our kids? It is in not letting them walk! Since 1969, the number of kids walking/biking to school has fallen from 50% to 15% while childhood obesity has risen from 8% to 30% (CDC). Over 300,000 deaths are attributed to disease and complications surrounding obesity.[2] Over 12,000 children die each year from unintentional deaths. For children 5 to 19 years old, the leading cause of death was from being a passenger or driver in an auto-accident. [3]

Walking to school is not the problem but one the major solutions to what ails our country. Andy Hamilton, Executive Director for WalkSanDiego and Vice President of America Walks said, “Creating communities, resources and a culture that support children walking to school is one of the best ways to improve our quality of life. Safe walkable environments reduce car trips, improve children’s health, and increase children’s confidence in navigating the challenges of world.”

Lenore Skenazy, author of Free Range Kids, said in an interview yesterday “We all know the world can be a dangerous place, which is why I have worked to train my kids to be safe. All free-range parents do. We know that at some point, some time, even if we don’t expect it, our children will be beyond our sight, and we want them to be as prepared as possible.” Somer’s parents were doing the right thing. They were raising a child who could be independent and who could become healthy and thriving adult. Our job as community members, parents, politicians and the like is to make sure we do not let fear drive our decisions.

Contact Mindy Craig, President
America Walks,
510.847.3665


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Route 176 pedestrian tunnel eyed in Lake Bluff
Wednesday, October 21, 2009

By KENDRICK MARSHALL kmarshall@scn1.com
LAKE BLUFF -- By the end of the month, village officials will decide whether the proposal to build a pedestrian tunnel at Route 176 will move forward or become a pipe dream buried by financial concerns.

George Russell, village engineer, said a public meeting involving Lake Bluff School District 65, the village of Lake Bluff and the Lake Bluff Park District will be held Oct. 27 to discuss financing options for the tunnel project and to determine if the venture is viable.

Last March, District 65 was notified by the Illinois Department of Transportation that it had been awarded a $400,000 Safe Routes to School grant to be used for the construction of a pedestrian tunnel under Route 176 to be located just west of Green Bay Road.

The main purpose of the project is to address the hazard to school children of crossing Route 176 near Rockland Road. That stretch of highway is a busy commuter route, and a tunnel would allow safe pedestrian crossing without relying on motorists to stop.

A non-grade pedestrian crossing of Route 176 has been part of the village's comprehensive plan since the last major update of the plan in 1997, Russell said.

The concept for the tunnel was developed by the village in the mid-1990s after the Lake County Division of Transportation announced it would build a pedestrian tunnel under Green Bay Road as part of several major enhancements along the North Shore Bike Path.

Russell said a tunnel under Route 176 will have the dual benefit of providing safe access to both Lake Bluff Elementary School and the recreational facilities at Blair Park. It will encourage children, including those with disabilities, to walk and bike to school.

The proposed tunnel project as currently envisioned includes the construction of a connecting path from the tunnel site through Blair Park extending northerly to West Washington Avenue. Currently, there is no pedestrian route delineated between the elementary school and Blair Park Recreation Center.

Officials said the estimated cost of the project is $1.2 million -- $800,000 more than was awarded by the state grant.

The cost estimate includes the assumption that IDOT will allow for construction on Route 176, which will require the full closure of the state route for two weeks.

Russell explained if the park district, school district and village were to equally split the cost, it would result in an annual debt obligation of approximately $28,000 for each of the three organizations over 20 years.

Russell said District 65 has until the end of December to approve the tunnel project and then a three-year window to complete construction.


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Speeding tickets can benefit Safe Routes to School program
Thursday, October 15, 2009

NEWS-SUN STAFF REPORT
With area schools taking part in International Walk to School Day this month, state Sen. Michael Bond, D-Grayslake, is encouraging local school officials to take advantage of a new law giving them greater flexibility to fund school safety initiatives, such as the Safe Routes to School program.

Safe Routes encourages children to safely walk and bike to school by offering classroom activities, teacher workshops and more. The program also provides grants for sidewalk construction and other safety measures. However, last year Illinois was only able to fund 10 percent of applications to the program.

Bond's legislation, Senate Bill 75, allows school administrators to direct more money to Safe Routes and other programs from the money they receive from speeding tickets issued in school zones.

"Walk to School Day is a great reminder that we need to provide a safe environment for our kids to walk and bike to school," Bond said.

"Local schools are hurting right now because of the national recession and the state's ongoing budget difficulties. That's why we, as lawmakers, need to think out of the box somewhat to support important programs like Safe Routes to School."

School districts receive a portion of fines collected for speeding violations in school safety zones. Under previous legislation, the revenue could only be used for safety education programs and for the purchase and maintenance of caution lights.

The new legislation removes restrictions on local districts, allowing them to use the additional revenue to fund Safe Routes any other initiatives that fall under the School Safety and Educational Improvement Block Grant Program.



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Morton still expects Safe Routes funding
Monday, October 12, 2009

By Steve Stein (stevestein21@yahoo.com)Journal Star

MORTON — The village's and District 709's $250,000 Safe Routes to School grant is, well, safe, even though the federal government slashed $1 million last month from the state's 2008 funds for the program, Megan Holt-Swanson said Monday.

"It's less a question of 'if' the money will be available than 'when,'" said Holt-Swanson, the Safe Routes to School coordinator for the Illinois Department of Transportation, which administers the program in the state.

The reason for Holt-Swanson's optimism is Congress is expected to pass a continuing resolution to extend transportation funding - including Safe Routes to School - for three to 18 months while it works on a new transportation bill. The former bill expired at the end of the last month.

Holt-Swanson said once the state receives funds from the extension, it will replenish the $1 million that was lost from the 2008 Safe Routes to School grants, which includes Morton. The grants were announced in August.

"I've encouraged all of our 2008 awardees to be patient and consider this a small hiccup in the process," Holt-Swanson said.

Morton Director of Tourism Susan Pyles, who crafted Morton's grant request along with District 709 Superintendent Roger Kilpatrick, said she will heed that advice.

"I feel a lot better now," Pyles said after hearing what Holt-Swanson had to say about Morton's grant.

A Sept. 10 e-mail sent by Holt-Swanson to 2008 state grant recipients saying the grants were on hold because of the expected federal funding cut caused Morton Mayor Norm Durflinger to announce that the village's grant was "in limbo."

The grant will pay for the replacement of crumbling sidewalks, curbs and gutters, installation of new sidewalks, and new crosswalks in an area that includes Grundy Elementary School, Blessed Sacrament School and Bethel Lutheran School.

"When the work is completed, there will be a much safer environment for the children who walk or ride their bike to school on these busy roads," Pyles said.

There are nine sections of streets in the area that don't have sidewalks. Sidewalks will be installed and repaired on Greenwood and Hazelwood streets, Parkside Avenue and Queenwood Road.

Besides helping students, the grant money will create safe routes for residents to travel to Idlewood Park and the new Morton Pool.

The village will do the work in 2010 and be reimbursed by IDOT. All the work will meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

Pyles said the Grundy/Blessed Sacrament/Bethel Lutheran area was chosen as the target for a grant because of the large number of students the grant would affect, and the proximity of the park and pool.

The schools are located within about 1 1/2 miles of each other. Grundy is at 1100 S. Fourth Ave., Blessed Sacrament at 233 E. Greenwood and Bethel Lutheran at 325 E. Queenwood.



Steve Stein can be reached at 686-3114 or stevestein21@yahoo.com


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WTSD 2009: Kids learn how to cross streets safely (Quincy)
Wednesday, October 7, 2009

QUINCY, ILL -- It's hard to believe, but 600 kids under age 14 die each year from pedestrian accidents.

That's why Safe Kids Adams County teamed up with local schools to teach them safe habits when crossing streets. It's part of International Walk to School Day.

These students at Washington School in Quincy put what they learned to good use today as they walked around the block. And it seems they're getting the message.

Q: What did you learn about crossing the street today?

"You have to go to the corner, you can't just cross in the middle of the street. You have to go to the corner and when you get to the crosswalk, you have to wait for the lady to say it's ok to cross," said Alexis Roberts.

"Don't run across the street, walk," said David Stapp.

Not only should children pay attention when crossing streets, but drivers need to also. Don't forget about school zones from 7am to 4pm during the school day. If you're caught speeding in those areas, there's a 350 dollar fine.


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WTSD 2009: Harris School participates in international walk to school day (Decatur)
Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wednesday is international walk to school day.

So more than 150 children from William Harris School in Decatur walked with their parents this morning. The point is to remind drivers and pedestrians to be aware of their surroundings to avoid accidents in school zones. Volunteers from safe kids Macon County chose Harris School because of heavy traffic and most of those students walk to school everyday.

In addition, several safe school coalitions are participating in "photovoice", a project that equips children with cameras to photograph some of the dangers they face as they walk.



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WTSD 2009: Walk To School Day offers glimpse of tomorrow's livable communities (Transportation Secretary LaHood's Blog)
Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Walk To School Day offers glimpse of tomorrow's livable communities

Today is Walk to School Day, and school kids everywhere will be out in force. I, for one, am glad to see it.

Now, lots of kids all over the world walk to school every day; what makes today's trip to school such a special event?

Today's big walk calls attention to safety issues that are so important. These kids need safe streets--roads in passable condition and drivers who are attentive to the kids' presence.
The large turnout of kids walking instead of being driven by their parents means that the Walk to School takes cars off the street. From this, kids learn about responsible environmental stewardship.
These kids are engaging in healthy physical activity.

Today's events are part of the Safe Routes to School program, funded by DOT's Federal Highway Administration. We need walking and bicycling to be safe transportation options for our kids. This means creating safe environments:

sidewalks or bicycle-paths that connect homes with schools
child-friendly opportunities to cross streets; and
slow vehicle speeds through roadway safety measures and law enforcement.
Of course, there is one thing we can all do easily: reduce our driving speeds. In communities with kids biking, walking, and scootering to and from school, there is no question that driving slower saves lives.

Today, our kids are showing us the more walkable, sustainable world we need. Let's hope we're all paying attention.





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WTSD 2009: Students walk, roll to school (Evanston)
October 7, 2009

Submitted by DAVID ALEXANDER
Evanston's Washington Elementary School will celebrate students getting to school in fun and active ways today for the annual Walk and Roll to School Day.

Parents are organizing a number of Walking School Buses and Bike Trains, which are planned routes and times where children can walk or ride to school together, under the supervision of trusted adults. Students who participate in Walk and Roll to School Day or do another errand that week on foot or bicycle, will be entered in a raffle to win fun prizes!

Washington Elementary School, at 914 Ashland Ave., is one of only six Chicago area schools that received a $500 grant for materials and prizes aimed to get kids and adults excited about safe, earth-friendly, physically-active travel. The grants were given to schools that have demonstrated a commitment to encouraging active transportation for students year-round.

Walk and Roll to School Day is part of International Walk to School Day, a global celebration that brings children and adults together around walking, biking, physical activity, safety, traffic, environmental concerns, and building connections between families, schools and the broader community.

"Walk and Roll to School Day is such a fun way to support our children‚s health and wellness," said Melody Geraci, program director at the Active Transportation Alliance. "Children, adults and community members can come out and help catalyze fun and active living."


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WTSD 2009: Walking to School In Champaign - News Clip from WCIA TV
Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The report is by Ann Dill. This is a video segement.

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WTSD 2009: International Walk to School Day Celebrates Local Efforts
Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Thousands of Scheduled Community Events in U.S. Will Recognize Student Health and Safety Programs

CHAPEL HILL, NC (October 5, 2009) — On Wednesday, October 7th, students, parents, teachers and local officials in several thousand communities in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia will walk to school together to celebrate the 13th annual International Walk to School Day. These events also kick off October as International Walk to School Month, the month when communities in over 40 countries will participate in daily, weekly or monthly events designed to raise awareness about the many benefits of safely walking and bicycling to school.

“International Walk to School Day events held on Wednesday and throughout the month of October highlight an increasingly important global issue,” said Lauren Marchetti, Director of the National Center for Safe Routes to School, a national clearinghouse that provides U.S. programs with information needed to implement safe and successful Safe Routes to School programs and strategies. “When communities and schools work together to make routes to school safer for their children to walk and bicycle, there is an opportunity for many safety, public health, and environmental benefits to be enjoyed by all community members.”

Safe Routes to School programs address pedestrian safety, traffic patterns, and congestion around schools, as well as environmental and health concerns. Public health officials have found that improving and increasing safe places for students to walk and bicycle can encourage increased physical activity and overall healthy decision making. Some teachers report that students who walk to school arrive more alert and ready for the day in the classroom. A school district in Washington State reports an annual savings of $220,000 in transportation costs due to increased involvement in the district’s Safe Routes to School programs.

On Wednesday a variety of different Walk to School Day events will be held nationwide. In Alexandria, Va., George Mason Elementary students, parents and teachers will be joined by city, state and federal officials to celebrate the occasion. Joseph S. Toole, Associate Administrator, Office of Safety, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and Rebecca Crowe, Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program Manager, FHWA, plan to walk to school with a group of George Mason students as part of a “walking school bus” – a group of children supervised by adults while walking to school.

“All of us in the U.S. Department of Transportation very much support building more healthy and livable communities nationwide,” said Mr. Toole. “I can think of no better way to promote this cause than by joining the millions of parents, children and communities celebrating a child’s active and safe trip to school on International Walk to School Day.”

Livable Streets Education, the New York City Department of Transportation, Walk21, and the National Center for Safe Routes to School will co-host a free citywide event at Washington Square Park on Walk to School Day from 1-2 p.m. Fun activities focused on healthy lifestyles have been planned for K-12 students, including a live performance by world-famous beatboxer Rahzel, a former member of The Roots, and a presentation about active communities and urban livability given by international leaders in the field.

As of October 5, more than 3,000 U.S. schools have pre-registered their local Walk to School Day events on the U.S. Walk to School Web site, www.walktoschool.org, and this number is expected to increase throughout October. The total number of participating schools each year is even higher than reported numbers, as additional communities hold events but do not register.

The U. S. held its first International Walk to School Day in 1997 at a school in Chicago...

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Morton snags $250,000 grant: Village will get to install sidewalks, crosswalks near three schools
Sunday, September 20, 2009

By Steve Stein
Of the Journal Star

MORTON — Students who walk or ride their bikes to three busy schools will benefit from a $250,000 Illinois Safe Routes to School grant awarded to the village and District 709.

The grant will pay for the replacement of crumbling sidewalks, curbs and gutters and installation of new sidewalks and new crosswalks in an area that includes Grundy Elementary School, Blessed Sacrament School and Bethel Lutheran School.

"We're pleased that we'll be able to build sidewalks for students on some very busy streets," said Morton Mayor Norm Durflinger. "We couldn't have afforded to do it without the grant."

Besides helping students, the grant money will create safe routes for residents to travel to Idlewood Park and the new Morton Pool.

There are nine sections of streets in the area that don't have sidewalks. Sidewalks will be installed and repaired on Greenwood and Hazelwood streets, Parkside Avenue and Queenwood Road.

The village will do the work in 2010 and be reimbursed by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Morton Director of Tourism Susan Pyles and District 709 Superintendent Roger Kilpatrick joined forces to apply for the grant, which is awarded to public and private schools that have students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

"What's great about the grant is in addition to making it safer for kids to walk and ride their bikes to school, there will be money to educate students about walking and bicycle safety," Pyles said.

She said the Grundy/Blessed Sacrament/Bethel Lutheran area was chosen as the target for a grant because of the large number of students enrolled there and the proximity of Idlewood Park and the pool.

The schools are located within about 1 1/2 miles of each other. Grundy is at 1100 S. Fourth Ave., Blessed Sacrament at 233 E. Greenwood St., and Bethel Lutheran at 325 E. Queenwood Road.

Another purpose of the grant is to reduce traffic, fuel consumption and air pollution within two miles of schools that receive funds.

Other area schools have benefited from Safe Routes to School grants. The list includes schools in Farmington, Germantown Hills and North Pekin.



Steve Stein can be reached at 686-3114 or stevestein21@yahoo.com.



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National Night Out aims to increase safety awareness (Champaign Urbana)
Sunday, September 20th, 2009

by Jennifer Fowler

National Night Out is an event that brings safety agencies together to increase awareness about crime and teach residents about safety. Police from Champaign County, Champaign, Urbana and the University were on hand, along with members of the Champaign Fire Department.

“We’re trying to show how kids can just run to a trusted adult in case their faced with something their not sure of," said Sergeant Joan Fiesta of the University Police Department.

There was a booth for University students with information about safety, parking, legal rights, and safe party tips. The event was also designed to promote a neighborhood watch group for children, she said. Adults will volunteer to work shifts at bus stops and parks.

"It’s a great thing actually, if students or student groups want to participate, it’s something they can do," Fiesta added.

Activities were held to teach children about safety in a fun way. Participants could go to the C-U Safe Routes to school project tent, which helps teach children how to safely maneuver and ride a bike. This is an obstacle course kids go through on bicycles.

"It’s a good way for them to go through and kind of learn skills, even though they don’t really think they’re learning things—they just think they’re having fun," said Rose Hudson, a crossing guard who helped assist the safe routes activity. "But it’s a great way for them to go through and kind of test their skills."

There were also booths with painting and balloon stations, complimentary hot dog and water stations, and a camera station, where parents and children could have their picture taken at the event.

“I brought my grand kids here, because I wanted them to learn more about bicycle safety, and how to get out of the home if there is a fire, for safety, in case I can’t be there to help them," said Patty Roy.




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Willow Springs to add more sidewalks for children’s safety
Sunday, August 23, 2009

By James Pluta

A former public works director in Willow Springs is being credited with helping convince state and federal officials of the need for sidewalk improvement surrounding and leading to and from the many schools where village children attend.

James Chevalier, who was replaced by Mayor Alan Nowaczyk earlier this summer, was one of two people — including administrative assistant Gina Scaletta-Nelson — responsible for the $399,530 grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation, a federal grant administered by the state.

The Illinois Safe Routes to School grant program, which urges and enables students to walk and bicycle to and from school, will impact families whose children attend Willow Springs Elementary School on Archer Road, Trinity Lutheran School on German Church Road and Pleasant Dale ElementarySchool on Wolf Road.

Students from the Sterling Estates Mobile Home Park on Frontage Road east of La Grange Road near Justice, have to be bused to and from school because highways separate them from their school at Nolton Avenue and Archer.

In addition, students from nearby Indian Head Park attend Pleasantdale.

The grant funds will be directed to the construction of concrete sidewalk salong German Church Road, School Street, Archer Road and Nolton Avenue, as well as flashing beacon lights and more signs in school zones on NoltonAvenue and German Church and Archer roads.

A new reflective striped crosswalk with safety signs is also being installed on German Church Road.

Village officials and those in School Districts 107 and 108 hope the sidewalks will save money by cutting down on the need for so many bus routes and also improve air quality as a result.

The state program awarded $13.1 million in federal funds statewide to encourage walking to school.



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Grant to help build sidewalks near Ralston, Windsor schools (Machesney Park)
Wednesday, September 16, 2009

By Kevin Haas

MACHESNEY PARK — Officials, teachers, administrators and students gathered outside Ralston Elementary School today to announce a grant that will help students travel to class.

A $250,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to Schools program will fund the construction of sidewalks near Ralston and Windsor elementary schools and add crosswalk safety features to each.

“We’re very excited that this grant will provide sidewalks at our schools,” Superintendent Julie Morris said. “Ralston and Windsor are on very busy streets, and these improvements will make walking to and from school much safer for our children, and may help the school district cut down on busing costs.”

The grant will fund the construction of about 2,400 feet of sidewalk around Ralston and 2,700 feet near Windsor. Preliminary locations include Ralston and Hollybrook roads near Ralston Elementary and Elkhorn Street at Windsor. The construction would begin in spring 2010.

Along with the new sidewalks, the grant will fund crosswalk improvement and pavement markings at each school, including raised crosswalks and lettering at the intersections of Ralton/Bluebonnet, and Hollybrook and Windsor. New solar-powered flashing lights will be installed at crosswalks at both schools, and each will receive new bike racks.

“We have a lot of kids traveling to school on their bikes and we want to keep their routes safe,” said Windsor Principal Veronica Vazquez.

Staff writer Kevin Haas can be reached at khaas@rrstar.com or 815-987-1354.


