The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) recently announced the next cycle of their Safe Routes to School Grant. If your community has a school that needs safety improvements for students to walk and bike to school, this is an opportunity for you.
Perhaps your community needs to improve a crossing of a busy street to allow an area to safely access the school. Perhaps your community needs a protected bike lane along an arterial that borders a school. Perhaps your community needs a multi-use trail and bridge cutting across a ravine to create a short and direct route from a neighborhood to the school. The possibilities are near endless!
Public agencies can apply for funding from WSDOT for projects that will increase the number of students walking and biking to school safely, and are within 2 miles of a school. Components of the grant can include engineering, enforcement, encouragement, and education (like our Bike and Pedestrian Safety Education Program). This is a good opportunity to bring together school and city staff to plan how they can work together to make it easier and safer for students to walk and bike to school.
Applications are due May 5th, 2014. WSDOT will host a webinar on March 3, 2014 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m to provide an overview of the grant and answer questions. Go to the Pedestrian and Bicycle and Safe Routes to School Programs Call for Projects Webinar Page to register. The full announcement of the grant can be found here.
Currently, funding for this grant and the accompanying Pedestrian and Bicycle Program grant is $8 million in total. This is significantly less than the $30.45 million funded in the 2013-2015 biennium, and a fraction of the approximately $60 million in requests WSDOT received for the last cycle. The state government is currently working on a supplemental budget that may be able to address this shortfall. You can read about that, and what you can do, in this blog post.