Why did the Chicken Cross the Road?
...to promote the launch of a Safe Routes to School program in Chagrin Falls
Chagrin Falls, March 23, 2009 -- The Chagrin Falls Police Department has received funding of up to $12,000 from the Ohio Department of Transportation to launch a Safe Routes to School program in Chagrin Falls.
The police department is excited to work together with Village Council, Chagrin Falls Schools, and parents and neighbors in Chagrin Falls on this rewarding project. "By joining forces, we can improve our neighborhoods and the health and safety of our children," stated Chief James Brosius.
A Kick-Off event will be held on Sunday, April 5th from 12 to 3 pm at Township Hall - Join the Chicken for FREE popcorn, balloons, games, a joke contest & information on safety for the whole family.
This funding will enable the Safe Routes to School team to create a strategic document, called a School Travel Plan (STP) for the Intermediate and Middle schools. The STP will identify barriers to walking through a number of measures including input from parents, community members and students, as well as a traffic engineering study of the 2 mile radius around the schools. The analysis of the current travel environment will enable the team to propose a set of prioritized solutions. These may include improvements to sidewalks, signage, crosswalks, and traffic signals, as well as education, encouragement, and enforcement.
Once the STP is approved by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), Chagrin Falls can apply for additional funding to help cover 100% of the costs of targeted improvements. This subsequent funding could provide Chagrin Falls with up to $300,000 to implement changes that will benefit walkers and bicyclists. "There is a significant amount of federal funding available to communities like ours that seek to maintain and improve walkability. The health and safety of the kids in our community is a priority and we are very pleased to have an opportunity to make improvements with funding from outside the Village, School and police department's budgets." stated Steven Patton, President of Village Council.
"Currently, there is no safe path from the Middle School or Intermediate School to the Chagrin Falls Public Library and we support the community's efforts to improve safety so that everyone can enjoy the resources the library has to offer," stated Kimberly Dressell, branch manager for the Chagrin Falls Public Library. The implications of community Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs can be far-reaching. They can improve safety, not just for children, but for all pedestrians and bicyclists. They provide opportunities for people to become more physically active and to rely less on their motor vehicles. SRTS programs benefit the environment and a community's quality of life by reducing traffic congestion and motor vehicle emissions.
These funds were made available through legislation passed by Congress in 2005. In this legislation, termed the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), Congress designated a total of $612 million toward developing the National Safe Routes to School Program. The Ohio SRTS program is funded by the Federal Highway Administration and is administered by ODOT. The Ohio SRTS program aims to assist communities in helping children walk safely to school, while developing good walking habits for a lifetime.
Funding from ODOT has been used by many Ohio communities to first assess barriers to active transportation and later to implement changes to improve safety and encourage walking and biking. The State of Ohio has already funded over $6 million to Ohio communities and is projected to provide another $5 million in 2009.
The purpose of the Chagrin Falls Safe Routes to School program is to maintain and improve safe walking conditions around the Chagrin Falls schools. The program seeks to make walking and biking to school a safer more appealing transportation alternative, thereby encouraging a healthy and active lifestyle from an early age. The group will plan, develop and implement projects and activities that will improve safety and reduce traffic, fuel consumption, and air pollution in the vicinity of schools.
Safe Routes to School Chagrin Falls Team Leader