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Safe Routes project aims to educate students, drivers (Champaign - Urbana)
Sunday, September 6, 2009

Jodi Heckel

The young woman on the cell phone didn't even slow down as she passed Bottenfield Elementary School, even though the crossing guard was already in the middle of Prospect Avenue.
She drove past the school, easily going faster than 20 mph, said Bottenfield parent Leeann Stack, who watched the woman continue her conversation as she drove past the crossing guard last week.
"She was just oblivious," Stack said.
The incident was not unusual. Rose Hudson, the crossing guard at the school's dismissal time and co-chair of the Champaign-Urbana Safe Routes to School Project, regularly sees drivers going too fast through the school zone. Others drive past even when she's out in the street with her flags.
"They're looking down at their phones. They're just zoning," Hudson said. "They don't see me and the orange that is everywhere."
Crossing Prospect Avenue was identified as the worst problem for children walking or biking to school in Champaign in a Safe Routes to School report released in the spring. Students on their way to Bottenfield or South Side elementary schools face heavy traffic, speeding cars and drivers not yielding at the crosswalks, the report states.
In Urbana, the hot spot is the intersection of Oregon and Vine streets, where some Leal Elementary School students cross. The report identified the same problems, along with the lack of a crossing guard. The Urbana police reinstated a crossing guard at that intersection this school year.
The Safe Routes to School Project plans to increase its efforts to teach kids about safety and make adults aware of the need to be cautious in school zones. The project received a $62,000 grant for this school year from the Federal Highway Administration – more than double what it received last year.
The plans include a "walking school bus," to be piloted at King Elementary School in Urbana. Adults would chaperone children on their walk to school, and there would be a set schedule for stops along the route.
Hudson said she's had difficulty finding parent volunteers, so she's hoping to recruit some University of Illinois students and start a walking school bus once a week or once every couple of weeks.
She started a frequent walker program last year at Carrie Busey and Robeson elementary schools in Champaign. The schools incorporated the program into P.E. class or recess, and the children earn tokens in the shape of a foot for their miles walked. Plans include expanding the program to other schools.
Hudson also helped Robeson and Kenwood Elementary School design a park and walk program, as part of revamped traffic flow patterns at the schools. She talked with parents about places they could park away from the school and walk their children a block or two to the building. It not only lets the kids get some exercise, it reduces traffic congestion around the school, she said.
She is working with Barkstall on a park and walk plan this year.
The project will continue its billboard campaign and there may be radio and TV spots and ads in movie theaters as well. It will also continue its crossing guard appreciation program, bicycle rodeos that teach safety, and its Walk and Bike to School Day events, scheduled for Oct. 7.
Hudson and Cynthia Hoyle, also a co-chair of the project, hope to get health professionals involved in their efforts, to provide a focus on the health benefits of an active lifestyle.
Hoyle believes the project's efforts have raised awareness in the cities of walkers and bikers.
"It is about getting people to stop and think," she said.
They work closely with Champaign and Urbana police, who step up their patrols in school zones at the start of the school year.
For more of this article, visit
http://www.news-gazette.com/news/print/2009/09/06/safe_routes_p

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Klingner and Associates hired by city for engineering work on upgrade at 33rd and Maine (Quincy)
Monday, August 31, 2009

By KELLY WILSON
Herald-Whig Staff Writer


Klingner and Associates will provide $45,000 in engineering services for a Safe Routes to School project on Maine Street near Baldwin School.

Quincy aldermen agreed Monday to retain the Quincy firm for work on the project, which will include improving sidewalks near the school, upgrading the intersection at 33rd and Maine and restriping the pavement marking on Maine from 30th to 36th streets.

“Klingner and Associates has the resources to complete the engineering plans and specifications for an early 2011 bid letting for the project and is familiar with the proposed design and layout of the project because of their work with the Quincy Public School Board to reconstruct the Senior High School and Baldwin School parking lots,” said City Engineer Jeff Steinkamp in a memo to the mayor, aldermen and other city officials.

Council member Jennifer Lepper asked Steinkamp if the city’s engineering department could do some of the engineering work itself. Steinkamp said Klingner and Associates not only has the familiarity with project, but the expertise to handle the “fairly intricate work (to upgrade the intersection) at 33rd and Maine.”

The firm will receive $30,000 for design engineering work and $15,000 for geotechnical, traffic study, right-of-way, environmental and project documentation work.

This contract will bring the total cost of the Safe Routes to School project to $506,000. The city recently received a $250,000 grant from the Safe Routes to School program, which is sponsored by the Illinois Department of Transportation. Previously authorized motor fuel tax funds of $256,000 will pay for the remainder of the project.

In other business...

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New Mapping Tool to Assist with SRTS
Friday, August 28, 2009

The Safe Routes to School National Partnership recently shared with us an exciting new mapping tool, which might be very helpful to you: http://www.saferoadmaps.org/home

The program takes the FARS fatality data from 2003 to present and cross-references it with mapping tools, so that the user can pinpoint exact accident locations. For example, you could type in the address of a school and see what accidents have happened nearby pintpointed on the map - then you can click for the details of when it happened and what the circumstances were.

You can also look at state maps, and then refine them based on criteria (i.e., criteria: bike/ped accidents and age). For instance, you could create a map for Maryland and then refined to only show pedestrians killed between the ages of 0 and 16. Then for each, you can click on the pinpoint to see the details - one for example showed a 1-year old pedestrian killed by a drunk driver.

They also have "heat mapping" to show areas where there is a higher concentration of accidents.


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Mansfield lands two Safe Routes to School grants
Thursday, August 20, 2009

By Margo L. Dill

MANSFIELD – The village of Mansfield has received two grants for the Safe Routes to School program.

The Illinois Department of Transportation recently announced that the village was awarded $2,000 for educational materials and $15,000 for speed feedback trailers and signs. Trustee Bambie Roy wrote the grants with help in the planning stage from Blue Ridge School district administrators, Farnsworth Group engineers, and other trustees.

"We are very thankful to Ms. Roy and the Village of Mansfield for their efforts on behalf of Blue Ridge students," Superintendent Jay Harnack said. "This grant will provide our students with important safety awareness information and help them make safe choices during their trip to school."

Roy said she will meet with administrators and other trustees to decide the best way to spend the money and get the program in place quickly. Mansfield residents will soon see portable electronic speed feedback signs and other safety signs on McKinley Street. Trustees also passed an ordinance a few weeks ago barring through truck traffic on McKinley Street.

Roy said that she wrote a third grant for $250,000 for new sidewalks and sidewalk repair, but the village was not awarded that grant.

According to Roy, many parents will currently not allow their children to walk or ride their bikes to school because of busy streets. She hopes with the safety information and equipment that the grant provides, that will change.

"We think the speed feedback trailers and additional signage will also play an important role in increasing driver awareness of students who are walking and biking to school," Harnack said.



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School notes (North Chicago)
Friday, August 21, 2009

...

North Chicago

Safe routes funding: The Illinois Department of Transportation has awarded the city $144,000 through the Safe Routes to School program. The funds will be used to encourage students to walk and bike to school by adding or repairing sidewalks, replacing or enhancing crosswalks, and installing new and improved signage near K-8 schools.

Safe Routes provides funding to schools and community groups to build safer routes to schools and to provide programs helping students become safer walkers and cyclists.



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Carthage awarded $40,000 for Safe Routes to School
Wednesday, August 19, 2009

By Doug Endres, Staff writer

The Carthage city council heard that the city was awarded nearly $40,000 for the Safe Routes to School program.

Carthage was part of $13.7 million awarded for 171 projects in Illinois. The program is designed to encourage children primarily up to eighth grade to walk or ride a bike to school. It is a federally-funded program through the state's Department of Transportation.

The city received money for educational programs and materials, programs and incentives for children to walk or ride their bikes to school, signs to designate Safe Routes to School, pizza parties, workshops for teachers, police classes, and more. About $10,000 of it is funded through the University of Illinois Extension Office.

The city is also receiving a portable speed trailer.

None of the city's requested sidewalk funds were awarded. The council plans to submit for sidewalk funds again next year.

...

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Pleasantdale Grant Means Sidewalks for Students
Monday, August 17, 2009

THE DOINGS
By JENNIFER ZIMMERMAN

Following the work of two local residents, students walking to Pleasantdale Elementary School will soon have a safer route.

Recently the village of Willow Springs was awarded $399,530 from the Illinois Department of Transportation's Safe Routes to School program to enable and encourage local students to walk and bike to school.

Students from portions of Indian Head Park and Burr Ridge attend the school.

The grant money received will be used to construct sidewalks along German Church Road, School Street, Archer Avenue and Nolton Avenue. It will also be used to install flashing beacons and signs in school zones on German Church Road, Archer Avenue and Nolton as well as help construct a crosswalk on German Church Road with safety signs and reflective striping.

Former Willow Springs Public Works Director Jim Chevalier and Administrative Assistant Gina Scaletta-Nelson applied for the grants with the help of local officials and residents.

The recipients of their grant effort will be the children who attend Pleasantdale Elementary School in unincorporated La Grange and Willow Springs School in Willow Springs.

They hope the sidewalks will help Pleasantdale School District 107 eliminate bus routes and in turn save the district and local taxpayers thousands of dollars each year while improving air quality.

"We hope the community will rally around our efforts to keep kids safe while affording families the opportunity to walk to school. It's a win-win situation," Scaletta-Nelson said. "Less traffic will mean better air quality, families walking will mean better health and fitness and fewer bus routes will mean the money can be used in other areas."

The Illinois Safe Routes to School program provides schools and community groups with funding to build safer routes to schools and to provide programs helping students become safer walkers and cyclists. These improvements include engineering solutions, safety education, encouragement, enforcement and evaluation programs.

The program awarded $13.1 million in federal fund statewide to encourage walking to school.

"With Illinois ranked fourth in the nation for childhood obesity rates, providing children with safe and secure means of walking to school is an important tool to improving the health of our children," said Gov. Pat Quinn.


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Council: A good week for Plano
Monday, August 17, 2009

PLANO — Children heading back to school this fall will have a safer trip to look forward to after Mayor Bob Hausler’s announcement that the Illinois Safe Routes to School Program (SRTS) has awarded the city a $252,000 grant to be used to improve conditions for students who walk or bike to school. This is one of 171 projects statewide awarded a portion of the $13.1 million budget for the “Safe Routes to School” grant.

Projects are funded at 100 percent, meaning the city is not required to match funds. The money comes from the federal transportation bill but is distributed by individual states.

The grant, administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation, is targeted at children in kindergarten through eighth grade. The program will encourage children, including those with disabilities, to walk and bicycle to school and make bicycling and walking to school a safer and more appealing transportation alternative.

The SRTS grant will enable the city to improve and expand sidewalks, add flashing beacons to school crosswalks, host “Walk to School” programs and conduct bicycle safety workshops.

Hausler congratulated the parent who took on the enormous responsibility of completing the grant’s exhaustive application materials. He also thanked the Plano Police Department, Plano schools, city staff members and council members who participated in the application process.

Good news continued as Hausler shared a memo from state Rep. Kay Hatcher announcing that $40,000 has been included in the 2010 Illinois capital budget for infrastructure improvement in Plano.

“All this proves that it’s just a great thing when the city comes together and we get rewarded for the effort,” Hausler said.

In further financial affairs, Bob Bryce, from Westbrook Financial Services, presented the council with a proposed dental plan renewal for city employees. The current plan expires Sept. 1. The major change in the proposal revolved around increasing the deductible per person per calendar year from $50 to $75.

After comparing premiums and benefits offered by competing providers, Bryce recommended the city renew its dental plan with Assurant Health, increasing the deductible to $75. Hausler asked Bryce to schedule a meeting with city employees to explain the parameters of the new plan and answer questions. Approval of the plan will take place at the Aug. 24 city council meeting.

Addressing Plano’s history, guest Larry Atkinson requested and received permission to dig for artifacts on the city block bordered by Main, Hale, North and James streets. Atkinson’s previous digs have revealed two privies and several glass bottles. Recovered items will be donated to the Plano Historical Society.

Addressing Plano’s near future, citizens Valorie Norton and Terry Bronk, owners of the Vineyard Liquor Store, 115 E. South St., requested the council to consider not issuing an additional Class B Liquor License to a new liquor store at 401 E. South St. In the letter submitted to the council, Bronk pointed out that the store would be located less than 1,000 feet from Vineyard and questioned whether downtown Plano needed another liquor store.

The meeting was to be continued at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 17 to discuss construction bids for the new main wellhouse.



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Grant money to help make school sidewalks safer (Mundelin)
Tuesday, August 18, 2009

By JOHN ROSZKOWSKI jroszkowski@pioneerlocal.com
Students will soon have safer routes to walk or bike to school, thanks to grant money received by the village of Mundelein to improve sidewalks near local schools.

Construction work is scheduled to begin shortly in replacing and repairing sidewalks in the areas near Washington and Lincoln elementary schools and Carl Sandburg Middle School.

Assistant Village Administrator Mike Flynn said Mundelein received a $400,000 grant last year through the Illinois Safe Routes to School program to pay for improvements to sidewalks in the general vicinity of those three schools. The Illinois Safe Routes to School program is a federally funded program administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation that supports projects and programs that enable and encourage children to walk or ride their bikes to and from school.

"Safe Routes to School is a program that enables and encourages children to walk and bike to school. It makes walking and biking to school safer and more appealing," Village Engineer Bill Emmerich said.

Flynn said the grant money will be used to replace or repair sections of sidewalk that have fallen into disrepair within about a half-mile radius of Washington, Carl Sandburg and Lincoln schools, and to install new segments of sidewalk in areas where none currently exist.

"We have a lot of sidewalks in those areas that are in need of repair and there are also missing sections where new sidewalk needs to be constructed to make the walk to and from school safer," Flynn said.

Schroeder and Schroeder, Inc. of Antioch has been hired as the general contractor for the sidewalk improvements. Work is scheduled to begin this month and be completed by mid-October.

Mundelein and school officials got more good news recently when they received word the village will receive an additional $250,000 in grant money next year to make sidewalk improvements at Carl Sandburg and Washington schools. That grant will pay for improved sidewalks outside the two schools as well as new bike racks at the schools.

"I just think it's a wonderful piece of news," said Mundelein School District 75 Superintendent Cynthia Heidorn. "We're very excited about the project and look forward to work with the village on their plans for improvements."

In addition to District 75, Emmerich said students at Mundelein High School will also benefit from this year's sidewalk improvement project because much of the work will be in the area of Hawley Street and Midlothian Road.


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Grant to help fund new sidewalks near schools in Pontiac
Sunday, August 16, 2009

Please click on link to see story.

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Sidewalk work (Rochelle)
Friday, August 14th, 2009

Construction continues on 10th Ave. Monday afternoon on the Safe Routes to School sidewalk installation and reconstruction. The project includes sidewalk and miscellaneous curb and gutter improvements on 10th Ave. from Atwood and Cooper Park to Ninth St. near the school. The construction will move sidewalks in the area back, allowing room for snow storage and for kids to be able to walk on the sidewalks in winter after snowfall. Most of the project will be funded by a grant from the Safe Routes to School program, a federal program designed to support projects that enable and encourage walking and bicycling to and from school. (Photo by Jennifer Simmons)


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Safer trips to school (Hickory Hills)
Thursday, August 13, 2009

Grant will fund solar-powered radar boxes

By Matthew Piechalak

A federal infrastructure grant recently secured by Hickory Hills will allow the city to improve both commuter and pedestrian safety around a local junior high school.

The city was awarded a $9,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) through its “Safe Routes to School” program, but officials are still awaiting the cash.

The program provides schools and community groups with funding to build safer routes to school and offers programs that help students become safer walkers and cyclists. The IDOT program has received $23 million in funds from the National Safe Routes to School through the Federal Highway Administration.

The money awarded to Hickory Hills is to fund the installation of two solar-powered radar speed boxes that will be permanently installed on Roberts Road, just north and south of Conrady Junior High School, 7950 W. 97th St.

The boxes will be installed to remind motorists to slow down while driving through the school zone, said Hickory Hills police officer Scott Sodaro. The speed limit on Roberts Road is 35 mph and drops to 20 mph in the school zone, he said.

“ It’s a grant that is specifically designed for infrastructure improvements which will help [more] kids either walk or ride their bikes to school,” Sodaro said. “By making a safer environment, you get more people encouraged to do so.”

There are currently two battery- operated radar boxes secured on poles — one on southbound Roberts Road and the other on the northbound side, Sodaro explained. Since the boxes were installed — along with flashing amber lights that accompany them — police have noticed a “very decisive impact” on the improved safety of the area, Sodaro said. The old boxes could not operate in the winter, but the new boxes will be operational all year long, he said.

“ These boxes ease the speed of the vehicles passing,” Sodaro said. “People often get wrapped up in their thoughts while going to work and they are unaware.

“ If people look and see that it’s an improvement, then they certainly might let [their kids] walk to school. One thing has to proceed the other; they have to see that it is safe first.”

The solar-powered radar boxes should not only ease traffic in a highly congested area, but will be good for the environment and won’t cost taxpayers money because they are not operated on the city’s power grid, Sodaro said.

“ Just slowing cars down, that’s a big win because in the past we’ve had accidents there,” he said.

The grant application included letters of recommendation from Conrady officials and Hickory Hills officials, including public works director Larry Boettcher and Mayor Mike Howley, Sodaro said. It also included statistics dating back to 2006 on accidents involving pedestrians in the area, he said.

“ There was [also] a lot of input from the community, saying, ‘yeah, this would be a good idea,’” Sodaro said.

Sodaro and Hickory Hills Police Chief Alan Vodicka have been very interested for years in finding ways to improve school zone safety in the city, Howley said in a phone interview Tuesday. The solar-powered boxes are to be installed this fall.

“ I think this is a great follow-up to [the amber lights] because there is a fairly significant number of students that walk from the residential neighborhoods to school in the morning,” Howley said.


This is part of the August 13, 2009 online edition of The Reporter.


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Getting SRTS into the Classroom — Free Materials Available
August 2009

Getting SRTS into the Classroom — Free Materials Available

The ability to offer schools lesson plans and curricula that are ready to use makes it much easier for Safe Routes to School concepts to be integrated into the classroom. Free, downloadable resources are available from a variety of sources. Resources are grouped by whether the focus is pedestrian and bicycle safety skills or the environmental benefits of walking and bicycling. See www.walktoschool.org


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Grant will aid in getting kids to school safely (Coal City)
Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Ann Gill Editor

It's estimated that 5.7 percent of Unit #1 School students walk to school on a daily basis. Another 4.59 percent pedal their way and it's not always smooth travels in a community that doesn't have adequate sidewalks, but that's about to change.

The Unit #1 School District learned last week that the villages of Carbon Hill, Coal City and Diamond have been awarded nearly $249,000 to create a safe route for students to travel.

The multi-community grant application is one of 171 projects to be funded with a Safe Routes to School grant, a 100 percent federally funded program designed to enable and encourage children to walk and bike to school.

Teaming up on the grant application, the villages worked hand in hand with the Unit #1 School District to submit a request to construct, replace and repair sidewalks in each of the towns, sidewalks that would provide students in their communities with a direct path to the district's school buildings.

For the school district, it's all about safety, said Superintendent Dr. Kent Bugg, who praised the work of community and school officials who put together the successful grant application.

Diamond Mayor Terry Kernc served as the project manager working with Georgette Vota from the village of Coal City, Karin Kodat from Carbon Hill, Tammy Elledge with the Unit #1 School District and engineer Mike Perry of Chamlin & Associates.

Together the committee put together an application that focused on getting kids to school safely. "We were very realistic in what we wanted and we stuck to that key idea of getting kids to school," Kernc said.

Vota noted that the group worked to connect all of the routes one might take to get to the district's various school buildings.

The funds, $248,731 to be exact, will be used to close gaps in the pedestrian paths and mark the designated school routes.

Sidewalk improvements outlined in the grant call for a 4-foot walk to be constructed on Maple Street and Daisy Place, a 5-foot walkway along Division Street adjacent to the high school and a 4-foot walkway on West Daisy Place and Spring Road.

In Diamond, 4-foot sidewalks are slated for the east and west sides of McGinty south to Division Street, the north and south sides of Regent Court and the west side of Berta Road north and south of Foxgrove.

A 6-foot bike path is slated for the west side of Berta Road, as is a 6-foot wide paved biking and walking trail from the Carbon Hill park to the trailhead at McArdle Road.


As Kodat pointed out, the grant-funded sidewalks will be the only walkways in the town. Residents, she said, will now have a safe means to walk and bike in the village.

The grant proposal received the support of each community, as well as the Coal City Police Department, the sheriff's in Grundy and Will counties, Illinois Department of Transportation, State Rep. Careen Gordon and Morris Hospital and Healthcare Centers.

Kernc, Vota and Kodat said a lot of the credit goes to the school district which enthusiastically came on board to support the effort. The trio praised district curriculum director Tammy Elledge, who did a lot of the initial work in preparing demographics.

"The projects that were picked were ones that received strong support from their schools," Kernc said, noting it was a major factor in determining which of the 200 Safe Route applications received funding.

Bugg said while the main goal in supporting the project was to obtain a means of getting students to and from school safely, there is an added benefit.

Once the new sidewalks have been installed and straight paths exist for students to access buildings, the district will be able to reduce the number of bus routes, which should result in some significant savings for the district.

This is the second Safe Routes grant application to be submitted to the state. The initial request was not fund

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Communities receive Safe Routes to School funds (Peotone, Beecher, Monee)
Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The communities of Peotone, Beecher and Monee have been awarded $700,000 by the Illinois Department of Transportation as part of the Safe Routes to School program that encourages students to walk and bike to school.

The announcement was made by state Rep. Lisa Dugan, D-Bradley.

"Getting to school can be dangerous for children that have to walk or bike," Dugan said. "For many, the deteriorating sidewalks alone can be a hazard, but some routes also lack parental supervision, crossing guards and, in some instances, road signs. This program will help make routes to school safer for our children while teaching them how to be safe while getting to and from school."

