Superintendent's Memo #179-09

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education

July 10, 2009

TO: Division Superintendents

FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Virginia Department of Transportation Safe Routes to School Funding Opportunities for Elementary & Middle Schools (K-8)


The Virginia Department of Transportation is pleased to announce that approximately $3.5 million of federal funds will be awarded for local Safe Routes to School programs and projects during this school year in Virginia. No local matching funds are required.

Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is an opportunity to make walking and bicycling to school safer for students, increase the number of students who choose to walk and bicycle, enhance students' health and well-being, and ease traffic congestion near the school. Local Safe Routes to School programs start with the creation of a "School Travel Plan." A School Travel Plan outlines a school's or school division's strategy for making travel to and from school more sustainable and safe. The plan is created through a team-based process that identifies the barriers to biking and walking and the solutions to address them. Successful SRTS programs involve the whole community and include parents, children, neighborhood groups, schools, law enforcement, community leaders and transportation planners.

Once a school or division has a plan approved by the Virginia Department of Transportation, it will be eligible to apply for funding through a competitive application process. Funds up to $100,000 per application will be awarded for the implementation of local Safe Routes to School programs. Program funds may be used for education, a crossing guard training program, a divisionwide program manager who coordinates the implementation of programs at several schools, or other approved activities that promote walking and biking to school.

In addition to program funds, funding up to $500,000 will be available for infrastructure engineering and construction projects for sidewalks, trails, and road crossings that improve walking and biking opportunities within two miles of an elementary or middle school.

For general information about the Safe Routes to School program, please go to the National Center for Safe Routes to School website at http://www.saferoutesinfo.org/. For specific information about Virginia's Safe Routes to School Program, school travel plan and the application process, please go to http://www.virginiadot.org/saferoutes.

Completed School Travel Plans must be received by the Virginia Department of Transportation no later than November 27, 2009. Applications must be received by the Virginia Department of Transportation no later than 5 p.m. on December 28, 2009.

If you have questions, please contact Sarah Weisiger, Statewide Safe Routes to School coordinator, Virginia Department of Transportation, Transportation and Mobility Planning Division, by e-mail at Sarah.Weisiger@vdot.virginia.gov or by telephone at (804) 371-4868; or Vanessa Wigand, principal specialist for health education, physical education and driver education, Office of Middle and High School Instruction, by e-mail at Vanessa.Wigand@doe.virginia.gov or by telephone at (804) 225-3300.

PIW / VW / yba