Gov. Quinn Announces $13 Million is Awarded to Communities to Create Safe Routes to School

CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–August 5, 2009.  Governor Pat Quinn today announced $13.1 million in Safe Routes to School grants to schools and communities across the state.  This 100 percent federally funded program is designed to enable and encourage children to walk and bike to school.

“This innovative program reaches out to our youth, instilling in them the healthy habits of physical activity,” said Governor Quinn. “With Illinois ranked fourth in the nation for childhood obesity rates, providing children with a safe and secure means of walking to school is an important tool to improve the health of our children.”

The 171 funded projects include projects encompassing everything from sidewalk repair to safety training for students and equipment for police and crossing guards.  Safe Routes to School encourages a holistic approach to make it safer and more practical for children to walk to school, using the Five E’s: engineering, encouragement, education, enforcement and encouragement.

IDOT Secretary Gary Hannig stated that the agency received almost 200 applications adding up to $27.9 million in requests,” Hannig said.  “Safe Routes to School has become a part of many Illinois schools and communities, and we encourage anyone who is interested in implementing Safe Routes to contact the Department for information on how to bring Safe Routes to your community.”

Safe Routes to School is a program of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration.  The program is designed to:

• Enable and encourage children, including those with disabilities, to walk and bicycle to school;
• Make bicycling and walking to school a safer and more appealing transportation option, encouraging a healthy and active lifestyle from an early age; and
• Facilitate projects and activities that will improve safety and reduce traffic, fuel consumption, and air pollution in the vicinity of primary and middle schools
(Grades K-8).