Received funding are:

* $250,000 to Peotone to create traffic controls using traffic lights or signs at Route 50/Corning Avenue near Conner Shaw Center, Peotone Jr. High School, and Peotone Elementary School.

* $241,500 for the Monee Elementary Safety Initiat-ive (Monee Elementary School) to construct, replace or repair sidewalks and $8,500 to install, enhance or repair crosswalks.

* $200,000 to Beecher to construct, replace or repair sidewalks near Beecher City Grade School.

The Illinois Safe Routes to School program has received $23 million in funds from the National Safe Routes to School Program through the Federal Highway Admin-istration.

Schools, communities and nonprofit organizations throughout Illinois are eligible to apply for funds to help build safer routes to and from school and to promote walking and biking.

The 171 funded projects include sidewalk repairs, safety training for students and equipment for police and crossing guards.

For additional information or to get involved, visit www.dot.il.gov/saferoutes.

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Harris School Receives Safe Routes to School Grants (Decatur)
Tuesday August 11, 2009

William Harris Elementary School is among the 171 recipients awarded 2008 Safe Routes to School grants this year, according to State Senator Kyle McCarter.

“The purpose behind the program is to encourage children to walk and ride their bikes to school,” said McCarter (R-Lebanon). “Walking and riding a bike is a health habit but we also want the kids to be able to do this safely.”

The federally-funded program is administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT).

IDOT is providing five grants totaling $89,843 for the construction, replacement or repair of sidewalks, the installation of new or improved signage and safety equipment and programs to help students get to and from school.

This year, state transportation officials awarded $13 million for 171 projects. IDOT says nearly 200 applications were received.

Local governments, schools, school districts, non-for-profits, and private organizations may sponsor Safe Routes to School projects.

Information about the program can be obtained online at www.dot.il.gov/saferoutes.



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West Belleville getting first bicycling and walking trail (Signal Hill Elementary)
Monday, August 10, 2009

Signal Hill gets money to encourage kids to walk or bike to school

BY LAURA GIRRESCH - News-Democrat

The west end of Belleville in about a year should have its first bicycling and walking trail and a new traffic signal to allow pedestrians to cross the streets.

The project will be possible with the help of about $250,000 in state grants given to Signal Hill Elementary School to help encourage kids to walk or bike to school; $209,900 will go for the walking and bicycling path and $40,000 will go toward traffic controls.

In total, metro-east schools got $1 million of the $13.7 million the state awarded, and neither the schools nor their communities are required to contribute matching funds.

The west Belleville trail will run for about a quarter of a mile in an old railroad bed from Signal Hill Park to Foley Drive and will connect as many as five neighborhoods, Signal Hill Superintendent Suzette Lambert said, adding that it also will provide walking or biking students with access to Blessed Sacrament School.

"I think the entire west end community benefits from this," Lambert said.

The school has about a year to complete the trail. Belleville City Engineer Tim Gregowicz said the project is part of the city's master park plan. He said the city will work with Signal Hill and the Illinois Department of Transportation, which administers the grant funds, to complete the project.

The other local grants awarded are:

* John A. Renfro Elementary School in Collinsville: $250,000 for sidewalk improvements;

* Columbia Middle School, Parkview Elementary School and Immaculate Conception School: $70,000 to install new or improved signs;

* Freeburg Elementary School, Freeburg Primary Center and St. Joseph School: $245,000 for sidewalk improvements and new signs;

* Shiloh Elementary School, Whiteside Middle School and Shiloh Middle School: $253,750 for walking and bicycling paths, sidewalk improvements and to help teach pedestrian and bicycle safety skills.

The state received almost 200 applications and $27.9 million in requests, according to a news release from Gov. Pat Quinn's office. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration.

"This innovative program reaches out to our youth, instilling in them the healthy habits of physical activity," Quinn said in a press release. "With Illinois ranked fourth in the nation for childhood obesity rates, providing children with a safe and secure means of walking to school is an important tool to improve the health of our children."

Contact reporter Laura Girresch at lgirresch@bnd.com or 239-2507.


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DuPage County briefs: Lisle gets grant money
Monday, August 10, 2009

Daily Herald Staff Reports

Lisle gets grant money

Lisle officials say they will receive $249,668 in federal funding for sidewalk installation as part of the Safe Routes to School grant program. Officials say they'll use the money to install a sidewalk in the neighborhood surrounding Tate Woods Elementary School and replace an existing dirt path at Schiesher Elementary School.



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School route grant approved (Macomb)
Thursday, August 06, 2009

Macomb, Ill. -
Children heading back to school this fall will have a safer trip to look forward to after Wednesday’s announcement that the city has been awarded a grant to improve routes.

“This is an overnight success that we’ve worked on for a year and a half,” Macomb Mayor Mick Wisslead said Thursday.

Improvement of the routes to Macomb schools is one of 171 projects statewide awarded a portion of the $13.1 million budget for the “Safe Routes to School” grant. The city’s share is $201,542.
Wisslead said the state received $27.9 million in funding requests. The money comes from the federal transportation bill but is distributed by individual states.

On Thursday Wisslead credited Macomb Superintendent Dr. Alene Reuschel with helping with the grant effort.

“She was paramount in getting this off the ground,” Wisslead said. “I cannot praise her enough for what she did on this project.”

The traffic pattern surveys necessary for the application were also conducted by the district’s Parent Teacher Organization (PTO).

Macomb Public Works Director Walter Burnett said the money will help redo some curbs and gutters where there currently aren’t any. It will also help with crosswalk additions and sidewalk upgrades.

Burnett said the grant application sought to improve 37,000 linear feet of sidewalk in the city. Because the application was completed many months ago and costs have increased over that time, the amount may be somewhat smaller.

Burnett said the plan is to fix existing sections of bad sidewalk first before starting on any new extensions.

The grant is targeted at children in kindergarten through eighth grade. The city is not required to match the funds with any local money.

The grant also includes an educational component, such as money for “Walk to School” programs and bicycle safety.



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City to build sidewalks, walking bridges with grant
Friday, August 7, 2009

Marion, Ill. -
Ashley Park and streets north of Washington Elementary will receive new sidewalks and bridges with help of the federal government.

The Illinois Safe Routes to School program, funded through the Department of Transportation, awarded $13.1 million to schools with projects encouraging students to walk or bike to school.

“It’s a prime opportunity for the district to do something for the community,” said Washington principal and grant author Deborah Runion. “I like finding ways we can do things to make the community better for everybody.”

Marion received almost $187,000 for three projects. New sidewalks will connect the Hadfield St. neighborhood to Ashley Park, where a new walking/biking bridge will be built across the creek.

Sidewalks will continue onto Virginia St. to Washington Elementary. Stops and crosswalks on Virginia will be enhanced.

A bridge over the creek north of the school also will be constructed along with more sidewalks linking the northeast side of town to the school.

Though Runion wrote the grant for the school district, money will flow directly to the city.

“These are things that could be done through the city budget, but aren’t really in there,” she said. “Now with money through this grant, they’re able to do the projects much quicker and it won’t cost them anything.”

Runion surveyed students and found that 46 percent of the Washington student body lived within 1.5 miles (the district’s definition of walking distance), but only 12 percent of students actually walked to school.

“I hope we can increase the walking and biking population,” she said. “Kids don’t spend enough time being physical. Parents worry about if it’s safe to walk to school. The idea behind this is to make routes safe.”

Runion also wants to develop “walking school bus” routes, which are parent-led groups which walk students to school in a group and pick up children along the way there.

The city also received SRTS funds last year for two traffic speed monitoring devices. Those were going to be tested this spring and summer, but the May 8 storm delayed their debut.

Goreville, Massac Co. and Mt. Vernon also received funds this year.



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Columbia gets $70,000 to protect kids walking to school
Friday, August 07, 2009

News-Democrat

The Illinois Department of Transportation has given a $70,000 grant to the city of Columbia to install speed feedback signs on Main Street near Immaculate Conception School and Parkview Elementary School.

The grant is part of $13.7 million in Safe Routes to School grants that will funded 171 projects in communities across Illinois. The grants, which were announced by Gov. Pat Quinn, will be used to repair sidewalks, train students in safety and provide equipment for police and crossing guards. The federally-funded program is designed to enable and encourage children to walk and bike to school.

"This grant request and the School Safety Plan that led up to it were a true community partnership," said Columbia Mayor Kevin Hutchinson.

The state program applies to schools serving grades kindergarten through 8th.

"This innovative program reaches out to our youth, instilling in them the healthy habits of physical activity," Quinn said. "With Illinois ranked fourth in the nation for childhood obesity rates, providing children with a safe and secure means of walking to school is an important tool to improve the health of our children."



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Galesburg to receive $195,500 for school routes
Thursday, August 6, 2009

By MARCO SANTANA
The Register-Mail
Posted Aug 06, 2009 @ 02:08 PM
Last update Aug 07, 2009 @ 05:45 AM

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
GALESBURG — Two grants totaling $195,500 will allow the city of Galesburg to fix sidewalks near Steele Elementary School and install both speed radar signs and crosswalk signs near eight other schools.

The money was given as part of the federally funded Safe Routes to School grant. Gov. Pat Quinn announced Wednesday that the program had awarded $13.1 million to schools across the state.

“It’s going to help by providing students a safe route to get to and from school and encourage them to walk or bike to school and to events,” said Galesburg Public Information Officer Sue Davidson.

In a news release, Quinn said health had as much to do with the projects awarded as safety.
“With Illinois ranked fourth in the nation for childhood obesity, providing children with a safe and secure means of walking to school is an important tool to improve the health of our children,” he said.

The state received nearly 200 project applications totaling $27.9 million. Ultimately, Galesburg received two of the 171 grants awarded.

The first sidewalk project will be along Bandy Avenue between Water and North streets. This was one of the projects principals, administrators and city officials agreed upon during meetings throughout the year.

The second sidewalk project is on North Street from Bandy Avenue toward Kings Canyon Boulevard.

“The district is pleased with the initiative on the part of the city and applauds both the city’s initiative and the governor’s legislature’s action to approve the funds for the improvements,” said District 205 Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations Guy Cahill.

The sidewalk work will be paid for by a $99,000 grant. A second grant worth $96,500 will pay for the signs.

The signs will include three feedback signs, which tell motorists how fast they are going and have an estimated cost of $20,000 each.

Five solar-powered, flashing crosswalk signs — estimated at about $6,000 each — will be placed in front of other schools.

“We selected projects based on receiving complaints from the school and from the public about people traveling fast on those streets,” said city engineer Wayne Carl.

Safe Schools

Two projects near Steele Elementary School will fix sidewalks and eight schools will receive new safety signs.

Speed radar signs

• King Elementary School

• Lombard Middle School

• Nielson Elementary School

Flashing crosswalk signs

• Churchill Junior High School

• Cooke Elementary School

• King Elementary School

• Lombard Middle School

• Silas Willard Elementary School

msantana@register-mail.com


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City gets Safe Route to School grants to fund projects near schools on Maine, Columbus Road (Qunicy)
Thursday, August 6, 2009

City gets Safe Route to School grants to fund projects near schools on Maine, Columbus Road

By HOLLY WAGNER

Herald-Whig Staff Writer


The city of Quincy will get $250,000 for safety improvements on Maine Street involving Baldwin Intermediate School and Quincy High School, and $206,139 for road and sidewalk improvements at St. Dominic School under the Safe Routes to Schools program.

The federally funded grants are designed to improve safety and encourage children to walk and bike to school.

"It's a good day for grants in Quincy," said Chuck Bevelheimer, Quincy's director of planning and development. "We were able to secure a significant amount of money to help kids get to school safer."

The project on Maine Street will add sidewalks between 30th and 36th and create an intersection at 33rd Street with a center turning lane. It will eliminate an opening to the school parking lots off Maine, which was planned in conjunction with the Quincy School District's project to resurface the parking lot at the high school.

The Quincy School Board saw plans for the lot this spring, which was expected to cost about $1.3 million. The lot resurfacing already has been approved as a life-safety project. The district would do the work next summer.

The city already has committed $250,000 from its motor fuel tax toward the intersection project.

"We can't do the level of work we're doing for the amount of money the Safe Routes is providing," Bevelheimer said.

At St. Dominic, the funds will be used to widen Columbus Road, add sidewalks on the school side and fix the crosswalk. The city will collaborate with Adams County on the project.

Bevelheimer said he's learned what projects will be funded after the first round of applications. He submitted 15 projects and only one was funded: the Payson Road improvements and sidewalks for Monroe Elementary School.

"This time we focused on projects that directly impacted the schools," he said.

Quincy was one of five Western Illinois communities to receive some of the $13.1 million in Safe Routes funds granted to Illinois. About 200 Illinois cities applied, and 171 were funded.

Carthage will get about $40,000 for health and personal safety education, Mount Sterling will get $6,000 to start a walking/biking club, Macomb will use $201,000 for sidewalks, and Rushville will get $460,000 to improve disabled student accessibility.


-- hwagner@whig.com/221-3374


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City receives $190k grant for sidewalk work (Pontiac, IL)
Thursday, August 6, 2009

Pontiac, Ill. -
The city of Pontiac announced today that it won its first-ever $190,014 Safe Routes to School grant to improve city sidewalks near schools.
“We did get a grant for Safe Routes To Schools through IDOT (Illinois Department of Transportation) for sidewalk repairs and sign improvements around schools,” said Pontiac Mayor Bob Russell. He added that IDOT would be sending the criteria for use of the funds. The city will pay for the work and be reimbursed by IDOT.
The grant research process began in June 2008 and continued through the winter. Pontiac’s city council approved a Safe Routes Resolution on Oct. 6, 2008, and submitted it to IDOT for review in December 2008. Officials expect the work to occur within two to three years.
Pontiac Street Superintendent Chris Brock contends that the reason officials initiated Safe Routes in Pontiac was a stretch of old sidewalk overgrown with grass at Lincoln School on Reynolds Street next to the school playground.
“In a lot of areas there are not very good sidewalks for kids to walk on, so most of the time they’re walking on the middle of the street,” Brock said, adding that the kids could get around the school areas safely on bikes or walking to playgrounds.
The city received $188,314 for sidewalk repairs, construction and cross walks that are compliant with the American With Disabilities Act. The city will also receive $2,500 to upgrade street signs around the schools, totaling $190,014. The signs will be advanced warning road signs for cross walks and school speed zones.
A total of 7,952 feet of sidewalk citywide will be repaired or replaced. This will be at Livingston and Prairie streets in a corridor between the Central School-St. Mary’s School area and the Washington School-Jr. High School complex, and in the Lincoln School area on South Reynolds, Henry and Main streets, according to the city.
“It’s a joint effort between us and the school district,” Brock said. “The goal of the program is to encourage the kids to walk to school.”
City officials met with District 429 officials and sent out surveys, officials said. The district provided data on the number of children that walk to school and the number of areas, although the actual number is not known at this time.
IDOT’s grant work requirements do not affect the new attendance centers arrangement.
“The areas that the district needed attention coincided with the city’s,” said District 429 Superintendent Steve Graham. “Anyone that lives within a mile and a half from whatever school they would be going to would walk to school.”
However, every student that attends Central is eligible to take the bus, because Central will have early childhood/special education, pre-k, kindergarten and first grade students as one of the Attendance Center. Sidewalks will be improved to the junior high where kids could walk to school comfortably, Graham said.



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Gov. Quinn Announces $13 Million is Awarded to Communities to Create Safe Routes to School
Wednesday, August 5, 2009

CHICAGO--(ENEWSPF)--August 5, 2009. Governor Pat Quinn today announced $13.1 million in Safe Routes to School grants to schools and communities across the state. This 100 percent federally funded program is designed to enable and encourage children to walk and bike to school.

“This innovative program reaches out to our youth, instilling in them the healthy habits of physical activity,” said Governor Quinn. “With Illinois ranked fourth in the nation for childhood obesity rates, providing children with a safe and secure means of walking to school is an important tool to improve the health of our children.”

The 171 funded projects include projects encompassing everything from sidewalk repair to safety training for students and equipment for police and crossing guards. Safe Routes to School encourages a holistic approach to make it safer and more practical for children to walk to school, using the Five E’s: engineering, encouragement, education, enforcement and encouragement.

IDOT Secretary Gary Hannig stated that the agency received almost 200 applications adding up to $27.9 million in requests,” Hannig said. “Safe Routes to School has become a part of many Illinois schools and communities, and we encourage anyone who is interested in implementing Safe Routes to contact the Department for information on how to bring Safe Routes to your community.”

Safe Routes to School is a program of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration. The program is designed to:

• Enable and encourage children, including those with disabilities, to walk and bicycle to school;
• Make bicycling and walking to school a safer and more appealing transportation option, encouraging a healthy and active lifestyle from an early age; and
• Facilitate projects and activities that will improve safety and reduce traffic, fuel consumption, and air pollution in the vicinity of primary and middle schools
(Grades K-8).





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Gov. Quinn announces $13 million is awarded to communities to create Safe Routes to School - IGNN
Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Program is designed to promote a healthier, more active lifestyle for children in grades K-8

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today announced $13.1 million in Safe Routes to School grants to schools and communities across the state. This 100 percent federally funded program is designed to enable and encourage children to walk and bike to school.

“This innovative program reaches out to our youth, instilling in them the healthy habits of physical activity,” said Governor Quinn. “With Illinois ranked fourth in the nation for childhood obesity rates, providing children with a safe and secure means of walking to school is an important tool to improve the health of our children.”

The 171 funded projects include projects encompassing everything from sidewalk repair to safety training for students and equipment for police and crossing guards. Safe Routes to School encourages a holistic approach to make it safer and more practical for children to walk to school, using the Five E’s: engineering, encouragement, education, enforcement and encouragement.

IDOT Secretary Gary Hannig stated that the agency received almost 200 applications adding up to $27.9 million in requests,” Hannig said. “Safe Routes to School has become a part of many Illinois schools and communities, and we encourage anyone who is interested in implementing Safe Routes to contact the Department for information on how to bring Safe Routes to your community.”

Safe Routes to School is a program of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration. The program is designed to:

• Enable and encourage children, including those with disabilities, to walk and bicycle to school;
• Make bicycling and walking to school a safer and more appealing transportation option, encouraging a healthy and active lifestyle from an early age; and
• Facilitate projects and activities that will improve safety and reduce traffic, fuel consumption, and air pollution in the vicinity of primary and middle schools
(Grades K-8).

The complete list of grants in Illinois is available on the web at: www.dot.il.gov/saferoutes



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Study Finds Physically Fit Students Post Higher Academic Test Scores Than Less Fit Peers
Friday, July 24, 2009

A study conducted by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DMH) and Department of Education finds that physically fit students perform better on academic tests than their less fit counterparts, United Press International reports. To examine the correlation between physical fitness and academic performance, researchers reviewed the academic and fitness records of students attending kindergarten through eighth grade in New York City public school who participated in the New York City FITNESSGRAM, a standards-based fitness curriculum and assessment. The researchers found that scores on standardized English language arts and math tests increased accordingly with higher FITNESSGRAM assessment scores for all racial and ethnic groups. Noting that physical activity has proven benefits in regard to reducing obesity and mitigating its associated health consequences, New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley contends that the report "suggests that healthy, active kids also learn better." To that end, the report provides recommendations for parents, schools and health care providers to encourage daily physical activity and healthy eating habits. According to the report, parents should ensure their children engage in at least one hour of physical activity daily; limit television, video game and Internet use; prepare healthy meals at home; and provide low-calorie beverage options. In addition, school leaders should ensure that all students receive the required physical education instruction each week, provide skills-based health education and encourage students to consume healthy food items provided by the school. The report also notes that teachers and administrators can encourage fitness breaks in classrooms through planned physical activity

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Updated Data Collection Forms from the National Center for SRTS
Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The National Center for Safe Routes to School announces the release of the newly redesigned Student Travel Tally and Parent Survey forms.

These redesigned forms are aimed at increasing user friendliness and completion compliance and making data processing easier. The redesigned forms contain the same content and questions that exist on the 2-day Student Travel Tally and 2-page Parent Survey that many of your local SRTS programs have been using.

The National Center wants you to be aware of the change. If your state encourages, requires, contains programs interested in using the Student Travel Tally and/or Parent Survey, we ask that you inform these existing and potential programs of the newly redesigned forms. The National Center also is making efforts to let people know about the redesigned forms. We have sent a message to the email addresses currently in our online SRTS data system and we have a plug in the June-July e-newsletter of Safe Routes Matters.

The redesigned forms are downloadable from the same web address as before so for those of you who have a SRTS website and link to our data collection section, you probably won't have to change the link on your website.

To access a PDF of the Student Travel Tally please visit

www.saferoutesinfo.org/resources/evaluation_student-in-class-travel-talley.cfm

and PDFs of the English and Spanish Parent Surveys are available at

www.saferoutesinfo.org/resources/evaluation_parent-survey.cfm

Below are a few guidelines that we ask communities to follow when copying and preparing to mail the forms to the Center. Following these guidelines helps ensure the data can be entered and processed in a timely manner.

1) Print or photocopy the forms onto white paper.

2) When photocopying, maintain the forms existing size and margins, please do not reduce or enlarge the image.

3) Each 2-page Parent Survey can be printed front and back on one piece of paper.

4) Don't delete, rearrange or alter questions or answer choices.

