Ohio Dept. of Transportation to Award $4M to Schools Across the State

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) will award $4 million to school across Ohio as part of its Safe Routes to School program.

The Safe Routes to School Program is designed to assist communities in developing and implementing projects and programs that encourage and enable children in grades K-8, including those with disabilities, to walk or bike to school safely.

“We encourage each and every community with a need for this program to reach out and apply. In the past seven years, we have had the opportunity to work with schools and communities across the state to help them develop plans and implement projects that benefit the entire community. We look forward to finding new opportunities and continuing to improve the safety of transportation for our children,” said ODOT Director Jerry Wray.

Ohio is the first state in the country to develop a comprehensive process to define needs in the largest and most disadvantaged areas in the state. Currently ODOT is working with Toledo Public Schools, Akron Public Schools and Columbus City Schools to determine effective countermeasures to improve safety for students walking and bicycling to school. Cincinnati was the first community in the country to complete a school district wide school travel plan. The city of Cincinnati is working with Cincinnati Public Schools to implement aspects of that plan, including infrastructure, education and encouragement components. They have since used the momentum to leverage other funding.

“The district-wide school travel plan has and continues to be a community connection among our schools, our neighborhoods and our city,” said Carmen Burks, Cincinnati Public Schools, Safe Routes to School Program director. “As we move into the second year of implementation, the validation about the importance of the Safe Routes to School Program comes from the continued support and commitment to this project by the Ohio Department of Transportation and our local city officials.”

Local and regional governments, schools and community organizations are eligible to apply for funding. More information and applications are located on the Safe Routes to School Web site: www.dot.state.oh.us/saferoutes.

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