NJDOT launches statewide Safe Routes to School Program
(Trenton) - In an effort to encourage New Jersey’s children to walk and bike to school, Commissioner Kris Kolluri today launched the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s (NJDOT) $15 million Safe Routes to School Program. The 2006 initiative will provide $3.4 million to local governments for projects including the creation of safer walkways, bikeways and street crossings near schools.
“The Safe Routes to School program is a critical component of Governor Corzine’s landmark pedestrian safety initiative,” said Kolluri. “By working with municipalities, we can improve safety on our roads for all pedestrians, and especially schoolchildren. I encourage local officials to help improve pedestrian safety by participating in the Safe Routes to Schools program.”
NJDOT will immediately begin accepting applications for Safe Routes to School funding. The goal of New Jersey's Safe Routes to School Program is to assist communities in developing and implementing projects and programs that encourage walking and bicycling to school while enhancing the safety of these trips. The program also increases pedestrian safety awareness among motorists and schoolchildren.
"Providing safe routes for our children to get to school is a critical component of the pedestrian safety initiative,” stated Congressman Bill Pascrell, a senior member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. “Student safety on our streets requires a combination of education, engineering, and enforcement. Most importantly it requires a commitment from the community. Governor Corzine and Commissioner Kolluri have made that commitment by designating the state and federal dollars to implement our shared vision."
These programs can bring a wide range of benefits to students and the community. Safe Routes to School can provide an easy way for children to improve their health by getting regular physical activity and can help ease traffic jams and reduce pollution around schools.
"Pedestrian safety must be one of New Jersey's top priorities. The Safe Routes to Schools Program provides important funding that helps create safe routes for our children to walk to school" said Assemblyman John S. Wisniewski, "The program promotes walking and bicycling to school as an alternative to driving, and addresses the safety concerns of parents by funding sidewalks, dedicated bikeways and other means to make ourstreets safer."
Governor Jon S. Corzine in September announced the creation of a five-year, $74 million initiative to improve pedestrian safety throughout New Jersey by encouraging motorists to safely share the road with pedestrians through engineering, education and enforcement. The initiative includes $15 million over five years for the Safe Routes to Schools program.
The NJDOT Safe Routes to School program is part of a national program conducted in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Through the 2005 passage of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), Congress designated a total of $612 million toward developing the National Safe Routes to School Program.