5) If the local program makes copies of the completed forms to retain for their records, they should mail the original copies to the National Center for processing.

6) Cover sheets and instructions for mailing their completed forms to the National Center for processing are available at:

www.saferoutesinfo.org/resources/evaluation_cover-sheets.cfm

For more detailed instructions on downloading, printing, administering and mailing the forms please visit

www.saferoutesinfo.org/resources/evaluation_instructions.cfm


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Apply for the Oberstar Award - All Local SRTS Programs Are Eligible!
Thursday, June 25, 2009

The deadline for applications is July 15. To access the award application and criteria, please visit www.saferoutesinfo.org/oberstar.

The Oberstar SRTS Award will recognize the impact of the Federal Safe Routes to School program at the local level. The National Center seeks to recognize outstanding achievement by a school or community in establishing a Safe Routes to School program with Federal funding while overcoming challenges.

Oberstar SRTS Award applications can be downloaded and completed online at www.saferoutesinfo.org/oberstar. For any additional information or questions, please contact Pam Barth at (919) 962-8717 or at barth@hsrc.unc.edu.


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Potential New Law regarding No Phones in School Zones
Monday, June 8, 2009

No Phones in School Zones (HB 72)


Background:

Existing Illinois law (625 ILCS 5/12-610.1) prohibits the use of wireless phones by most minors while driving on Illinois roads. However, there were no prohibitions on the use of wireless phones by any other drivers.

Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of crashes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that up to 80% of crashes are caused by driver inattention/distracted driving. Dialing on a cell phone can increase the chance of crashing by 1.3 times. As many as 10% of Illinois drivers are estimated to be using their mobile phones at any given moment in time.

The Distracted Drivers Task Force was created by resolution by the Illinois General Assembly. The Task Force issued its final report in 2008, recommending a ban on the use of cell phones while driving through highway construction and school zones.

The New Law:

HB 72, passed by the Illinois General Assembly in 2009, bans the use of cell phones by drivers while traveling on a roadway through a marked highway construction or school zone. The law contains an exemption for people using voice-activated mobile phones.



For More Information

Dan Persky
Active Transportation Alliance
9 W. Hubbard, Suite 402
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 427-3325 Ext. 229
dan@activetrans.org


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Potential New Law Regarding Speeding in School Zones
Monday, June 8, 2009

School Safety Improvements (SB 75)

Background:

Illinois law (625 ILCS 5/11-605f) allows for enhanced fines for certain moving violations in school zones. A portion of the enhanced fine ($50) is given to the school district. Previously the law was very restrictive on the use of those monies for “costs associated with school zone safety education and the purchase, installation, and maintenance of caution lights which are mounted on school speed zone signs” (625 ILCS 5/11-605f).

Many school districts have comprehensive safety and active transportation programs that could benefit from more flexible funding. SB 75 provides that flexibility and new revenues for school safety improvements.

The New Law:

SB 75, passed by the Illinois General Assembly in 2009, provides school districts flexibility in their use of school zone safety violations fines. The bill authorizes use of the funds for any Safe Routes to School or School Safety and Educational Improvement Block Grant program. This will provide a stable funding source for Safe Routes to School. The funding will supplement the school safety block grant funds.

School districts should already be receiving money from their county courts for the specified violations. If a school district is not receiving money, contact the clerk of the county court. Once the money is received, the school district can use the money for any of the allowed purposes.

Projects That Could Be Funded:
• Security cameras
• New crosswalks
• School safety signage
• Bicycle and pedestrian safety instruction
• Bike racks
• Walking School Bus programs
• Walk and Roll to School Day events


For More Information

Melody Geraci
Active Transportation Alliance
9 W. Hubbard, Suite 402
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 427-3325 Ext. 240
melody@activetrans.org



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Project to make safe route in Tilton School area (Rochelle)
Friday, June 5, 2009

ROCHELLE — City officials are taking steps this summer to ensure elementary students can get to school safely next school year.

Construction will begin this summer on road improvements in the Tilton School area, which City Engineer Sam Tesreau said will help students travel safely in inclement weather.
“Right now, there are issues in the winter when snowplowing occurs,” he said. “The snow typically gets pushed onto the sidewalk, forcing the kids to walk in the street.”
The construction will move sidewalks in the area back, allowing room for snow storage and for kids to be able to walk on the sidewalks. The project will include construction of sidewalks and improvements to existing infrastructure on 10th Ave. from Atwood and Cooper Park to 9th St. in the Tilton School area.

Most of the project will be funded by a grant from the Safe Routes to School program, a federal program designed to support projects that enable and encourage walking and bicycling to and from school. City staff submitted an application for funding through the program in June of 2007 and in March of 2008, the Illinois Department of Transportation approved $216,115 of funds for the project.
Tilton Principal Tony Doyle said the projects will bring welcome improvements to the area around the school.

“Safety is our number one priority, so anything we can do to provide increased safety measures for students and staff is good for the community,” he said.

During the Rochelle City Council meeting on Tuesday, May 26, Tesreau told council members that plans for the project have been completed and approved by IDOT. As required by IDOT, the council approved a resolution authorizing an officials to execute a local joint agreement for federal participation prior to advertisement for bids.

Tresreau said he expected to let the project for bid on June 12 and construction will begin shortly thereafter.

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Applications Open for 2009 Oberstar Safe Routes to School Award
Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Applications Open for 2009 Oberstar Safe Routes to School Award

June 3, 2009

CHAPEL HILL — The National Center for Safe Routes to School is now accepting applications for the 2009 James L. Oberstar Safe Routes to School Award. The deadline for applications is July 15, 2009. To access the award application and criteria, please visit www.saferoutesinfo.org/oberstar.

The Oberstar Award is given annually by the National Center for Safe Routes to School to an exemplary Safe Routes to School program in the United States. The 2009 Oberstar Award will recognize outstanding achievement by a school or community in conducting a SRTS program that benefited from the Federal SRTS funding awarded by its State. The Award specifically will recognize a school with a Safe Routes to School program that has achieved success while overcoming challenges in implementing and/or sustaining the program.

“We realize that programs with outstanding achievements have had to find ways to address local challenges,” says Lauren Marchetti, Director of the National Center for Safe Routes to School. “We want to recognize current issues affecting our schoolchildren and how schools are dealing with these issues. We ask the applicants to describe how Safe Routes to School addressed any type of adversity or challenge – in their own terms and within the realities of their own environments.”

The award is named for Congressman Oberstar (D-MN) to honor his dedication to American schoolchildren as the pioneer for the National Safe Routes to School Program. Oberstar, current Chairman of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, sponsored the Safe Routes to School legislation that strives to create safe settings to enable more parents and children to walk and bicycle to school.

States have announced funding for more than 5,200 schools and communities throughout the U.S. to conduct Safe Routes to School programs as a way to meet the challenges posed by safety, health and environmental concerns.

Bear Creek Elementary School, in Boulder, Colorado, received the 2008 Oberstar SRTS Award for Outstanding Local Program. The school is one of the first in the country to have walking school buses throughout the school year. Parent volunteers keep track of students’ travel through monthly tallies, and Kent Cruger, principal at Bear Creek Elementary, challenges students daily with his own examples of car-free travel.

In 2007, the Oberstar Award recognized the efforts of State Departments of Transportation in implementing Safe Routes to School programs from the ground up. The Michigan Department of Transportation received the Oberstar SRTS Award for its quick start up of a statewide program, and Delaware DOT received a special recognition for its staff’s skillful problem-solving which allowed for smooth implementation by local communities.

Organizations that promote pedestrian and bicycle safety offer their expertise in reviewing the applications received by the National Center for Safe Routes to School. America Walks, the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the Governors Highway Safety Association, the Institute of Transportation Engineers, the National Center for Bicycling and Walking and Toole Design Group all were among the organizations that assisted the National Center for Safe Routes to School in the 2008 selection process.

In July 2005, Congress passed federal legislation that established a national Safe Routes to School program. The program dedicated a total of $612 million towards Safe Routes to School from 2005 to 2009. These funds are made available to individual States to develop and administer Safe Routes to School Programs through the Department of Transportation.



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National Great Outdoors Month 2009 Proclamation
Monday, June 1, 2009

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION

The United States is blessed with unparalleled natural beauty. From remote forests to urban parks, these spaces have inspired visitors for generations. Today, these areas continue to raise the human spirit in those who experience them. During the month of June, I encourage Americans to pay tribute to and preserve the great outdoors.

Americans of all ages can find calm and enjoyment in our Nation's vast outdoors. Those desiring quiet or solitude can explore one of our many National Parks, which offer tranquil and pristine surroundings. Those seeking recreation can also explore public lands, or they can simply run, bicycle, or fish in areas close to their homes. Whether near or far, the outdoors offers unique experiences.

Exploring the great outdoors can also help improve one's health. These spaces provide countless venues for walking, hiking, running, swimming, and boating, among other activities. Americans can combine the enjoyment of being outside with the exercise we all need to stay healthy.
My Administration is working to connect America's youth with our treasured landscapes, which should be viewed as classrooms for environmental education and gateways to careers in natural resources. These efforts will include outreach to those who typically lack representation in, and exposure to, these fields. The Department of the Interior is launching a summer mentoring initiative as part of this effort. This program invites families and friends to teach children about the joys and wonders of the outdoors. My Administration is also increasing the number of youth involved in national service on public lands. Through AmeriCorps and other programs and partnerships, we can continue our Nation's proud tradition of service and respect for the environment.
Americans are fortunate to have so many beautiful natural wonders and open spaces. I encourage all in our Nation to enjoy these resources and to help protect them for future generations. Together, we can carry forward our Nation's proud tradition of admiration and preservation of the great outdoors.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do
more hereby proclaim June 2009 as Great Outdoors Month. I encourage all Americans to spend more time outside and to participate in the nationwide events marking this occasion.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
first day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.


BARACK OBAMA

# # #


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The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center Launches Updated Free Image Library
Monday, June 1, 2009

CHAPEL HILL, NC – The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center announces the launch of the updated and redesigned pedestrian and bicycle image library at www.pedbikeimages.org.

The PBIC Image Library is a searchable collection of free, high-quality images relating to walking and bicycling. Visitors to the site may use the images in any non-commercial projects including web pages, presentations and reports. There are no per-image costs, royalties, or extra payments for the images, but users must adhere to the Usage Guidelines posted on the site at www.pedbikeimages.org/usage.cfm.

The updated site features hundreds of fresh images of people, transportation facilities, and livable places in the US and in more than 10 other countries. The images can be searched for using keywords, or users can browse by popular search terms. Users can also search for images from specific states or countries, photos taken by a particular photographer, or for a specific format or print quality.

The PBIC would like to encourage users to submit their own pedestrian and bicycle-related photos. For the next 6 weeks starting on June 1, users who submit their own related images will be automatically entered in a weekly random drawing. Users will be entered into the drawing for each image they submit, so your odds of winning increase as you submit more photos. The winning recipient for each week will receive one PBIC retro-reflective bike pants strap.

The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center is funded through the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and maintained by the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center.



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Urbana Set to Unveil New School Zone Signs Friday
May 25, 2009

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Register for 2009 Walk to School Day
April 27, 2009

Registration is now open for Walk to School Day – October 7, 2009

News Release

CHAPEL HILL, NC —Registration is open for 2009 Walk to School Day, an international event where communities from more than 40 countries join together to walk and bicycle to school. Walk to School Day is October 7, 2009.

To register a Walk to School event, please visit www.walktoschool.org/register. Registration is free and available to individuals or organizations holding an event in the U.S. Registered schools will be displayed on an interactive map on the U.S. Walk to School Web site (www.walktoschool.org), where neighboring communities, media and other organizations will be able to view participating schools.

By registering, Walk to School organizers gain access to a variety of downloadable materials, including certificates, templates for printing stickers and a frequent walker punch card. Registrants can also subscribe to a weekly Walk to School e-newsletter with tips and resources on holding a Walk to School event.

Since 1997, communities around the country have been celebrating Walk to School Day. In its twelfth year, participation reached a record high with more than 2,800 events from all fifty states and the District of Columbia registering on the Walk to School Web site
(www.walktoschool.org) in 2008. Many more communities held events but did not register. Around the globe, International Walk to School Month brought together more than 40 countries in recognition of the common interest in walking to school.

Walk to School events are a way for schools and communities to build enthusiasm for walking to school, promote the benefits of walking and bicycling and bring visibility to any safety concerns. More than one-half (55 percent) of events are part of ongoing efforts to promote walking and bicycling throughout the year. According to a survey by the National Center for Safe Routes to School (www.saferoutesinfo.org), the top three reasons communities participate in Walk to School Day are:
physical activity/obesity prevention, support for a Safe Routes to School program, and pedestrian safety.

For more information on Walk to School activities in the U.S., please visit www.walktoschool.org. To see photos from past events, please visit www.iwalktoschool.org/photos/. Both the U.S. and the International Walk to School Web sites are hosted by the National Center for Safe Routes to School.

For more information, contact Raquel Rivas at (919) 962-5835 or rivas@hsrc.unc.edu.


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GOATS plan bike rodeo, with help from friends (Galena)
Tuesday, April 28, 2009

by Richard Clark

GALENA-Before you decide that the Gazette has become unduly capricious, be advised that "GOATS" (Go Out And Tour Somewhere) is the name chosen by a group of local bicycling enthusiasts for their informal biking club. GOATS President Dan Harms says they have about 25 very active members and about 20 casual members.

Better weather, summer vacations, the Safe Routes to School improvements, the swimming pool opening, the new paved sidewalk/bike path to Recreation Park, and the new east side dike path are all likely to increase bicycle and particularly youthful bicycle traffic.

Given that, the GOATS decided it would be a good idea to offer a program demonstrating techniques to make bicycling safer for young and beginning cyclists. It's an all-volunteer effort.

GOAT (and Galena Building Official) Duff Stewart mentioned the idea to Galena Police Chief Jerry Westemeier, who immediately said volunteers from the Galena Police Department would help with running a bicycle rodeo.

Galena Facilities Manager Craig Albaugh, who is supervising the Safe Routes to School program, said that although no city funds are directly involved, the city will get favorable recognition from the state for supporting a volunteer effort to promote bike safety.

The GOATS also contacted the League of Illinois Bicyclists (LIB), a statewide organization, which has provided information, training materials, and a training session for the adult volunteers who will work with the kids at the rodeo.

What happens at a bike rodeo?

The GOATS' free bike-riding techniques program will be held in Recreation Park on Saturday, May 9, from 9 a.m. to noon, at the swimming pool parking lot.

A refreshment stand will be available at the rodeo; profits from the stand will go to support the Galena School Band.

Stewart said the program is open to young people "ages five to 15," from Galena and the surrounding area. No pre-registration is required.

"People can come any time between nine and noon," Stewart said. "We'd like to have the kids show up with their bikes and helmets, because they can't participate in the riding part of the program without helmets. There will be a limited supply of helmets available at the site, but the supply is limited."

At the first station on the training course, the bikes will be registered and given a free licence sticker for their bikes. Licensing and registering will make the bike much easier to identify if it is lost or stolen.

At the next station, the bike shop, a bike inspector will give each bike a cursory inspection to make sure is safe to operate, and helmets will be checked for proper fit. The bike inspector can't make repairs, but can point out any serious defects that might make the bike unsafe to use. Volunteers from Bicycle World of Dubuque will staff the bike shop station.

The next station will be the " Demon Driveway." This includes a simulated traffic situation to help teach young cyclists how to enter the traffic stream safely when coming out of a driveway.

The next station, "Who's There?" will coach cyclists on the proper technique to stay in a straight line when looking back over their left shoulder to check on traffic behind them. Stewart said that all people, not just kids, tend to twist their bodies and the direction of their bikes when looking back.

The next station, the Rock Dodge, simulates rocks or small objects in the roadway which the cyclist must avoid. After successful completion of the course, young bikers will receive a certificate indicating that they have completed the course.

Harms stressed that the rodeo will be a "teaching and learning environment, not a test." He said if a biker makes a mistake on the first try at any of the stations, they will be allowed to repeat ...

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Bike Project Volunteer Headed to Iraq/Champaign Urbana Bike Rodeo
April 15, 2009

Thursday nights at The Bike Project will be a little lonely for the next year, as longtime volunteer Paul Ceroke will be headed to Iraq with the Army National Guard. Paul is a fantastic mechanic, and his expertise on three-speed wheels and detail-oriented approach to wheelbuilding and frame painting will be missed. Paul's headed out of town next week for some training, and will be in Iraq around the first of June. Keep him in your thoughts and prayers over the coming year.
Bike rodeo at Kenwood Elementary: Next Wednesday, April 22, there will be a bike rodeo at Kenwood Elementary (1001 Stratford Dr., Champaign) from 6 to 8 p.m. Rose Hudson of C-U Safe Routes to School answered some questions about the rodeo:
Smile Politely: What activities will be part of the rodeo?
Rose Hudson: We will be hosting a six-station bike rodeo. The stations will include skills such as biking in a straight line; stopping and staying in control; weaving through cones without running over them; biking slowly and staying in control, etc. Bike safety information will also be available to take home as well as a helmet fitting station where families get instruction on how to properly fit a bike helmet.
SP: Is there any sign-up or cost necessary to participate in the rodeo?
RH: The Kenwood PTA and C-U SRTS Project are co-sponsoring this event during National No T.V. Week in hopes of getting Kenwood families out to participate in a fun, free, safety clinic designed to get more people biking and staying safe. Getting safety information to the families will hopefully get more families biking together and helping them to move towards a healthier lifestyle (with no carbon footprints!).
SP: Any age restrictions or recommended age?
RH: The bike rodeo is geared toward children between 5 and 12 (approximately). Some children have been on bikes for many years, some children have never had the opportunity to be on a bike so this is their first experience. The obstacle course can be used for both skill levels - to teach safety to the first timers, or to show where improvement could be used for others.
SP: What would kids need to bring: bike, own helmet, etc.?
RH: Families should bring their bikes and helmets, but if they do not have bikes or helmets, we will have some that can be used for the rodeo. If families have questions on proper helmet fitting, they should bring their helmet and we can help answer those questionst.
SP: If there's anything else you'd like to add, feel free. Thanks!
RH: The Kenwood PTA thought this would be a great school-wide family activity during National No T.V. week, to get families out of the house and doing something together that could be fun and educational at the same time. The PTA and C-U SRTS Project will have items such as helmets to give away, as well as The Bike Project donating a bike to give away!


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Grant for speed traps protects school zones (Champaign-Urbana)
April 14th, 2009 - 11:30 AM


Colleen Vest

Rose Hudson, a crossing guard at Bottenfield Elementary School, 1801 S. Prospect Ave., in Champaign, said helping children across the street can be dangerous when drivers are distracted or do not follow the speed limit.

"We aren't at a corner, so we cross kids at four lanes of traffic," Hudson said. "Speeding is a big issue because we know it's a school zone but people are in a rush and don't follow it."

The Champaign Police Department resumed carrying out the speed enforcement grant, issued by the Illinois Department of Transportation, on April 1 in an attempt to curb speeding.

"The grant puts more uniform squad cars out and is tied to areas with more accidents," said Champaign Police Sgt. Dave Griffet. "It's an added resource in a tough economic time because it's getting harder and harder to get money to make the community safe."

This is the third year that the grant has been issued to the police department. The grant is for $34,000 to pay for personnel and reimbursement for time and mileage, Griffet said.

"The grant allows us to fill two extra slots a day for seven days a week in addition to the regular police out," Griffet said.

The grant is for six months worth of money to be used within 12 months of when it was issued. The grant was issued in September 2008 and was in effect during November. It will also be in effect for April, May, June, August and September.

"We make sure to enforce it during August and September because that's when school is getting ready to start again," Griffet said. "We don't use the grant in December and January mainly because the bad weather is not conducive to catch speeders."

The extra officers could be at any part of the four streets the grant covers: University Avenue between Mattis Avenue and Wright Street; Church Street between State Street and Mattis Avenue; Windsor Road between Neil Street and Staley Road; and Neil Street between Windsor Road and Interstate 74, Griffet said.

"Unless it costs money, people don't pay attention, so it's good that the officers are out writing tickets," Hudson said. "Parents who live close are afraid to walk their kids to school, so I love that we have grant money to enforce school zones and other areas."

Bradley Avenue, one of the areas covered by the speed enforcement grant last year, saw a significant decrease in speeders, Griffet said.

"A majority of the tickets issued are for 10 miles or more over the limit," Griffet said.

Marci Dodds, Champaign City Councilwoman for District 4, said constituents bring up speeding problems and safety regularly.

"Speeding and possibly lowering the speed limit has been brought up to the council before, but lowering it just isn't an option right now," Dodds said. "The grant helps pay for speed enforcement and takes the pressure off the city to pay for it."



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City, D-80 team up for 'Race to Chicago'
April 13, 2009 08:51 am

By TESA CULLI

tesa.culli@register-news.com

MT. VERNON — The city tourism department and District 80 are partnering to promote not only physical fitness but tourism with a “Race to Chicago.”

“We came up with the idea and had a little bit of money left from the Safe Routes to School Grant,” Tourism Director Bonnie Jerdon said. “We’re working out the final details with the school district, and will be able to start soon.”

