PHOENIX, Ariz. - The Arizona Department of Transportation has awarded $2.2 million in Safe Routes to School (SRTS) funds in its third grant cycle. The program was created by the U.S. Congress to make it safer and easier for elementary and middle school students to walk and bicycle to school, in an effort to counteract the epidemic of obesity and diabetes in this country.
Since the 1960s childhood obesity has quadrupled. A contributing factor is the general decline in physical activity. Some health experts are predicting that the lifespan of many children will be less than their parents due to weight-related diseases.
Barriers to walking and bicycling can include busy streets, neighborhoods with poor connections to schools, and large schools that are distant from residential neighborhoods.
Grant recipients include the city of Holbrook. Monies will be used to construct sidewalks and ADA accessible curb ramps; install six solar powered traffic control signs; and secure bicycle racks. Other recipients include the Coconino County Health Department, and the Navajo County Public Health Services District.
The ADOT Safe Routes to School Program also awarded $80,000 to five communities for planning assistance. This program provides assistance to in-need communities that want to participate in SRTS programs and projects. The program also includes grant writing assistance that enables the recipients to compete for SRTS funds in support of recommended programs and projects.
For more information on ADOT's Safe Routes to School Program, including eligibility and funding criteria, visit the Web site at
http://tpd.azdot.gov/saferoutes or contact Brian Fellows at (602) 712-8010.
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