Caltrans Awards Sustainable Transportation Planning Grants to Safe Routes to School Projects!

ct_logo_trans (1)Caltrans has announced the latest round of Sustainable Transportation Planning grants, and three Safe Routes to School projects in Southern California (two in Los Angeles County, one in San Bernardino County) are among the winners:

  • City of Compton: Safe Routes to School Plan: This planning project will develop a comprehensive Safe Routes to School Plan with the goal of providing a safe built environment and increasing the number of children that walk and ride their bicycle to school. The City in partnership with the California Center for Public Health Advocacy will work with the school district, individual schools and parents to identify barriers to walking and bicycling and will prepare a plan with detailed recommendations and supportive policies for physical changes to streets, sidewalks and intersections that will support safe and active transportation to all the schools within the City.
  • City of San Fernando: Safe Routes to School Plan: This planning project will produce an adopted and community supported “Safe Routes to School Plan” for the entire City of San Fernando. The project includes studies of safety hazards and concerns faced by school- age children going to and from school. Extensive outreach will involve meetings and sessions with school officials, parents, community committees, and city staffs. The goal will be to encourage more schools and families to send kids to school by walking or bicycling through their neighborhood schools. The final Plan will list and describe measures, routes, and call for physical improvements to be implemented in the near-term. 
  • Town of Apple Valley: Safe Routes to School Master Plan: This planning project will result in a prioritized Master Plan for improving the highest risk school routes, enabling more students to walk or ride a bike to school. Most streets in Apple Valley, including school routes, do not have sidewalks. The planning process will include: comprehensive evaluation of conditions ten kindergarten through eight grade schools, risk analyses, community workshops, and developing a Safe Routes to Schools Coalition. A qualified planning consultant will oversee the planning process in which the Town and School District will achieve a united vision for addressing the most serious risks and opportunities for improving school routes. 

There are also two other projects that highlight Safe Routes to School in their project description (also both in Southern California):

  • City of Fontana: Active Transportation Master Plan: This Active Transportation Plan (ATP) will provide a clear and comprehensive framework for new and safer connectivity of non-motorized transportation options throughout the City. The ATP Plan will identify recommended improvements to existing bicycle and pedestrian pathways; propose new bikeways, pedestrian walkways, and Safe Routes to School networks to close existing gaps; and, establish on-going maintenance programs for these nonmotorized pathways. The ATP Plan will become an important component of the City’s planning portfolio and it will be compliant with the Complete Streets Act, Assembly Bill 1358. Public participation will be integral. 
  • South LA: Active Streets Los Angeles: Pedestrian and Bicycle-friendly Streets for South Los Angeles: Active Streets Los Angeles (LA) is a comprehensive, community-based outreach process that empowers residents to create safe walking and bicycling routes to parks, schools and local businesses along their neighborhood streets. The sub-recipients, in partnership with the LA County Department of Transportation, will utilize the proven Active Streets LA process to solicit community input and develop concept plans for bicycle and pedestrian safety improvements consistent with the City’s 2010 Bicycle Plan and draft Mobility Plan 2035’s neighborhood network. The result will be a technically feasible and thoroughly vetted network of proposed safety improvements throughout targeted neighborhoods in South LA

Many other awards will go to communities to create walking and bicycling master plans, conduct surveys and data collection and study corridors for complete streets improvements. The full award list is available here.

As noted at Streetsblog, this grant program fills a gap in the current Active Transportation Program, which has a very small (3%) set-aside for planning funds, yet requires many jurisdictions to have an active transportation plan before seeking infrastructure funding.

The Sustainable Transportation Planning Grant Program was created to support the California Department of Transportation’s (Caltrans) current Mission:  Provide a safe, sustainable, integrated and efficient transportation system to enhance California’s economy and livability. More information is available on the Caltrans website.

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