Safe Routes to School is a federal program that enables and encourages walking and bicycling to and from school and applies to schools serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Jerdon said there is $2,000 left in the grant awarded to the city which will be used for the “race” activity.

“We have purchased 120 pedometers, education material on DVD and books with physical activity to go in the school libraries, some little plastic feet and rewards for the program.”

The idea is simple: Measure how many miles a team of students walk during school with the goal to go the 274 miles it would take to get to Chicago. Milestone awards representing what city or area the student would be in if they were actually taking the walk are given throughout the “journey.”

“They will chart their progress along the way,” Jerdon explained. “When I was in Chicago at [the Illinois Tourism Conference], I picked up some items such as maps and postcards, things to make them feel like they are there.”

The Race will target children at the Primary Center and the Intermediate Center, Jerdon said. In addition, there may be some challenges to make it a true race.

“I’ve been challenging kids in education for 33 years, and they’ve been challenging me,” said Mayor Mary Jane Chesley, a retired teacher. “I want to challenge the kids to walk to Chicago, and I will let them challenge a team I put together to do the same.”

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Grants make routes to 10 schools safer: Recipients get training on implementing bike and pedestrian safety programs(Children's Hospital of Central Illinois)
April 1, 2009

By CATHARINE SCHAIDLE OF THE JOURNAL STAR

PEORIA — When Annmarie Klein volunteered for traffic duty at her children's school last fall, she discovered the environment around St. Patrick School in Washington was rather hazardous.

"I noticed how unsafe things are - just the way people and children were about following basic traffic rules, running in-between cars - and I felt we had to do something."

So with another parent, Sharon Asher, Klein approached St. Patrick's Principal Dr. Sharon Weiss, who encouraged them to study the situation and find solutions.

Through her research she met Kristan Creek, education coordinator for Children's Hospital of Illinois. Creek administers safety education grants from the Illinois Department of Transportation.

"I had never written a grant before," Klein said. "She was a big help."

The first grant was for infrastructure to add additional street signage and traffic safety lights and install crosswalks around the school campus under the Illinois Safe Routes to School program.

The next grant was for educating the school community.

"Our goal is to get other parents involved with what we learn here so we can get the message out," Asher said. "They're giving us all the material, so it's just a matter of implementing it with the tools they give us."

On Wednesday, Klein and Asher, along with two teachers, represented St. Patrick School at the training session on implementing a school-based bike and pedestrian safety program. Representatives of nine other schools also attended the session at Bicycle Safety Town on Sheridan Road.

The Children's Hospital received a $50,000 grant to distribute among the 10 central Illinois schools.

"We have created tool kits for all the schools about incorporating safety to minimize injuries and accident," Creek said.

Although students at rural schools may not have the same traffic density to contend with, Creek said, "At some point in their lives they will, so they need to have the skills to deal with it."

Established in 2005 as a federal-aid program, Illinois Safe Routes to School was created because of a decline in walking and biking to school that has led to traffic congestion, poor air quality and health problems such as diabetes and obesity.

"We already had sidewalks put in last year, and even though many of the kids already walk to school, we want to encourage more to do it," said Lindsey Nyberg, a kindergarten teacher at Norwood Primary School.

"We also want to walk around the neighborhood of the school and talk to families in the community to get involved in safety," said Holly Lehman, a physical education teacher at the school. "We want the children to have a safe house to run to if they feel they are in danger, and just generally make the community aware that kids are around, and they should look out for them."



Catharine Schaidle can be reached at 686-3290 or cschaidle@pjstar.com.


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Germantown Hills residents relieved sidewalks will be built near school
Wednesday, March 11, 2009

GERMANTOWN HILLS — Connie Wang was delighted to hear sidewalks will be built in her neighborhood to let children walk safely to Germantown Hills Elementary school.

"That would be so outstanding," said Wang. She and her husband, Larry, have two children in the school district.

The plan is to add sidewalks to Fandel Road, where the school is located at the corner of Illinois Route 116, up to Windsor Drive.

"I see all the moms with their baby carriages and groups of people walking on the road because there is nowhere else to walk," Wang said. "It's dangerous, but it's better than walking on someone else's property or on the grass, which in this weather is just mud."

In that rural area, some parts of Fandel Road have a mere sliver of a shoulder.

Under the federal Safe Routes to School program administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation, the school was allocated $260,000 for the project in 2007. The money may be used to build sidewalks or replace crumbling sidewalks, curbs and gutters.

Megan Holt, coordinator of the Illinois program, said the funding is on a reimbursement basis, and both the school and the village have been working with IDOT to get preliminary plans approved.

"They have decided to follow the state bidding, so there will be a letting in the fall," Holt said.

The actual construction will begin in fall after the 14-step federal implementation process has been completed.

"They're pretty much on track," she said.

In 1969, about half of all students walked or rode bicycles to school, according to the National Center for Safe Routes to School. Today, fewer than 15 percent of all school trips are made by walking or cycling.

The result has been traffic congestion, poor air quality around schools and compromised pedestrian and bicycle safety. At the same time, the level of obesity among schoolchildren, with all the attendant health problems, has soared.

"Parents and even residents were ecstatic about it, even though it will steal some of the homeowners' front yards," said Jim Dansart, superintendent of the school district.

In a survey, many residents indicated they would support a walking path.

"With no sidewalks in the village, specified walking paths throughout the village are a top priority," was one comment in the survey.

Another noted: "Fandel Road needs a sidewalk before someone dies. Pedestrians are not safe. I see people walking with strollers and small children on Fandel Road. Let's not wait for an accident to install sidewalks for safety."

Another funding application for more sidewalks is already in the works. This one will extend from J.R. White Memorial Park along Holland Road to Prairie Avenue, Linden Avenue and Sunset Lane and end at the school on Fandel Road.

Catharine Schaidle can be reached at 686-3290 or cschaidle@pjstar.com

Safe Routes to School
The Safe Routes to School concept began in the 1970s in Odense, Denmark.

Improvements included a network of pedestrian and bicycle paths, slow-speed areas, narrowed roads and traffic islands. The result was an 85 percent reduction in traffic injuries to children.

The program came to the United States in 1997, in the Bronx borough of New York City. In August 2005, federal legislation devoted $612 million for the national SRTS program from 2005 through 2009. This program funds Illinois' Safe Routes to School program.

More information is available at http://www.dot.il.gov/saferoutes.

Source: Illinois Department of Transportation

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Sidewalk improvements projected for 2010 (Ottawa)
Tuesday, March 3, 2009

By Tammie Sloup

Engineering work for a multitude of sidewalk improvements in Ottawa soon will be under way thanks to a nearly $400,000 Safe Routes to School grant.

The City of Ottawa and Ottawa Elementary School District, which partnered in the grant application, received word they were awarded the grant in spring 2008. Of the 112 applicants approved under the program, Ottawa's grant is one of the largest, City Engineer Dave Noble said at Tuesday's City Council meeting.

Noble updated the council on the status of the program, which likely won't be under way until summer 2010 because of the amount of paperwork involved with the federal government.

Safe Routes to School is a state program, with the funding provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The goal is to make sidewalks more accessible for children to walk to school.

The 100 percent grant will pay for construction, replacement and repairs of sidewalks around OES buildings.

Kevin Lindeman, a senior planner with North Central Illinois Council of Governments and an Ottawa resident, coordinated the project, a joint effort between the city and the school district. To qualify for the grant, the district had to conduct a travel plan to document how students get to and from school.


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Urbana board to discuss 'walking school buses,' boilers
Monday, March 2, 2009

By Amy F. Reiter

URBANA – "Walking school buses" and aging boilers will be the hot topics at Tuesday's Urbana school board meeting.
Between home and school, parents worry about their children crossing the street, said Cynthia Hoyle, a committee member on the C-U Safe Routes to School project (www.cu-srtsproject.com). On Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at 205 N. Race St., U, she'll help present local projects to make streets less worrisome – and to get more kids walking and bicyling to school.

The city is installing new, solar-powered flashing speeding signs near some Urbana schools, she said, and the Safe Routes group is working to install signs indicating a "walking school bus" route. A "walking school bus" is a group of children walking to school with one or more adults.
"We're working with the city so we can keep the walking school bus routes in particular clear in the winter," Hoyle said.

Funding for the projects comes from the federal government, and is given through the state's department of transportation, she said.

...

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Opportunity for Law Enforcement Personnel to participate in NHTSA SRTS Law Enforcement Pilot
Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Calling All Law Enforcement Personnel

WHAT: Your opinions, experience, and insight are needed to help with the Pilot Testing of a NEW website created by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for law enforcement officers in support of the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program. The pilot includes:

o Reviewing an on-line resource designed specifically for law enforcement officers and
o Providing feedback on the usefulness and design of the materials

WHY: To assist law enforcement personnel with community outreach efforts related to Safe Routes to School programs by providing easy to use resources.

WHO: This Pilot is open to all current and former law enforcement officers. Your participation is anonymous; prior experience with pedestrian or bicycle safety programs are not necessary.

TIME: Only a small amount of your time is needed, about 10-20 minutes.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR REVIEWING THE WEBSITE:
Imagine that you've been asked by the head of your agency to provide support to a local elementary school that is conducting a Safe Routes to School Program. As you conduct an on-line search, you find this website. We'd like you to spend a few minutes navigating the site, and provide the kind of feedback you would offer to your agency on the quality and ease of use of the information contained in the site.

HOW TO BEGIN:
o Click here to review the website (or paste the link into your web browser) http://www.saferoutesinfo.org/lawenforcement/

o Spend a few minutes navigating the site

o Look for information that you think will help prepare you for your involvement in a SRTS project

o After navigating the site, complete the short questionnaire by either: clicking on this link http://tinyurl.com/btafxb; pasting the link into your web browser, or clicking on the link within the website itself.

On behalf of NHTSA and Toole Design Group, THANK YOU FOR YOUR PARTICIPATION!
Your opinions will help us to ensure that the website provides the best possible information useful to law enforcement officers holding a variety of positions. For additional questions or comments, contact: Katie Mencarini: kmencarini@tooledesign.com or 301-927-1900 ext. 118.



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Cerny details mayors plan for 2009 (Carbon Hill)
THURSDAY, JANUARY 22, 2009

Jamie Mack
Staff Writer

"It looks good for us in the future," Carbon Hill Mayor Mike Cerny said, as he reviewed his list of goals for 2009.

The mayor foresees multiple village projects being continued and completed in the new year. Many projects begun in 2008 will continue as priorities this year.

Cerny hopes to accomplish his list with the help of the Board of Trustees.

"It's a pleasure that the board is all working together," Cerny noted.

(...)

A new endeavor for Carbon Hill is in the Safe Routes to School program. In 2008, the village submitted its first application to the state grant program. If it makes the list, Carbon Hill's Safe Route plan would create a bicycle path from Carbon Hill Park to the Coal City schools.

"Hopefully, we'll be able to do that because it will help our kids have a safe way to school," said Cerny.

(...)


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The Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute Reports on Helmets for 2009
Monday, December 29, 2008

We have posted our review of helmets being sold in 2009. It covers trends, new developments and individual models.

http://www.helmets.org/helmet09.htm

In brief, there is no radical safety improvement this year that would compel you to replace your current helmet. Almost all of the helmets we describe meet standards and offer good if not excellent protection.

There are new helmets in 2009 that are worth a look if you need a new one. There are more new models appearing with the rounder, smoother profile that we think is best when you crash. The legally required CPSC standard ensures good protection in the US market. Without comparative test data we usually do not know if a model exceeds the requirements of the standard and offers superior protection. We hope
for a new article from Consumer Reports during 2009 with some test data on the current crop of helmets.

The rounder, smoother "compact," "city," "urban" or "commuter" models that we recommend are still growing in number, and most manufacturers have at least one in their lineup now. The higher priced helmets have big vents, but no verifiable advantage in impact performance.

There are no new radical impact materials in bicycle helmets this year. Strap adjustment fittings--buckles and side pieces--badly need improvement. Most of them slip too easily. Ring fit systems, the "one size fits all" solution, have taken over for most of the less expensive and mid-range models.

We still recommend looking for a helmet that:

1. Meets the CPSC bicycle helmet standard.
2. Fits you well.
3. Has a rounded, smooth exterior with no major snag points.
4. Has no more vents than you need. More vents = less foam.

We have a long list of rounder, smoother helmets for 2009, and sections on Value Helmets, Extra Large Helmets, Extra Small Helmets, Helmets for Rounder Heads, Helmets for Narrow Heads, "Women-Specific" Designs, Made in USA Helmets, Models available outside the US, Cooling performance, Prices and a very long section describing almost all of the helmets you will see on the 2009 market.


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Forest Preserve District to build path near Glendale Heights school
Wednesday, December 17, 2008

By Dan Petrella, dpetrella@mysuburbanlife.com

Glendale Heights, IL -
In about two years, students at Marquardt Middle School in Glendale Heights may have a new way to walk and bike to school.

The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County has received a $400,000 grant from the federal Safe Routes to School program. The grant will pay for the design and construction of a path on the western edge of East Branch Forest Preserve along Glen Ellyn Road.

The Board of Commissioners on Tuesday approved the initial engineering of the 1,500-foot trail.

“The school uses East Branch Forest Preserve quite a lot for a number of different activities,” said Mary Ellen Weller, the Forest Preserve District’s landscape architecture manager. “(The path) gives kids another safe option to bike or walk to school.”

The location for the path was chosen through discussions between the Forest Preserve District, the village of Glendale Heights, the Police Department and Marquardt School District 15, Weller said. The final design of the route is not expected to be complete until November, and construction will not begin until 2010.

The path is part of an long-term plan that will eventually include additional paths to the north and south, she said.

“We have a conceptual plan, but no set route or funding source,” Weller said.

Rick Finck, District 15’s business manager, said the path will provide students who live to the east with an easier way to walk or bike to school without any cost for the School District.

“The purpose of this is to not only provide a safe way to get to school, but also it provides exercise for students on the way to school,” Finck said.

Safe Routes to School is a program through the U.S. Department of Transportation designed to encourage more students to walk or bike to school.

About half of all students walked or bicycled to school 40 years ago, according to the department. Today fewer than 15 percent of all school trips are made by walking or bicycling.

The Illinois Department of Transportation administers the program in this state.

The Forest Preserve District has hired the Chicago-based URS Corp. to handle the initial design and engineering of the trail.



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Havana school wants students to walk: Junior high applies for grant to make roads around school safer
Wednesday, December 17, 2008

By Amanda Jacobs

HAVANA — Part of the application for a Safe Routes to Schools grant asks schools to encourage students to walk or bike to school on a specific day and discuss the results.

When preparing the application for Havana Junior High School, District 126 Superintendent Patrick Mark Twomey was unwilling to sponsor such a day because he was concerned about students' safety.

"I was not going to have a day where I encouraged kids to walk when I knew they had to walk on the street," he said. "We want to encourage kids to walk to school and ride their bikes to school ... but we can't do that until post-grant."

Twomey said the plan for the grant includes the creation of a sidewalk along the north side of U.S. Highway 136, starting at Promenade Street and running past the junior high at 801 E. Laurel St. No sidewalk currently exists on the highway, he said, "so kids that live on that north side, they have no place to ride their bike or walk to school except on the street."

The grant proposal also includes a 10-foot-wide sidewalk next to the parking lot, Twomey said, as well as a circular drive in front of the school to ease traffic during pick-up and drop-off times.

"If you've ever tried to drive into our junior high at the close of a school day, you would see first-hand the congestion that takes place there," he said.

Havana Economic Development Coordinator Terry Svob said the project would promote not only safety but also healthy lifestyles among junior high students.

The Safe Routes to Schools grant is $250,000, Twomey said, while the total estimated cost of the project is $258,000. Svob said there has been no official decision as to who would cover the $8,000 difference.

Although he said he could not speak for the City Council, Svob said he thought the city would be "more than willing" to absorb the extra cost if the school district receives the grant. The council proposed the installation of a shorter sidewalk along the highway about a year ago, he said, and the estimated cost of that project was $85,000.

"It'll be a win-win," Svob said.

Twomey said the school could find out if it has been selected any time between late January and April.


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National Partnership and CDC report: SRTS Improves the Built Environment - feat. Urbana, IL
Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Safe Routes to School: Improves the Built Environment. Since the 1950’s the United States has been planning and developing its communities and transportation infrastructure around suburban living and the speed and convenience of the automobile. This has resulted in sprawl, congestion, and a built environment that is largely inconvenient, inaccessible and unsafe for active transportation such as walking and bicycling. The report focuses on case studies describing how ten states (California, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, New York, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia) are awarding their SRTS federal funds to support improved infrastructure such as sidewalks, bike lanes, pathways, improved intersections, traffic calming, and more. It also profiles several communities, and how SRTS has led to improved infrastructure as well as leveraging additional investment to create policy changes supporting walking and bicycling. Click here to view the full report. {2033}

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National Partnership and CDC report: Safe Routes to School: Leads to Greater Collaboration with Public Health and School Officials
Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The report Safe Routes to School: Leads to Greater Collaboration with Public Health and School Officials, demonstrates how Safe Routes to School is a collaborative effort involving multiple organizations, including state Departments of Education and state Departments of Health. Additionally, the report addresses how school siting decisions at the state and local levels affect opportunities to walk and bicycle to schools, which in turn affects opportunities for physical activity. Four case studies showcase examples of collaboration between public health and school officials at the state level through Safe Routes to School Advisory Committees, school siting guidelines, state standards for physical activity, wellness policies and more. California, Massachusetts, Mississippi and Oklahoma are featured. Click here to view the report in full, and to learn about state-level collaboration among officials that is resulting in important policy changes. {2033}


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National Partnership and CDC report:SRTS: Steps to a Greener Future
Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Safe Routes to School: Steps to a Greener Future, indicates how Safe Routes to School is reducing carbon emissions and air pollutants – it is the first report of its kind to make the link between climate change solutions and SRTS. The transportation sector in the United States accounts for more carbon dioxide emissions than any other nation’s entire economy, except for China. These emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants are having a negative impact on our children, our communities and our planet. The report profiles five communities that have made strides in reducing carbon dioxide emissions and harmful pollutants around schools through the implementation of Safe Routes to School programs. The five case studies documented in this report demonstrate initial promising successes, and show how one school’s effort often spreads to additional nearby schools, furthering the environmental impact. Columbia, MO; Las Cruces, NM; Longmont, CO; Marin County, CA; and Windsor, VT are featured. The report also calculates the amount of pollution that could be reduced if SRTS is successful in returning to 1969 levels for walking and bicycling to schools. Click here to view the report. {2034}


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School building panel OKs $1.6 million parking lot project (Quincy) SRTS 2nd Item
Friday, December 12, 2008

By HOLLY WAGNER

Herald-Whig Staff Writer


The Quincy School Board's Building Committee voted Friday to recommend a $1.6 million plan for resurfacing the parking lot at Quincy High School that would increase the number of parking spaces from 383 to 537.

The committee will also recommend that the board approve seeking grant funds to create a weight room for Quincy Junior High students.

The parking lot plan includes a cut-through lane in the lower lot for Baldwin Intermediate School buses as well as a small lot south of the gym and east of the current lot. The project falls under life-safety work, with the exception of the small lot that is estimated to cost $135,000.

The project answers several needs for the district.

The first is to improve safety. The city will apply Monday for a Safe Routes to Schools grant for $250,000 that would matched by the city. The funds would be used to align the lot entrance with 33rd Street, create a turn lane, eliminate parking on Maine and install sidewalks along the north side of Maine.

Enlarging the lot is "a key element" of that plan, City Planner Chuck Bevelheimer said.

He hopes to hear whether the grant is successful by June or July, which would push the project into summer 2010.

The second is to keep students from parking in area lots and neighborhoods. However, even the expanded lot will not be large enough to accommodate demand. Results of a recent survey of QHS students indicated demand at 581, which doesn't include the 116 students who park at Flinn Stadium.

The district had thought it could eliminate Flinn parking and the $40,000 annual expense of a shuttle.

Board member Carol Nichols suggested that owners of large lots in the area, like ShopKo, the movie theater and the bank, might be interested in renting spaces to students. Spaces at the high school rent annually for $40 and for $30 at Flinn.

Assistant Junior High Principal Jody Steinke and PE teacher Theresa Mapes asked for board permission to pursue a Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation grant toward a new weight room. It would be similar to one at the high school which has been installed in a free-standing Morton building, Mapes said.

The grant award could range between $5,000 and $25,000. Steinke said he would create a plan to accommodate either end of the range, and will apply for additional grants as well.

A new weight room would relieve unsafe overcrowding in QJHS's current facility, Mapes said.


-- hwagner@whig.com/221-3374


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Clarendon Hills backs Safe Routes to School
Monday, December 22, 2008

By ROB SIEBERT
The Clarendon Hills Village Board approved a resolution Monday endorsing a Safe Routes to School grant for the Clarendon Hills and Hinsdale police departments.

The more than $100,000 grant will come from the Illinois Department of Transportation, and would allow Hinsdale and Clarendon Hills to improve walking routes to schools.

Improvements would be made to sidewalks, lighting, traffic lights and speed enforcement.

The grant application required a resolution from the village, formally stating its commitment to the cause.



