Safe Routes to School Program
Participation in Bike to School Day is Strong in Virginia
Close to 100 schools in Virginia will celebrate this year’s Bike to School Day on Wednesday, May 8. Planned activities include ribbon-cutting events for new bike racks, bike rodeos and safety assemblies, and walking school buses and bike trains. Elected officials from communities across the state are expected to participate, making this a popular springtime event.
The VDOT SRTS program staff encourages all schools to participate with an emphasis on safety and fun. A collection of photos from Bike to School Day will be available on the Virginia SRTS program website. School event coordinators can send their photos to info@VirginiaSRTS.org with Bike to School Day photos in the subject line.
Many of the schools participating in Bike to School day received a Safe Routes to School mini-grant to fund their event activities. Mini-grants are still available for late spring/ early summer activities, as well as for activities next fall, including Walk to School Day in October! Click here for more information.
The Safe Routes to School Program is a federally-funded program created under Section 1404 of the 2005 Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU).
As written in SAFETEA-LU, the purpose of the SRTS program is 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 alternative, thereby encouraging a healthy and active lifestyle from an early age
- Facilitate the planning, development, and implementation of projects and activities that will improve safety and reduce traffic, fuel consumption, and air pollution in the vicinity of schools
In July, a new transportation bill was signed into law – MAP-21. Unlike the previous legislation, MAP-21 does not provide funding specifically for Safe Routes to School (SRTS). Instead, SRTS activities will be eligible to compete for funding alongside other programs, including the Transportation Enhancements program and Recreational Trails program, as part of a new program called Transportation Alternatives.
The Virginia Department of Transportation is in the process of determining how to implement the new legislation and awaiting further guidance from FHWA. As more information becomes available, we will share it with you.
Virginia SRTS Program Strategic Plan
The VDOT Safe Routes to School Program completed a Strategic Plan to guide our work through 2017. The Plan is available for download by clicking on the cover.
Robert J. Williams
Safe Routes to Schools Program coordinator
Transportation and Mobility Planning Division
Virginia Department of Transportation
1401 E. Broad St.
Richmond, VA 23219