Minnesota communities and schools wanting to develop safer places for students to walk and bicycle to school can apply for three different grant opportunities this fall through the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program. Application deadlines are Jan. 10, 2020.

Communities and schools can apply for planning assistance grants to help assess current conditions and create plans to improve walking and biking paths. SRTS “boost” grants support existing SRTS work and infrastructure grants can fund projects that create safer streets for students to walk and bicycle.

“Once a plan is developed, schools and communities can use that plan to apply for Safe Routes to Schools grants to advance infrastructure such as sidewalks, crosswalks and signage or non-infrastructure solutions such as educational programming, encouragement events and enforcement near schools,” said Dave Cowan, SRTS coordinator. “We’re excited to offer communities three funding opportunities to support their local efforts.”

The planning process works to engage stakeholders, analyze existing data and set a prioritized list of strategies to make it safer and easier for youth to walk and bicycle to school.

Cowan said nationally walking and bicycling to school is on the decline, decreasing from 48% of students in 1969 to 17%  in 2014.

“Safe Routes to School plans, programs and infrastructure improvements can help communities get students to walk and bicycle to school again,” Cowan said. “This helps students build physical activity into their day, arriving at school refreshed and ready to learn.”

Since 2006, MnDOT has worked with hundreds of schools and communities around the state to fund plans, bike fleets and infrastructure improvements to advance safe routes to school efforts across the state.

To learn more about the grants or programs, visit the SRTS website.

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