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Applications endorsed by City Council for 'Safe Routes' grants (Quincy)
Monday, November 24, 2008

By EDWARD HUSAR
Herald-Whig Staff Writer

The Quincy City Council on Monday endorsed two grant applications for the "Safe Routes to School" program and agreed to commit $256,000 in city funds for the project.

If the applications are approved through a competitive screening process, one grant for $250,000 would be used to install sidewalks on Maine Street between 30th and 36th, reduce the street from four lanes to three and reconfigure the intersection of 33th and Maine. Meanwhile, a second grant for $206,138 would be used to install sidewalks, curbs, a parking lane and other improvements along the south side of Columbus Road at St. Dominic School.

The city's commitment of $256,000 would go toward the Maine Street project, which calls for extending 33rd Street south so it would lead directly into the QHS parking lot, which is to be reconfigured and expanded by the Quincy School District.

Alderman Mike Rein questioned the proposal to reduce the number of lanes from four to three between 30th and 36th. The street would have one lane on each side of a center turning lane, and parking would no longer be allowed along that stretch.

"I just think the center turn lane is going to cause so much more congestion on that street -- unnecessarily so," Rein said. "I drive up and down that street all the time, and seldom do I see people turning left."

Police Chief Rob Copley spoke in support of the plan to eliminate parking on Maine between 30th and 36th, because he said it creates unsafe conditions.

"It's dangerous, especially at night," he said. "This is a huge safety issue we're going to solve."

Alderman Mike Farha, R-4, said he wanted to make sure the Quincy School District followed through with plans to create more spaces to make up for those lost on Maine.

"To our knowledge, that's what they're going to do," said Chuck Bevelheimer, Quincy's director of planning and development.

--ehusar@whig.com/221-3378


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Council to consider 'Safe Routes to School' grants for sidewalks, lane reduction (Quincy)
Monday, November 24, 2008

By EDWARD HUSAR Herald-Whig Staff Writer

The Quincy City Council tonight will be asked to support two grant applications totaling $456,138 for the "Safe Routes to School" program.

One grant for $250,000 would be used to install sidewalks on Maine Street between 30th and 36th, reduce the street from four lanes to three and reconfigure the intersection of 33th and Maine. The primary purpose of this is to improve safety for students walking to and from Baldwin Intermediate School at 30th and Maine.

The other grant for $206,138 would be used to install sidewalks, curbs, a parking lane and other improvements along the south side of Columbus Road at St. Dominic School.

Both projects are intended to improve pedestrian safety for students who walk or bike to elementary schools. However, the Maine Street project would have the added benefit of improving safety for Quincy High School students, mainly because of the enhancements to the 33rd and Maine intersection near the entrance to the QHS parking lot.

Plans call for adding a south leg to that intersection so 33rd Street will lead directly into the QHS parking lot at a safer signalized crossing. This would allow two parking lot entrances on each side of the intersection to be closed as a safety improvement.

"We view those driveways as being a traffic hazard," said Chuck Bevelheimer, Quincy's director of planning and development.

The Quincy School District is working with the city in a cooperative venture to reconfigure the QHS parking lot so the main entrance will be better aligned with 33rd Street. At the same time, the district on its own is planning to add some more spaces and resurface the lot. Details of the parking lot changes are still being worked out, but the school district would finance those improvements.

The City Council tonight will be asked to commit $256,000 of the city's motor fuel tax funds for the Maine Street project, which is expected to total $506,000, with the grant paying the balance, assuming it's approved.

The city's share of the cost would be used primarily for right-of-way changes to Maine between 30th and 36th. Plans call for reducing the number of lanes on that stretch from four to three. The street would then have two bi-directional lanes plus a center turning lane.

Bevelheimer said going to a three-lane configuration would enhance safety because the center turning lane could then be used as a safe zone for students who invariably cross Maine Street at mid-block. Currently, students have to cross four lanes of busy traffic.

Bevelheimer said students aren't supposed to jay-walk in the middle of the block. "But kids being kids, we know that's going to happen," he said. "It's just unreasonable to assume that they're going to walk three blocks out of their way to cross at a signal."

One result of going to a three-lane configuration is that parking will no longer be allowed anywhere on Maine Street from 30th to 36th, including during Blue Devil basketball games at Blue Devil Gym in Baldwin School.

"That's a concern of all of us," Bevelheimer said. "From a public safety standpoint it's a nightmare. So we feel from a public safety standpoint this is the right thing to do. But we certainly understand the traditions of people parking on Maine Street (during games), and we're going to have to work through that."

Bevelheimer said this is one reason the School District wants to add more spaces in its parking lot -- so there will be more spots for the public, as well as students, once the changes on Maine Street go into effect.

Adding to the parking lot's capacity also will mean fewer students will have to park on the street in nearby neighborhoods. "That has been a bugaboo for both the schools and the city," Bevelheimer said.

If the grant money is awarded, as local officials hope, work on the two projects could begin in 2009. However, Bevelh

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King Elementary cyclists get a rules roundup at bicycle rodeo (Urbana)
Thursday November 13, 2008

By Amy F. Reiter

URBANA – If you're expecting lassoes and cowboy hats, you've come to the wrong place.

Instead, expect newly refurbished bicycles, helmets and accoutrements, and plenty of adults out to make sure kids know the two-wheeled rules of the road.

This is a bicycle rodeo, and there are no cattle to herd, only children to coax into helmets and out of doors onto an orange-coned bicycle course, where 10 of them tried out bikes they won at a school raffle.

At King Elementary School in Urbana on Wednesday, the children submitted willingly to the helmets, just one more step in the school's yearlong collaboration with Champaign-Urbana Safe Routes to School, the city of Urbana and other organizations to make the well-traveled streets around King safer places to walk, bike and be.

Third-grader Shianne Fears was pleased that her blue butterflied helmet matched her jacket.

Her mom, Anitra Ellerbe, was more pleased that her daughter was learning about how to indicate turning and stopping on a bicycle. She was also pleased that families are getting informed on how to make the neighborhood safer.

"We live close, and it's still a good idea (to learn safety rules), because the traffic around here sometimes gets pretty heavy," Ellerbe said.

King represents Illinois this year as part of the national Safe Routes to School initiative, said Principal Jennifer Ivory-Tatum, and will be working all year to improve traveling conditions for students and their families.

Traffic around the school – on the corner of Fairview and Goodwin avenues – "gets pretty hairy," she said. "We want to keep our corner safe."

The principal said 55 percent to 60 percent of the students at King live within walking or bicycling distance, with some students who "walk, no matter what" the weather or traffic is like. The school is in the process of arranging walking and biking "school buses," where parent volunteers meet students along a predetermined route to travel to school.

Ivory-Tatum said she hopes all the non-motored initiatives will lead to less traffic and congestion around the school.

She called Wednesday's event – which drew many parents and bike advocates, as well as the children – "a mini-'Rules of the Road' for bikes." The bikes were repaired and readied for use by The Bike Project of Urbana-Champaign, and then C-U Safe Routes "made them pretty," said local Safe Routes Co-Chairwoman Rose Hudson. All of the bikes came with lights, locks and helmets, as well.

Urbana Police Officer Al Johnston has already talked with the kids about bicycle safety, but he reviews the information just in case.

"Any time you're on your bicycle, wear a helmet," he told them. "Don't worry about hat-head."

Fifth-grader Darnell Fleming said he knows the rules Johnston spoke about – and then some.

"He didn't say this: Don't wear earphones when you're riding your bike," Darnell said, adding he knew of someone who was seriously injured when wearing them because she didn't realize a car was coming.

He thinks the students at King can be role models of bicycle riding – rather than following someone else's poor example.

"It's important because they don't want to follow other people," Darnell said. "They might copy what they see on the street, and then they'll end up hurt, so that's why it's important that they learn the safety rules."

Third-grader Erick Strong sat with his father, also named Erick Strong, just minutes before getting his bicycle. They were going over the rules, and the son didn't quite know them all yet. But then, the father thought maybe he should go over these, too.

"I'm going to read with my son," Strong said, "so that we can learn together."

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Congestion near St. Dominics and Madison Schools (Quincy)
Thursday, November 13, 2008

By Rajah Maples

QUINCY, ILL. -- Crowded, congested, cantankerous. Those are three words parents have to describe an area near two Quincy schools.

We're talking about the area along Maine Street between Madison and St. Peters Schools.

This topic came up during one of our recent KHQA Parent Advisory Board meetings.

It's a group we meet with to help us gather topics that matter most to you and your children.

KHQA's Rajah Maples checked the problem out for myself and took those concerns to the city.

As you can see, it's already a landlocked area. Throw in scores of cars of parents picking up and dropping off their kids, not to mention large school buses, and it's a recipe for disaster.

Quincy City Planner Chuck Bevelheimer says the city is aware of the issue and has even tossed around possible solutions.

Bevelheimer said, "We've talked about indenting a parking area along the Madison School front to see if there's a way to open up the road a little bit more to give the parents a little more wiggle room where they're parking and to provide a safer zone for pedestrians and parents unloading."

Bevelheimer said the city also is considering submitting an application to the Safe Routes to School program. It's a national program created to combat childhood obesity by getting more kids to walk or bike to school. The program also has an environmental component by improving air quality and the environment by decreasing the number of cars taking kids to and from schools.

Bevelheimer said, "This is a highly dense, urban area. You got a park, you have 2 middle schools right next to each other. It's right in the middle of a residential neighborhood that has a lot of homes."

None of the parents waiting in these cars would go on camera to talk about the congestion here. But they all told me the key is to arrive early, well before school gets out, to get a good parking spot. That way they can pick up their kids from school and be on their merry, less crowded way.

Bevelheimer told me the city is working to get funding from the Safe Routes to School program for improvements near St. Dominic's and Baldwin schools.


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Board finalizes grant for safer school routes (Somonauk)
Thursday, October 23, 2008

Melissa Garzanelli, melissag@mywebtimes.com, 815-431-4049

Somonauk officials are hoping to receive funding to create safer routes for students to travel to and from school.

The Somonauk School District and the Somonauk Village Board have been working in recent months to apply for theSafe Routes to School grant. Superintendent Susan Workman presented the grant application to the school board Monday. The application proposed adding devices to slow traffic on La Salle Street, such as additional stop signs, school zone signs and lighting as well as striping on roadways.

The grant also requests funding for the installation of sidewalks on La Salle Street. A third project requests a bike-walking path that will connect the village park and the school district property.

Workman reported that parents, teachers, students and community members weighed in about the major areas of concern for students getting to school safely.

The Safe Routes to School program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration to serve elementary schools and does not require matching funds to receive grant money. The program's objective is to create or maintain safe paths for students to walk or ride their bicycles to and from school, as well as educating children on staying safe while traveling to and from campus.In other action, the board:




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New National Trust for Historic Preservation Program to Encourage Community-Centered Schools (State of Illinois)
Monday, October 20, 2008

Grants will assist efforts in six states

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is announcing a new technical assistance and grant program to promote community-centered schools in six states – California, Illinois, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina. America’s community-centered schools—which strengthen neighborhoods, encourage environmentally-responsible development patterns, and promote the preservation and use of existing older schools—have been increasingly abandoned in recent decades, replaced by schools built on the outskirts of communities (where children cannot walk or bicycle to school). The six recipients will use the funds to research barriers to community-centered schools and to develop state-level policy recommendations.

A total of $33,000 was awarded through the new grant program:
• Local Government Commission, $6,000, to provide recommendations to the California Department of Education related to revisions of state-level school siting policy guiding documents;
• Healthy Schools Campaign, $6,000, to develop model state-level policies which encourage sustainable schools throughout Illinois;
• Innovation Partnership, $3,000, to educate the Oregon public and decision-makers about the many benefits of coordinated planning between school districts and local governments;
• New Hampshire Preservation Alliance, $6,000, to enhance school building aid and siting policies;
• Preservation Pennsylvania, $6,000, to determine how state-level fiscal policy affects school siting decisions across Pennsylvania; and
• South Carolina Design Arts Partnership and South Carolina Arts Foundation, $6,000, to develop model policies that eliminate design barriers and encourage collaboration among governmental entities for educational facility planning.

The grant program, called Helping Johnny Walk to School: Sustaining Communities through Smart School Siting Policies, has been funded by the EPA and will assist states in finding new strategies for tackling the complex—and often competing —goals surrounding school siting policies and practices. The grant recipients will help citizens and officials make informed choices on the siting of school facilities.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has been actively involved in this issue for many years. Since publishing the seminal work of Why Johnny Can’t Walk to School and listing the threat to neighborhood schools on its list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in 2000, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has continually sought ways to raise awareness about the important link between community vitality and walkable neighborhood schools. To learn more about the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s work on this issue, visit our website at www.preservationnation.org/issues/historic-schools. To see how school siting affects Safe Routes to School, see this school siting resource on the Partnership’s website.


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EVENT:Brookport Safe Route To School Program Meeting Today (Metropolis & Brookport)
Friday, October 10, 2008

Brookport, Illinois – In an effort to encourage and enable the children of Metropolis and Brookport to walk and bike to school, the City of Metropolis in cooperation with the Massac County School District launched a Safe Routes to School Program this fall. Today a public input forum will be held at the Brookport Elementary School Gym in conjunction with the PTO Family Fun Night and Chili Supper.To date, parent, student, and stakeholder surveys, walkabout and bikeabout events and other input opportunities have gained important data to assist in the development of our Safe Routes Travel Plan. This information has helped us to determine areas of concern and what steps should be taken to create a safe environment for our children to walk and bike to school. If you would like to learn about some of the issues as well as strategies we have identified to date, please come and ensure we can address any ideas or concerns you may have. Our School Travel Plan will be completed by October 31st. If you would like to become involved, we invite you to contact project coordinator Charlotte Anderson at golconda64@yahoo.com, or via phone at 618 638 2286. You may also contact Chief Mike Worthen in Metropolis at 618 524 2310, or Principal Debbie Christiansen in Brookport at 618 564 2482. (posted 8:53am by Larry Douglas)

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Walk to School Day turning Urbana into gaited community
Tuesday October 7, 2008

By Amy F. Reiter

On Wednesday, comfortable shoes are a must for parents and children around the area. It's International Walk to School Day, and schools around Champaign and Urbana will be participating.

Events include a "walking school bus" where students are picked up by an adult and walk in a supervised group to school, and walks accompanied by local celebrities, including University of Illinois athletes and the mayors of Champaign and Urbana.

Cynthia Hoyle, co-chair of the CU Safe Routes to School Project, said nearly 1,000 students walked during the last Walk to School Day, and she expects more than that this year.

"The two main reasons that the schools have identified for us when we ask why they participate, the first one is health, to get kids to be more active, and then the second one is to help them learn about safety and how to get back and forth to school safely," she said.

All of the elementary schools in Urbana are participating on Wednesday, as well as four Champaign elementaries, Hoyle said. According to the national Web site, www.walktoschool.org, 136 Illinois schools have walking plans for Wednesday.

Rose Hudson, Hoyle's co-chair, said staff at schools have increasingly embraced the day, in its fifth annual round of local events.

The Safe Routes organization did a survey of how local students got to school, Hoyle said, and found that on a normal day, about 15 percent walked and about 2 percent more bicycled.

"About 43 percent are being driven in the family vehicle, and that creates congestion," she said, "which leaves it less safe for children, and which we now know deteriorates the air quality around schools ... from all of the idling vehicles."



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Pontiac to seek 'Safe Routes to School' grant
Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Improving a mile and a half of sidewalks in Pontiac would contribute to "Safe Routes to School," the City Council agreed 9-0 Monday.

The vote was on a resolution declaring the intent of the council "to encourage more of Pontiac's children to get to school safely, under their own power, and to encourage efforts to improve the routes those children take to get to school safely."

The resolution supports seeking a grant of $188,314 from the state, via federal money, to repair or install 7,952 feet of sidewalk. The amount would pay for materials and the cost of city employees working on them, and Pontiac would have three years to complete the work, if it gets the grant.

The two longest stretches would be Livingston and Prairie streets. They would be done from the junior high-Washington School area west to Central School. Eight blocks west and south of Lincoln School would be included. A sidewalk would be installed on Indiana Avenue from Brookside Subdivision to Illini Drive.

The goal of the program, Street Superintendent Chris Brock noted in a memo to the council, is "to provide safe sidewalks for children to use instead of walking in the streets as many do, particularly on the north end of town."

The Street and Maintenance departments worked together on the proposal, taking measurements, assessing sidewalk conditions, and compiling cost estimates. Maintenance Director Milt Hanson told the council Monday that over the last 40 years, the percentage of students walking or biking to school has declined from 50 to 15.

City Administrator Robert Karls told the aldermen that school officials have "considerable input" into the proposal, including working with parent-teacher organizations. District 429 provided demographic and survey data that was required in applying for a Safe Routes grant.

The Safe Routes to School program encourages students in kindergarten through eighth grade to walk or bike to school. The resolution the city will submit to the Illinois Department of Transportation, which administers the grants, says walking to school "supports childhood health by encouraging active lifestyles and reducing childhood obesity ... increases children's ability to interact with elements of the community and social environment, and ... increases the readiness of students to learn when they arrive at school."

"More children walking to school will reduce traffic congestion in school zones, resulting in improved air quality and reduced fuel consumption," the resolution says, and it adds that "physical infrastructure improvements and increased community attention to pedestrians, primarily aimed at helping school children walk to school safely, will benefit the entire community."

The council went on record resolving "that all Pontiac school children who are able to walk or bike and who live within reasonable distances from school can get to school under their own power in reasonable safety."



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Project to repair sidewalks around Pontiac schools OK'd
Monday, October 6, 2008

By Tony Sapochetti
tsapochetti@pantagraph.com

PONTIAC — The Pontiac City Council unanimously approved a resolution Monday night that would both repair sidewalks and encourage active lifestyles in area students.

The Safe Routes to School program is a reimbursement grant program where the city would be reimbursed for funds spent up to an allocated amount. The idea of the program is to make infrastructure repairs to sidewalks to encourage children to not ride in a car to school.

“It’s designed to create an environment were students either bike or walk to school,” City Maintenance Department Director Milt Hanson said. “Over the last 40 years, biking or walking has declined from 50 percent to 15 percent.”

Hanson said that the city has identified around 8,000 feet of sidewalk in and around area grade schools. A proposal of $188,314 will be submitted, and the city will have three years to complete the project if they are awarded the grant.

The sidewalks are intended to provide safer passage for students rather than having children walk on the streets, as many do in the north end of town, City Street Superintendent Chris Brock said in a letter.

The resolution also said that this would hopefully support childhood health, reduce childhood obesity, an increase in a child’s ability to interact with community and social environment and be a general benefit to the entire community.


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Harlem district students to learn school safe routes
Wednesday, October 1, 2008

MACHESNEY PARK — Students, parents, teachers and community leaders are getting ready for the Safe Walk to School Day on Wednesday.

Those involved say they’re looking forward to the presence of speed sensors positioned near Harlem School District elementary schools.

Harlem and Machesney Park received a $5,429 grant from the Safe Routes to Schools program, said Karen Lemmons, Machesney Park community development director. The purpose of the grant is to promote safety and healthy lifestyle by encouraging children to walk or bike to school.

About $4,000 of the grant was used to purchase portable speed sensors, which clock drivers who are passing by, she said. The speed sensors will rotate at each elementary school location. Village engineers and public works officials will conduct a survey of the schools to see which schools will benefit the most from the presence of the sensors.

“We applied for a construction grant to install sidewalks near the elementary schools,” Lemmons said. “We didn’t get that one, but we are applying for it again.”

Lemmons hopes to receive the grant because schools without nearby sidewalks could force students who walk to school to walk in the street.

Loves Park Mayor Darryl Lindberg will attend next week’s walk to Rock Cut Elementary.

“I hope this happens every year because the children change each year, and the families will need to learn the safest way their children can get to school,” Lindberg said.

Lindberg reminded home-owners that it’s also important for them to take care of the sidewalks outside of their homes because children walk on them every day.

The Safe Walk to School event will show parents and students the safest way to walk to school so the children can commute that way instead of being dropped off at school by their parents. The walk will begin at 7:40 a.m.

The staging areas are:

— Loves Park Elementary: Martin Park on East Drive, Loves Park.

— Marquette Elementary/Machesney Elementary: Machesney Park Mall.

— Maple Elementary: Hoffman School, 7511 Elm Ave., Machesney Park.

— Olson Park Elementary: Harlem High School near Alpine Road.

— Ralston Elementary: Harlem-Roscoe Fire Station, 825 Ralston Road, Machesney Park.

— Rock Cut Elementary: Grace Reformed Church, 7721 N. Alpine Road, Loves Park.

— Windsor Elementary: Carlson Boys & Girls Club, 1030 Evans Ave., Machesney Park.

Staff writer Katie Backman can be reached at 815-987-1389 or kbackman@rrstar.com.


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Morton aims for safe school route grant
Tuesday, September 20, 2008

MORTON — The village and Morton District 709 are joining forces to apply for a $300,000 Safe Routes to School federal grant.

The grant, administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation, would pay for the replacement of crumbling sidewalks, curbs and gutters, installation of new sidewalks, and new crosswalks in an area that includes Grundy Elementary School, Blessed Sacrament School and Bethel Lutheran School.

