MnDOT allocates money to local schools for safer routes

Congdon Park Elementary in Duluth and Mesabi East School District in Aurora receive grant money from the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to support the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program, federal and state-allotted program that makes the commute to school safer for students.

The SRTS is a nationwide program that uses resources from the U.S. Department of Transpiration (USDOT), The Center for Disease Control (CDC), and the American Public Health Association (APHA), to aid in each state’s ability to promote safer routes for pedestrians and improve air quality around their schools.

There are two categories for schools to qualify to receive grant assistance. Planning assistance to help communities understand, prioritize, and identify issues and solutions and boosting to help communities with their existing local programs.

According to the MnDOT commissioner, Nancy Daubenberger, “Children have more opportunities to walk, bike, and roll to school because of the Safe Routes to School program. Thanks to this funding, students across the state can learn how to do these lifelong, fundamental activities in a safer setting.”

MnDOT has awarded over $60 million to Minnesota communities in support of the SRTS program since 2005. A majority of this funding was awarded toward infrastructure projects, with the remainder is used for planning and programs to promote walking and biking I our local communities.

Will Wlizlo, a SRTS Coordinator for Richfield Public Schools, said,” “Having visible, well-maintained places to park a bike is one important piece of the puzzle of encouraging bicycle riding. This kind of programming really makes other initiatives sing. This can be a city’s investments in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, or it can be other programs such as education or encouragement. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”