Six communities in Western New York will receive a share of $2.18 million in grants to improve safety for children walking and bicycling to school. These funds were awarded as a part of NYSDOT’s Safe Routes to School Program, a federally funded initiative to encourage more school children to walk and bicycle to school safely.
U.S. Congressman Brian Higgins said, “This federal grant will provide new and better bicycle and pedestrian routes to schools in Western New York. These enhancements will not only fulfill a necessary and primary goal of providing better safety for local students, it also builds the infrastructure that creates walkable neighborhoods and encourages physical activity and healthier living.”
Under this program, which was created by Federal Law in 2005, funding is made available to improve traffic safety conditions for bicycling and walking around schools serving the K-8 grades. The program also funds education programs that address pedestrian and bicycling safety, and encouragement programs to increase bicycling and walking among children. The total amount of funding available statewide was $27.4 million. The six communities receiving grants were among 19 Western New York communities that completed a competitive process to receive grants.
NYSDOT Regional Director Alan E. Taylor said, “The Department of Transportation is proud to actively help our local communities address their pedestrian and bicycling safety concerns around schools, and encourage more walking and bicycling as an alternative transportation option through the Safe Routes to School Program.”
The six grant recipients include:
The City of Buffalo: $550,000 for traffic signal upgrades, crosswalks, and paving at intersections surrounding Hamlin Park School No. 74. Funding will also be used to provide a full time Safe Routes to School Program Coordinator.
The City of Olean School District: $385,000 for new sidewalks and traffic signal upgrades at five schools, and funding to start a volunteer safety patrol program and healthy living curriculum.
The Town of Amherst: $550,000 to construct sidewalks and connecting pathways at Country Parkway, Dodge, Heim, and Maple Elementary Schools. A new Safe Routes to School Education program will be funded in the Williamsville Central School District and the Amherst Police Department will deploy a School Zone Speed Monitoring Trailer.
The City of Dunkirk: $550,000 to construct sidewalk upgrades on four major pedestrian routes to school.
The Town of Grand Island: $57,000 to install new sidewalk segments on local streets surrounding Kaegebein Elementary School and to reconstruct a portion of the Love Road Pathway to address drainage problems.
Chautauqua County: $93,182 to fund a safety training program for schoolchildren focusing on bicycle, pedestrian and traffic safety.