All the work would need to meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

The "travel plan" for the grant must be submitted by Oct. 31, and the grant proposal by Dec. 1. The village would do the work and be reimbursed for it.

Morton Director of Tourism Susan Pyles has been working with District 709 Superintendent Roger Kilpatrick since June on gathering information for the proposal.

"The idea behind the grant is to make it safe for kids to walk and ride their bike to school," Pyles said.

"There also would be money to educate students about walking and bicycle safety."

Pyles said the Grundy/Blessed Sacrament/Bethel Lutheran area was chosen because of the large number of students the grant would affect.

The schools are located within about 1 1/2 miles of each other. Grundy is at 1100 S. Fourth Ave., Blessed Sacrament at 233 E. Greenwood St., and Bethel Lutheran at 325 E. Queenwood Road. Pyles has identified nine sections of streets in the area that don't have sidewalks.

Communities and school districts can apply for three Safe Routes to Schools grants. Pyles said Jefferson Elementary School and Morton Junior High School/Morton High School are other target areas.

A survey sent to Grundy, Blessed Sacrament and Bethel Lutheran parents revealed solid community support for the grant application. The handful of parents who attended a meeting Tuesday at Grundy added their verbal support.

Grundy Principal Michael Saunders wants the grant to make the intersection of Fourth and Greenwood safer.

The school is just east of the intersection, which is a two-way stop.

"That isn't as much of a problem as the drivers who don't obey the (30 mph) speed limit," Saunders said.

Other area school districts have received Safe Routes to School grants. Last year, schools in Farmington, Germantown Hills and North Pekin benefited from grants.

Steve Stein can be reached at 686-3114 or stevestein21@yahoo.com.


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C-U working to make roads safer for children
Friday, September 12, 2008

ast year 96 children in the state of Illinois between the ages of 5 and 18 were killed by cars while walking to school. As a result, the Illinois State Board of Education is encouraging schools and police departments to make walking to school as safe as possible.

This push for safety actually began two years ago. Working together, schools and police departments can set up speed zones and make sure signs are posted in advance of the zones.

"We just want to remind drivers that a - you need to slow down in a school speed zone and b - you need to remember (the rules for driving when buses are present)," said Matt Vanover, spokesman for the Illinois State Board of Education.

Both Champaign and Urbana have been working to make the areas around schools safer for students who walk or bike, although they report there have been no serious accidents involving students walking or biking in years.

"Safety for kids is always an issue on everybody's minds," said Joe Davis, interim business manager for Unit 4.

Davis said the city of Champaign and Unit 4 work together. Police and crossing guards help children cross busy streets.

Another important component to children's safety is crossing guards, Hoyle said. They work few hours for little pay but make a big difference in helping children get to school.

Rose Hudson, a crossing guard and co-chair for the International Walk to School Day, said people who help children in traffic have to stand up for the children and protect their safety.

"I don't need to be standing out there in the rain and the snow, but I do it for the kids," she said.

Fourteen years ago Hudson was behind a push to hire crossing guards near Robeson Elementary School because busy roads were built through neighborhoods, increasing the traffic. She said children do not have the depth perception to tell if they should cross; thus adults need to help them.

"They're not equipped yet to deal with the traffic," she added.

Both Unit 4 and District 116 in Urbana work with their respective cities to apply for grants. Grant funds can be used to build bike paths and post more signs for school zones.

The cities are participating in the International Walk to School Day for the fifth year. All of the grade schools in Urbana and half of the grade schools in Champaign are participating in the event on Oct. 8. The event has grown every year, with only four schools participating the first year.

"We just took it and ran with it," Hudson said.

Each school organizes its own event, but most involve a group walk. Elected officials, school administrators, police officers, University student-athletes, parents and kids all walk to the schools together. These events also provide kids, parents and motorists with safety information.

"Walking along the routes gives you a whole new perspective," said Cynthia Hoyle, transportation planning consultant for Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District and co-chair for the event.

Hoyle and Hudson both worked to make the attention the International Walk to School Day receives occur year-round. They helped Champaign and Urbana secure federal grant funding from the Illinois Department of Transportation for safe routes to school activities. The grant will help buy new road signs that notify drivers of the speed limit, as well as fund a media campaign to put billboards, commercials and newspaper stories in place to remind people to watch out for children.

Hudson said programs for after school programs and guest speakers are also being planned.

"It's really become a community effort to make sure that our kids are safe around the schools," Hudson said.


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EVENT: Safe Routes To School Program To Be Launched In Metropolis And Brookport
Sunday, September 07, 2008

Metropolis, Illinois – In an effort to encourage and enable the children of Metropolis and Brookport to walk and bike to school, the City of Metropolis, in cooperation with the Massac County Unit District One, will launch its Safe Routes to school program on Tuesday at 6p.m. at the Metropolis Elementary School Cafeteria. At the same time, a public input forum will be held at Brookport Elementary School gym in conjunction with the PTO meeting. These two events, the first of a series of public input opportunities, will be undertaken in order to provide information to the community regarding the Safe Routes to School program. For additional information, visit www.saferoutesinfo.org.(posted 8:49 pm by Larry Douglas)


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Closing of parks, historic sites rob us of priceless assets/Walking for a cause
Sunday, September 7, 2008

Scott Richardson

Walking for a cause

I nominate Mark Fenton for president.

The host of the PBS series, America’s Walking, sold me on his fictional candidacy recently when he shared his presidential platform with an audience in Normal.

Barack Obama and John McCain can debate their often complex and expensive plans to solve problems in health care, foreign energy dependence, environmental degradation and an aging transportation infrastructure. Fenton has a simpler answer on how to address those issues and local troubles, including education costs, traffic congestion and local economic development.

“The answer is more walkable and biking friendly communities,” Fenton told the first-ever Illinois Safe Routes to School conference at Illinois State University. “To make that a national campaign issue would be a great thing.”

The goal is being accelerated by higher fuel costs and news coverage focusing on the U.S. obesity epidemic, he said.
“The curve is going up and getting steeper,” he said.

What was once called adult onset diabetes is now termed Type II Diabetes because the disease is showing up in America’s young people. A third of the nation’s children qualify as overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
But Fenton said the problem goes deeper. The obesity epidemic is really two problems in one, an epidemic of physical inactivity and an epidemic of poor nutrition.

Studies already point to the way out, he said. Recent research looked at 3,000 people at risk for diabetes. They were divided into three equal groups. One was given standard nutritional counseling and a placebo. The second group received counseling and medicine. The third were encouraged to eat healthier foods and exercise. The people who received medication saw a 30 percent reduction in their risk of diabetes. But risk in the group that modified their lifestyles was cut by 60 percent.

“This is not complex science,” Fenton said. “Building walk-able, bike-able communities is part of the solution.”

Fenton had great words to say about Normal and ISU after remarks by Normal councilman Chuck Scott, who also is director of facilities management at ISU. He described ISU’s new Reggie Ride program that received national press attention after The Pantagraph detailed how the university is channeling abandoned bikes to a free loaner program open to ISU students and staff.

Scott also told how the City Council voted to spend $50,000 to hire a planner to study safe routes for people to walk and ride bikes and he touted Constitution Trail, the popular pathway that stretches about 30 miles through Bloomington-Normal. Normal also is cooperating in development of the Main Street Corridor that includes ideas like bike lanes and trolley cars, he said.

But Fenton he stressed more needs to be done. Many school administrators are slow to see the value of walking and biking programs like Safe Routes to School. More than just addressing out-of-shape kids, walking and biking means the areas surrounding schools have less congestion. Some studies note kids who are physically active behave better and perform better academically, Fenton said.

Safe Routes to Schools is a national program to remove roadblocks stopping school children from walking and riding bikes. The Illinois Department of Transportation awarded $8 million for projects ranging from re-engineering sidewalks to be bike-friendly to buying equipment for crossing guards.

Not all solutions cost a lot.

“It’s not always about $800,000 for sidewalks, it’s $200 for a bike rack,” said Fenton, who also detailed how dads volunteered to build stairs and an amphitheater to help make a walking path at his children’s school. Kids who can’t walk to school can take a walk during lunch hour or recess.

“Lack of money is not the reason this is not happening,” he said.

Fenton said minds must change, too.

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Conference will focus on biking, walking to school
Tuesday, August 12, 2008

By Scott Richardson
srichardson@pantagraph.com

NORMAL -- Federal, state and local officials will meet Wednesday and Thursday to study ways to encourage kids to ride bikes or walk to school.

The conference at Illinois State University is the first statewide gathering to focus on Safe Roads to School, a national program Congress established in 2005.

Federal lawmakers set aside more than $600 million to spend through 2009 to promote fitness and attack obesity among children in kindergarten through eighth grade. Reducing busing and fuel costs and traffic congestion near schools at peak hours are other positive side effects.

The primary reason behind SRTS is as clear as the bulging waistlines in cafeteria lines. The Centers for Disease Control says nearly one-third of children ages 2-19 are overweight or obese.

“Headlines say this will be the first generation of kids who won’t live as long as their parents. That is really disturbing,” said Megan Holt, Safe Routes to School coordinator for the Illinois Department of Transportation, which administers Safe Roads to School grants in the state. “A lot of parents and health workers see their children and students suffering from diseases (caused by bad diet) they usually only see in middle-aged people.”

Higher fuel costs also have sparked a surge in interest in the program among school administrators, who face tough decisions when they try to balance their budgets, she said.

“Schools were busing kids on demand. Now, they’re looking at transportation budgets and seeing it is either buses or teachers,” she said.

Safe Roads to School began in Denmark and Canada to attack roadblocks, including traffic danger and crime, that detour parents and kids from using transportation other than cars and buses. Solutions range from funding speed-feedback trailers and equipment for traffic guards to engineering bike-friendly sidewalks and bike paths and installing bike racks.

“The point is to encourage kids to walk and bike where it’s safe and where it’s not safe, to make it safe,” Holt said.

IDOT and the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation are co-sponsoring the conference. Wednesday’s session at the ISU College of Business is a workshop for government and school officials and local advocates on what they can do. Thursday’s session at Schroeder Hall will focus on success stories. Mark Fenton of America’s Walking on the PBS network will give the keynote speech shortly after 9 a.m. Thursday. He’ll be preceded by Holt and Chris Koos, owner of Vitesse Cycle and mayor of Normal, where the city council recently hired a planner to study safe bike and pedestrian routes.

ISU also recently announced the start of the Reggie Bike Program so students and staff can borrow bikes to pedal around campus and around town.

In the first round of SRTS grants made recently in Illinois, awards totaled $8 million for 112 projects. But, requests numbered nearly 300 applications for more than 1,000 projects totaling nearly $78 million.

“The demand for Safe Routes to School programs in communities across the U.S. exceeds the amount available,” Lauren Marchetti, director of the National Center for Safe Routes to School. “In nearly every state that has awarded program funding so far, there were more applications than what the states could fund.”

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Task Force releases recommendations for advancing Safe Routes to School
July 28, 2008

CHAPEL HILL, NC — The National Safe Routes to School Task Force has released its final report, Safe Routes to School: A Transportation Legacy - A National Strategy to Increase Safety and Physical Activity among American Youth. To access the full report, please visit www.saferoutesinfo.org/task_force.

The Task Force was called for in law and established by the U.S. Department of Transportation to study and develop a strategy for advancing programs that enable and encourage children to walk and bicycle to school. Among the recommendations made by the Task Force are to effectively spend current Federal SRTS funds, initiate innovative solutions to advance SRTS and encourage support from SRTS stakeholders at the local, state and national level. The Task Force also recommends an increase in funding for the program at the Federal level.

“The demand for Safe Routes to School programs in communities across the US exceeds the available amount available,” said Lauren Marchetti, director of the National Center for Safe Routes to School and Task Force member. “In nearly every state that has awarded program funding so far, there were more applications than what the states could fund.”

The report outlines the early successes of the Federal Safe Routes to School program. As of March 2008, States have committed to spending approximately $222 million on SRTS programs. Forty two States have announced funding for local and/or statewide programs involving nearly 2600 schools. The remaining States are either working to set up their programs or are in various stages of the first application cycle.

The report also outlines the importance of advancing opportunities and addressing challenges that face Safe Routes to School. The Task Force recommends working on solutions to address issues that limit or prevent walking and bicycling such as liability concerns from schools, the design and location of school campuses and personal safety concerns among parents.

The Task Force includes members from the health, transportation, and education industries as well as state government, local agencies and non-profit organizations. For a complete list of Task Force members, please visit www.saferoutesinfo.org/task_force/task_force_members.cfm.


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AASA Survey Finds Rising Fuel, Energy Costs Stressing School Budgets
Tuesday, July 29, 2008

ARLINGTON, VA. – Rising fuel and energy costs are taking a toll on school system budgets nationwide, according to the results of a new survey released today by the American Association of School Administrators. The eight-question AASA Fuel and Energy Snapshot Survey asked school superintendents about the effect of rising fuel and energy costs on their school districts. Ninety-nine percent of respondents reported these rising costs are having an impact on their school systems. Further, they reported that conserving energy, cutting back on student field trips and consolidating bus routes are among the top steps districts are taking to minimize the impact of rising fuel and energy costs.
For more information, please visit: http://www.aasa.org/newsroom/pressdetail.cfm?ItemNumber=10637

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Director's Column: Safe Routes to School: A Great Way to Get Youth with and without Disabilities More Active
March 10, 2008

As a youngster growing up in New York City, the primary means of transportation anywhere within a radius of 10 miles or so was on bike. Many others from my generation have expressed the same sentiment: No matter where we went, we were always on our bikes -- to school, the store, the playground, or just riding around the neighborhood. Clearly, the New Age generation of cable TV, the internet and video games has delivered a hit to outdoor activities such as bike riding and walking. According to Safe Routes to School (SRTS), when adults are asked the question, “How did you get to school when you were a kid?”, the most common answer is “walking.” In 1969, approximately 50 percent of children walked or biked to school. Today, that number has plummeted to less than 15 percent, and it will likely stay that way until we have a ‘sea change’ in how we travel from one point to another in our own neighborhoods. If we are going to turn this childhood obesity epidemic around, we need to start with some type of regular physical activity that can be easily installed into a structured daily routine. A 5- to 15-minute bike ride to and from school is a good way for youth to reach the recommended 60-minutes a day of physical activity.

In our effort to get America moving again, we must also not forget that of the 5.5 million children in this nation who have a disability, many are unable to ride a bike or need an adaptive bike or handcycle...

For more of this article, please visit: http://www.ncpad.org/director/fact_sheet.php?sheet=602


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Safe Routes to Urbana Schools
Monday, Jul 21, 2008

The city of Urbana recently received about 85,00 dollars in federal funding to create safer routes to school. That cash will buy hundreds of new signs and warning lights to flash some sense into distracted drivers.

Scott Paluska pedals his daughter to and from school each fall and with every trip comes fear. "I worry about distracted drivers," he said. "I worry about people not paying attention to potential situations where a child may dart out in front of them." At Leal Elementary he's seen drivers whiz by without turning their heads. "I think a lot of people may disregard some of the crosswalks or not notice the signs that are there," he said. That's why the city stepped in to help. "We wanted to go through and make all of the signs the bright fluorescent yellow green so they're the most noticeable that they can be," said Urbana civil engineer Jennifer Selby. She's working with the department of transportation to install about 300 new school zone signs. Schools off major roads like Prairie Elementary will see additional changes. "We'll also have flashing beacons on the speed zone head signs," said Selby. Parents hope the safety improvements will keep their little ones out of danger and pave the way to a better commute. "We really need to be thinking about those who are outside of vehicles," said Paluska.

In total 10 schools will get new signs. The city hopes to have them up by the start of the school year, but it may take a little longer.


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Police pose as pedestrians to nab errant drivers (Chicago, IL)
July 16, 2008

So why did Officer Grace Delgado try to cross the road? To remind motorists that they must stop whenever someone steps off the curb into a crosswalk.

In an unusual undercover operation, Delgado posed as a pedestrian on a busy street while fellow officers waited for drivers to barrel past her in violation of a law that requires them yield at crosswalks, even if there is no stop sign.

Chicago this year joined a growing number of big cities and small towns that are sending officers into traffic to make motorists pay more attention to pedestrians.

For full story, visit:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25707777/from/ET/

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Alton High gets new assistant principal (Approves SRTS Plans)
July 15, 2008 - 10:35PM

By LINDA N. WELLER
The Telegraph
ALTON - The Alton School Board accepted the resignation of one high school assistant principal and also named her replacement Tuesday.

Latoya Berry-Coleman, an English teacher from Cahokia High School, got the unanimous vote to take the place of Tricia Blackard, who resigned to take other employment.

Members accepted Blackard's resignation, as well as the following staff members' extra duty assignments: David Beile, assistant football coach at Alton Middle School; Bradley Bolt, assistant boys soccer coach at Alton High; Bobby Everage, AHS assistant girls basketball coach; Andrew Funkhouser, middle school assistant football coach; and Angie Payne, AHS assistant girls basketball coach.

The board also approved a safe routes to school travel plan agreement with the village of Godfrey, with the program contingent upon the village obtaining up to $250,000 and the school district getting up to $25,000 in grants. The money originates from the U.S. Department of Transportation, but administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

"It increases the opportunities for children to walk to school and reduce traffic," said Kimberly Caughran, director of the Godfrey Parks and Recreation Department. "A lot of kids are being driven by parents, because they feel it is not safe."

Alton School District Superintendent David Elson said the collaborative program would involve building trails for walking and riding bicycles along Stanka Lane to North Elementary School; along Humbert Road to Lewis and Clark Elementary School; and along Illinois Route 3 to Gilson Brown Elementary School. All of the schools are in Godfrey.

The pathways would have barriers to keep children out of the street and protect them from any vehicles that leave the road, he said.

Elson said the paths might reduce bus ridership, but the main goal is to encourage pupils to get exercise, as most now ride buses.

"It would address other factors, such as obesity in kids, and encourage a healthy lifestyle," he said.

The village's grant would pay for infrastructure; the school's grant would be for promotional materials, perhaps pedometers and other items, Caughran said.

READ MORE ON THIS STORY in the print edition of Wednesday's Telegraph.



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Connect with other programs at the Safe Routes Forums
May 27, 2008

CHAPEL HILL, NC — The National Center for Safe Routes to School has launched the Safe Routes Forums, a Web-based community aimed at connecting Safe Routes to School programs from across the country at www.saferoutesinfo.org/forums. Using the Safe Routes Forums, programs can announce their successes as well as seek out information from other local programs. Users can find out what others have done to launch their programs or who they partnered with to promote walking and bicycling.

“We see a great need for Safe Routes to School programs to connect and learn from one another,” said Lauren Marchetti, director of the National Center for Safe Routes to School. “We decided to help address this need by offering programs the ability to connect online with the Safe Routes Forums.”

To minimize spam entries on the Safe Routes Forums, all users will need to register an account and confirm their email address before beginning to post to the Forums. To register an account, please visit www.saferoutesinfo.org/forums, click on “Log In” and use the form on the right of the page. Users should also review the Forums Guidelines prior to posting at www.saferoutesinfo.org/forums/guidelines.cfm. Are you new to posting on Web Forums? You can read through the Frequently Asked Questions on how to get started at www.saferoutesinfo.org/forums/faq.cfm.

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Take a hike: Machesney Park, Harlem earn grant to motivate kids to walk or bike
5-15-08

By Mike Wiser
RRSTAR.COM
Posted May 15, 2008 @ 07:55 PM

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
MACHESNEY PARK — The village and school district will spend thousands of dollars this year to buy digital speed signs and start a program that encourages children to walk or take their bicycles to school.

Money will come from a $5,429 Illinois Department of Transportation grant officials announced during a news conference this afternoon at Olson Park Elementary School.

The grant — actually two grants, one for $4,000 and one for the remainder — was one of 112 projects funded this year by the department under its Safe Routes to Schools program. The village and school district project was one of 1,042 applications the department received this year.

“We know that health issues and obesity are rising for adults,” Machesney Park Village President Linda Vaughn said. “More and more, it’s becoming an issue for children, too.”

She said the grant application was written with the idea to motivate children to be more active in their daily routines.

Harlem High School mathematics teacher Xan Milne, who wrote the grant, said $4,000 will be spent on speed signs to show motorists their traveling speed and as a reminder to them to slow down in school zones where children may be on their way to and from school.

After unveiling the big cardboard check, which brought a sustained applause from the dozens of children at Olson Park Elementary who sat outside during the news conference, Olson Park Principal Jan Jones singled out 9-year-old Jacob Bonebright for a special award.

The school has a milage club in which children are given small rewards for each mile they run on Olson Park’s quarter-mile track.

Bonebright’s certificate noted he passed the 100-mile mark this year.

To date, in fact, the wiry preteen has logged 125 miles on the track.

He told the crowd he wanted to complete 150 before the school year ends in a couple of weeks.

With that note of optimism, he led his classmates on a run around the park.

“I don’t know where he got it from,” said Tina Bonebright, Jacob’s mother, who attended the news conference. “He just started doing it at the beginning of the year and hasn’t stopped.”

Paul Sheppard, the village’s director of public works and parks, said the signs haven’t been ordered yet.

