Grant to Support Safe Routes to School

The "Creating Safer Streets Near Schools" study highlighted 15 priority schools in San Mateo County, ten of which will receive grants to improve safety.SMCOE's Safe Routes to School program and the County of San Mateo’s Health Policy and Planning (HPP) Division received a $100,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety to support their work to promote Safe Routes to School programs at ten schools located in high poverty areas and near unsafe intersections. The grant came as a result of a study completed last school year, which the Silicon Valley Bike Coalition’s Annual Bike Summit honored with its 2018 Project of the Year Award.
A generation ago, the majority of children walked or biked to school. As traffic has increased, many parents have become convinced that the safest way for their children to travel to school is in a car, which only adds to the traffic and makes streets even more dangerous. This issue is especially serious for children in lower-income communities, who often walk and bike to school out of necessity, and in areas where the infrastructure often does not support safe routes.
To understand and address this issue, SMCOE's Safe Routes to School program partnered with HPP to prepare the report, Creating Safer Streets Near SchoolsThe report highlights 15 priority schools located in high poverty areas and within a quarter mile of unsafe intersections with a large number of pedestrian and bicyclist collisions. The intersections near these schools account for almost 30 percent of all collisions in San Mateo County involving someone walking or biking.
The new grant will allow SMCOE and HPP to support Safe Routes to School programs at ten of these priority schools and provide pedestrian and bicyclist safety presentations in the surrounding communities. The Safe Routes to School team is also bringing together school and city staff to work together on transportation related issues around schools and other initiatives.

“It is exciting to be part of a project that started as an idea, became a study, and is now funded for action. I can’t wait to get started!” said SMCOE’s Safe Routes to Schools Coordinator Theresa Vallez-Kelly.

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