MnDOT offers funding to develop Safe Routes to School
Minnesota schools and communities wanting to develop safer places for students to walk and bicycle can apply for three different grant opportunities this fall through the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School program, according to a press release.
Communities and schools can apply for planning assistance grants to help assess current conditions and create plans to improve walking and bicycling through programs and infrastructure. SRTS Boost grants support existing SRTS work, like adding bicycles to schools to improve physical education curriculum or addressing a community-specific need to help more students walk and bicycle to school safely. The application deadline for the grants is Nov. 25.
Infrastructure grants can fund projects that create safer streets for students to walk and bicycle, the release stated. Anyone interested in this funding must submit a letter of intent by Oct. 31.
“This year we’ve learned a lot can change in a student’s life, but walking and bicycling are still ways for kids to just be kids and they deserve to be able to do those activities safely,” said Dave Cowan, SRTS coordinator. “We recognize the challenges schools and communities are facing and this funding can help make safety improvements for the long term.”
After a SRTS plan is developed, schools and communities can use that plan to apply for funds to advance infrastructure such as sidewalks, crosswalks and signage or non-infrastructure solutions such as community engagement, educational programming and encouragement events.
The planning process works to engage stakeholders, analyze existing data and set a prioritized list of strategies to make it safer and easier for youth to walk and bicycle to school.
“Safe Routes to School plans, programs and infrastructure improvements can help communities get students to walk and bicycle to school again,” Cowan said. “This helps students build physical activity into their day, arriving at school refreshed and ready to learn.”
Since 2006, MnDOT has worked with hundreds of schools and communities around the state to fund plans, bike fleets and infrastructure improvements to advance safe routes to school efforts across the state.