“We’re looking to get a couple permanent signs and some ones that are portable,” he said. “They cost about $600-$800, so we want to buy in bulk and see if we can get a deal.”

He said the signs would be placed in and around school zones and the permanent ones should be installed by fall.

Staff writer Mike Wiser can be reached at 815-987-1377 or mwiser@rrstar.com.



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Crossing guards merit appreciation
Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Crossing guards are critical to preserving the important and healthful tradition of walking and biking to school and I ask you and your community to recognize these unsung heroes today for the fourth annual Crossing Guard Appreciation Day.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich, in a proclamation recognizing the danger crossing guards face every day for our children's safety, states, "Crossing guards play an integral role in our communities, working hard to ensure the security of children as they walk to and from school and cross streets."

Walking and biking to school is an important way to improve health and the environment -- it increases physical activity and reduces emissions from cars and buses. Across the country, the Safe Routes to School movement is taking off, making walking and biking to school safe and popular once again. This renewed interest in walking and biking to school creates greater demand for crossing guards every day. Join the appreciation for these heroes and help keep walking and bicycling in our children's lives.

Rob Sadowsky

Executive Director

Chicagoland Bicycle

Federation

Chicago



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Safe Routes to School National Partnership Announces New State Network Project

With generous support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the SRTS National Partnership is implementing the SRTS State Network Project in nine states and the District of Columbia. The project creates state networks that bring together advocacy groups, government agencies and other leaders to support the SRTS program and ensure its success and growth.

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Towns trying to provide safe routes to schools (Champaign)
Sunday, August 26, 2007

Rick Langlois worries about how his son gets to school. When his son went to Robeson Elementary School in Champaign, Langlois often cycled with him. But now that son is headed to Jefferson Middle School, and ready for more independence.

Rest of story in Champaign News-Gazette archive.

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Board looks to make school routes safer
Thursday, June 7, 2007

Trustees approve application for program grant

By Sherrie Taylor

ALPHA - Village Board members Monday night approved a resolution to apply for a grant for the "Safe Routes to School" plan.
The reimbursement grant program, through Illinois Department of Transportation, provides for sidewalks, necessary easements, marking crosswalks and other safety work to provide for children's safety.

The board will get estimates for the work it is considering, but the plan has to be submitted by the end of June.

AlWood faculty member Cassie Hanson attended the meeting and discussed the changes the AlWood District is considering. At the elementary school, this will include changes in parking, bus zone, extending a fence and adding sidewalk.

The plan at the elementary school would result in a curb that would narrow East A Street.

"Narrowing routes slows traffic," Hanson said.

The board expressed concern about the condition of the shoulder of East A Street if the street is narrowed on the north, or school side. Board members planned to visit the site and consider how this might affect the street.

The Village Board will continue to work on a plan to get the Marlane addition residences connected to the rest of the village. This is part of the overall plan and was a top priority on a survey.

Trustee Angie Althaus has been working with Hanson on the plans for the village work with regard to this proposal and grant.

Bills were approved for payment, with the bill from Superior Asphalt amended to $4,150, the amount of the original estimate.

The bill submitted was in the amount of $8,926 and though additional patching work was added to the original estimate, Trustee Mike Petrovich, street chairman, will contact the business and any balance will be paid next month.

Petrovich explained preparation work for the blacktop scheduled for the west side of town. Village streets east of U.S. 150 were repaired and blacktopped a few years ago.

"Grading work needs to be done, possibly move a meter pit, install some culverts, and continue patching," Petrovich said.

The board approved a resolution to appropriate $120,000 in motor fuel tax funds to pay for the work.



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West Frankfort Safe Routes to Schools travel plan accepted

Students who attend West Frankfort schools, in particular Frankfort Intermediate School and Central Junior High School, were given even more reason to be optimistic earlier this week about the prospects of sidewalks eventually lining Ninth Street and providing them with a safer alternative than the route some are currently forced to take when walking to school.

The West Frankfort Safe Routes to Schools (WFSRTS) Travel Plan has been accepted by the Illinois Safe Routes to School Program (SRTS) and is now eligible to submit projects and programs.

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Walking school bus in Quincy
Monday, May 28, 2007

By Rajah Maples

QUINCY, IL -- Here's a another followup to a story we brought you about kids walking to and from school in Quincy.....and the safety concerns involved.

Some parents have put some of those worries to rest by starting what's called a "walking school bus."

It's a group of students, led and monitored by parents, who walk to school *together.*

Of course, there wasn't anything like that around when *I* attended elementary school, so I took out my walking shoes to check it out.

Parents Maureen Crickard and Belinda Cullo say this walking school bus's daily route to Madison and Baldwin schools serves several purposes.

Maureen Crickard: "We thought it would be a good idea..... great exercise and a great way to start the day."

Not to mention a way to dodge high gas prices and increase student safety. Some Quincy parents have expressed concern over kids' safety walking to and from school due to lack of sidewalks and traffic congestion in some parts of the city. A walking school bus like this one, addresses some of those concerns.

What's it like to be on a walking school bus?
Lauren McLaughlin & George Crickard (4th Graders): "It's tough 'cause we have to get everyone where they ought to be."

But the reward is that good ol' sendoff from mom to help get the day started off on the right foot.

The City of Quincy hopes to create more of these walking school buses next school year as part of its Safe Routes to School.


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Plan aims to get more Quincy students walking to school
Thursday, May 03, 2007

By Rajah Maples

QUINCY, IL -- We have more information on the story we brought you last week about Quincy's Safe Routes to Schools program.

We told you that Quincy is joining a national program to help cut down on childhood obesity by encouraging students to walk or ride their bikes to and from school.

But some parents say they fear for their kids' safety.

KHQA's Rajah Maples walked home from school with a couple of parents and their children to get an idea of the problems.

Here's what she found.

Cheryl Otten's and Melissa Heiden's daughters attend Ellington School in the northeast part of Quincy. These mothers walk their kids home from school on most days, because they don't want them walking home without an adult.

They don't live very far from school, but they're not taking any chances........especially with a registered sex offender in the area.

Rajah: "What are some of your concerns?" Cheryl: "There are no sidewalks, and you never know who will be driving by. She's only 9 years old, and I feel like I'm putting bait out there."

Melissa: "The traffic is so bad. It would probably be a straight shot to our home if we walked all the way down 30th, but I know we would *never* get across the street. Traffic is really bad in this area at this time of the day."

Traffic is a concern around any school. But Ellington is unique. Huck Store Fixture Company is just a block west, Titan Wheel is behind that, and and A-D-M is right next door. That means lots of big traffic, and some of the shift changes happen not long after kids leave school in the afternoon.

Plus, Melissa pushes her other child in a stroller when she picks up her daughter from school. When she *does* find a sidewalk to walk on, they're not always in good condition.

Both mothers are grateful they're able to walk their kids home. But they're concerned about other kids whose parents are working and aren't able to walk *their* kids home. They think the idea of letting kids walk to and from school is great, but it raises several safety issues they hope won't result in tragedy.

Both the city and the school are working together to fix some of these problems.


City Planner Chuck Bevelheimer has asked all public and parochial schools to submit recommendations to his office as part of the "Safe Routes to school" program.

Some of those recommendations include new sidewalks and buying and installing two speed enforcement signs, like the ones at Ellington, at every school.

Ellington Principal Anne Cashman plans to meet with the city later this week to talk about some of the school's needs.

Cashman says Ellington plans to address sidewalk issues on the West part of 30th Street and congestion problems on Lindell Street just south of the school.


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Walking home from school concerns (Quincy)
Thursday, May 03, 2007

By Rajah Maples

QUINCY, IL -- We have more information on the story we brought you last week about Quincy's Safe Routes to Schools program.

We told you that Quincy is joining a national program to help cut down on childhood obesity by encouraging students to walk or ride their bikes to and from school.

But some parents say they fear for their kids' safety.

KHQA's Rajah Maples walked home from school with a couple of parents and their children to get an idea of the problems.

Here's what she found.

Cheryl Otten's and Melissa Heiden's daughters attend Ellington School in the northeast part of Quincy. These mothers walk their kids home from school on most days, because they don't want them walking home without an adult.

They don't live very far from school, but they're not taking any chances........especially with a registered sex offender in the area.

Rajah: "What are some of your concerns?" Cheryl: "There are no sidewalks, and you never know who will be driving by. She's only 9 years old, and I feel like I'm putting bait out there."

Melissa: "The traffic is so bad. It would probably be a straight shot to our home if we walked all the way down 30th, but I know we would *never* get across the street. Traffic is really bad in this area at this time of the day."

Traffic is a concern around any school. But Ellington is unique. Huck Store Fixture Company is just a block west, Titan Wheel is behind that, and and A-D-M is right next door. That means lots of big traffic, and some of the shift changes happen not long after kids leave school in the afternoon.

Plus, Melissa pushes her other child in a stroller when she picks up her daughter from school. When she *does* find a sidewalk to walk on, they're not always in good condition.

Both mothers are grateful they're able to walk their kids home. But they're concerned about other kids whose parents are working and aren't able to walk *their* kids home. They think the idea of letting kids walk to and from school is great, but it raises several safety issues they hope won't result in tragedy.

Both the city and the school are working together to fix some of these problems.


City Planner Chuck Bevelheimer has asked all public and parochial schools to submit recommendations to his office as part of the "Safe Routes to school" program.

Some of those recommendations include new sidewalks and buying and installing two speed enforcement signs, like the ones at Ellington, at every school.

Ellington Principal Anne Cashman plans to meet with the city later this week to talk about some of the school's needs.

Cashman says Ellington plans to address sidewalk issues on the West part of 30th Street and congestion problems on Lindell Street just south of the school.


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Program promotes safer; healthier kids (SRTS Program Announcement)
Monday, April 23, 2007

A new initiative through the Illinois Department of Transportation is working to keep kids healthy and safe.

IDOT announced on Monday that $23 million will be made available to fund various state projects to promote students in grades K-8 to safely walk and bike to school.

The Safe Routes to School Program (SRTS) program will fund projects in Illinois schools and communities over the next three years.

The program will work to increase physical activity and safety for students, reduce traffic congestion around schools and enhance air quality.

“One of the most important things about this program is the fact it offers communities a safe way to help children incorporate physical activity in their everyday lives,” said IDOT Acting Secretary Milton Sees.

“I want to encourage communities to utilize this program that will not only provide additional exercise for children but puts safety first, providing parents the peace of mind in knowing their kids have a safe route to school,” Sees said.

Schools serving grades K through eight are eligible for funding. Funds may be used for infrastructure or non-infrastructure projects. Infrastructure projects must be within two miles of the school, while non-infrastructure projects have no boundary limitations.



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IDOT announces new program that encourages safe environment for kids that walk or bike to school: $23 million available to fund Safe Routes to School
IGNN (press release), IL - Apr 23, 2007



SPRINGFIELD—Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Acting Secretary Milton R. Sees announced today $23 million is available to fund projects that encourage and enable students to safely walk and bike to school. The new Safe Routes to School Program (SRTS) is a federally funded initiative that will fund projects in Illinois schools and communities over the next three years.

“One of the most important things about this program is the fact it offers communities a safe way to help children incorporate physical activity in their everyday lives,” said Acting Secretary Sees. “I want to encourage communities utilize this program that will not only provide additional exercise for children but puts safety first, providing parents the peace of mind in knowing their kids have a safe route to get to school. ”

This international movement works to increase student physical activity and safety, reduce traffic congestion around schools and enhance air quality. The National Centers for Safe Routes to School says the most successful programs are accomplished by implementing the five “E’s.”

• Education
• Enforcement
• Evaluation
• Engineering
• Encouragement

Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is a program of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration, administered by State Departments of Transportation. The program is designed to help communities develop and implement projects and programs to:


• Enable and encourage children, including those with disabilities, to walk and bicycle to school;
• Make bicycling and walking to school a safer and more appealing transportation alternative, thereby encouraging a healthy and active lifestyle from an early age; and
• Facilitate the planning, development, and implementation of projects and activities that will improve safety and reduce traffic, fuel consumption, and air pollution in the vicinity of primary and middle schools (Grades K-8).

Schools serving grades K through eight are eligible for funding. Program funds may be used for infrastructure or non-infrastructure projects and are 100% funded, requiring no local match. Infrastructure projects must be within two miles of the school, while non-infrastructure projects have no boundary limitations. For more information about the funding progress, log onto http://www.dot.il.gov/saferoutes/index.html




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Safe routes to schools (Quincy)
KHQA - Quincy, IL, USA

QUINCY IL -- It's no secret that childhood obesity is an epidemic here in the U.S. One reason that kids are tipping the scales at such high weights is a lack of physical activity and fitness. So last year, the National Center for Safe Routes to Schools was established to help combat the problem. Now, the Quincy school district is working to get that program in its schools to keep kids active and healthy.

Statistics show fewer than 15 percent of students in the Quincy area currently walk or ride their bicycles to school. Both private and public schools in the city hope to boost that number by starting a Safe Routes to School travel program.

"We're targeting kids that live within a mile of schools, and are helping to facilitate them in walking to school and keeping them safe when doing so. We're looking at ideas to provide adults to help with that safety and then working to keep physical things safe as well," Berrian Principal Jill Reis said.

Physical improvements include painting crosswalk lines on streets, adding bike racks to school property, putting up speed signs to alert motorists of how fast they're going, and improving the condition of sidewalks. Schools are working with the Quincy city council and police department to secure federal grant money to help make those safety improvements. The safe routes committee hopes to get its grant application approved next month, and it could receive up to $400,000 to make those changes. There will also be an educational component to get students thinking about ways to safely walk and bike to school, all in an effort to help out the environment by having fewer cars driving kids to school, less congestion in school zones, and keeping kids physically fit.

"There's an educational component in there too. We're working with the physical education staff. They're doing a walking program, so we could tie into that and work with the fire department in their bike safety program as a tie-in to keep kids safe," Reis said.

And to get the program going, the schools want to get parent input. There will be a public meeting about the Safe Routes program at Baldwin School at 7 p.m. Thursday night.

Meanwhile, the Illinois Department of Transportation is doing its part to help. The department announced today that it will give $23 million in grants to fund safe routes projects in the state.


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Marion continues sidewalk refurbishing
Monday, April 23, 2007

BY JOHN D. HOMAN, THE SOUTHERN

MARION - The Unit 2 School District and city of Marion have joined forces to help refurbish as many sidewalks in town as possible.

Washington School Principal Deborah Runion said she is composing a Safe Routes to School plan to obtain federal funds through the Department of Transportation in order to build new sidewalks near schools in the community.

Safe Routes to School is a national program that encourages more children to walk and bike to school to improve their health.

"This is still in the preliminary stages," Runion said. "I can write the grant request for whatever we think we're going to need, but there's no guarantee we will get any money. A lot depends on how many other schools apply for the grant."

Runion said she would like to see sidewalks improved or replaced near all four of the district's elementary schools and one junior high in town.

"I basically have to identify areas around the schools that need improvement the most. If our plan is approved, then we can apply for grant funding."

Even if no federal grant monies are awarded to Marion, the city will continue with its sidewalk replacement program.

"We budget $50,000 a year with monies that come from a gasoline tax," said John Bradley, Marion street superintendent. "We have a list of requests and we try to get to the worst of the worst first. Last year, we did repair work on Warder Street, South Madison, South Mechanic and North Van Buren. Everyone wants new sidewalks, but we can only get so much done at a time."

Bradley said his staff of 15 works on sidewalks as time permits in and around digging ditches, removing tree limbs, replacing signage and more. "We can't accommodate everybody, but we do what we can."

Street Commissioner Gary Turnbull said sidewalk upgrades have been ongoing for the last three years.

"There hadn't been anything done for about the previous 40 years in town from what I could find," he said. "Some of the work we contracted out and some we do ourselves."

john.homan@thesouthern.com

351-5805


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Student safety, activity targeted (AlWood - Alpha/Woodhull)
April 8, 2007

By Sherrie Taylor

The Register-Mail

Woodhull - Children's health and safety are two of the primary issues of the Safe Routes to School program. Those issues also are important to residents in AlWood School District.
Community members are interested in the grant funds available through SRTS for communities that would like to address the issue of students arriving at school in high traffic, and an unsafe environment for walking and bicycling. In addition, more children are becoming less physically active and walking or biking to school would encourage activity.

The Safe Routes program allows parents and students to leave the car at home to reduce traffic surrounding the school, and walking and bicycling can contribute toward the development of a lifelong habit of physical activity.

Information about the program will be discussed at the Woodhull Village Board meeting Monday, and parents and residents who have questions, information or suggestions are encouraged to attend.

Cassie Hanson, AlWood special education teacher, and Angie Althaus, Alpha Village Board trustee and member of the Community Development Committee, attended an SRTS workshop in Moline in late February. Hanson will attend the Woodhull board meeting Monday to explain the program and answer questions relating to specifics including grant information.

Communities are being asked to cooperate in the program by engineering changes such as building and repairing sidewalks, improving streets and promoting the training of crossing guards.

Examples of SRTS include Elmhurst, where frequent walker cards are used to encourage students to walk or bicycle to school. They receive prizes based on the frequency of their walking and biking to school, as recorded on their punch cards.

In Phoenix, Arizona, parents and schools create routes, including maps, to show parents and students the walking routes and crossing locations.

AlWood Elementary school is on U.S. 150 and students in the south part of Woodhull are required to cross Illinois 17 to attend middle or high school or ride shuttle buses to Alpha.

"We'd like to see safer routes for the students to follow, whether they're walking or riding their bikes, there needs to be a designated route," Hanson said, adding, "Students would have the opportunity to use routes and be safe."

A caution light may be needed in Woodhull similar to what is in place in Alpha, she said, as well as designating a specific crossing site for Highway 17, she added.

Grant funds for any improvements are on a reimbursement basis, requiring the villages and school district to gather estimates for any work necessary to make this Safe Routes to School program a reality.

Grant funds are renewable until 2009, according to information at the February workshop.

"We have a great opportunity to complete some long awaited projects and support our school district, resulting in great payoffs for our kids," Althaus said.


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Let kids outdoors: Crime is down, but parents shelter their children as if there's a child predator on every corner.
March 29, 2007

By L.J. Williamson, (ljwilliamson.com) is a freelance writer in Los Angeles.

ONE SUNNY afternoon as our children played nearby, I asked a neighbor at what age she would allow her son to bicycle around the block by himself.

"I don't think I would ever do that," she replied. "The world is a very different place now than it was when we were growing up."

Did she really think the number of child molesters and kidnappers in the world had increased in the last 20 or 30 years, I asked? "Oh, yes, I think it is increasing. Because of the Internet."

At a PTA meeting, during a discussion of traffic problems around the school campus, I asked what we could do to encourage families to walk or bike to school. Other parents looked at me as if I'd suggested we stuff the children into barrels and roll them into the nearest active volcano. One teacher looked at me in shock. "I wouldn't let my children walk to school alone … would you?"

"Haven't you heard about all of the predators in this area?" asked a father.

"No, I haven't," I said. "I think this is a pretty safe neighborhood."

"You'd be surprised," he replied, lowering his eyebrows. "You should read the Megan's Law website." He continued: "You know how to solve the traffic problem around this school? Get rid of all the predators. Then you won't have any more traffic."

Huh?

Our hyper-anxiety about the safety of children is creating a society in which any outdoor activity that doesn't take place under the supervision of a coach or a "psychomotor activities" mandate from the state is too risky to attempt.

An example: My son's school has a written rule that students in grades K-4 may not ride their bicycles to school. My son and I cheerfully ignore this restriction; I think school rules belong on campus, not off. As we ride together each day, I remember the Huffy Sweet 'n' Sassy I rode to school when I was a kid. Hot pink, with a flowered wicker basket, it stood out among the other bikes parked in the crowded racks, its tall orange safety flag flapping in the breeze.

Now, my son's bike stands alone, always the sole occupant of the school's tucked-in-a-faraway-corner bike rack. When we arrive, other kids look at us in amazement and ask questions like "Why do you ride a bike?" and "Don't you have a car?"

Although statistics show that rates of child abduction and sexual abuse have marched steadily downward since the early 1990s, fear of these crimes is at an all-time high. Even the panic-inducing Megan's Law website says stranger abduction is rare and that 90% of child sexual-abuse cases are committed by someone known to the child. Yet we still suffer a crucial disconnect between perception of crime and its statistical reality. A child is almost as likely to be struck by lightning as kidnapped by a stranger, but it's not fear of lightning strikes that parents cite as the reason for keeping children indoors watching television instead of out on the sidewalk skipping rope.

And when a child is parked on the living room floor, he or she may be safe, but is safety the sole objective of parenting? The ultimate goal is independence, and independence is best fostered by handing it out a little at a time, not by withholding it in a trembling fist that remains clenched until it's time to move into the dorms.

Meanwhile, as rates of child abduction and abuse move down, rates of Type II diabetes, hypertension and other obesity-related ailments in children move up. That means not all the candy is coming from strangers. Which scenario should provoke more panic: the possibility that your child may become one of the approximately 100 children who are kidnapped by strangers each year, or one of the country's 58 million overweight adults?

In 1972, 87% of children who lived within a mile of school walked or biked daily; today, just 13% of children get to school under their own power, according to the Centers

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