Update from the Indiana Safe Routes to School Program
The Indiana Safe Routes to School program is alive and well! Having completed six application rounds since its inception in 2006, there are now 114 infrastructure projects and non-infrastructure activities that have been awarded funding in the Hoosier State. For a map of Indiana’s Safe Routes to School awards click here. In November 2011, a total of 18 infrastructure and 13 non-infrastructure awards, benefitting 81 public and private schools, were announced by the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT). After reviewing and scoring 46 applications seeking more than $8.1 million, the Indiana Safe Routes to School Advisory Committee recommended nearly $5.1 million in activities and improvements for the INDOT Commissioner to consider and approve. The 2011 Safe Routes to School award cycle was the largest in the Indiana Safe Routes program’s history.
New and replacement sidewalks have been the most frequently requested infrastructure improvements in Indiana, not just in 2011 but in each application round. Crosswalks and curb ramps are also frequently proposed by cities, towns, counties, schools and school districts for funding. Some bicycling improvements, primarily bike parking and shared use paths, have been requested and approved each year.
Among the non-infrastructure work supported with the 2011 Safe Routes to School funding, the most popular activities are comprehensive safe routes plans, followed by encouragement activities and walking and bicycling skills training and education efforts.
On April 27, Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, visited a Safe Routes school in Indianapolis to walk with his grandchildren to school. The Mayor of Indianapolis, Greg Ballard, and the Commissioner of INDOT, Michael Cline, also accompanied the Secretary.
Despite the uncertain nature of continued federal funding for the Safe Routes program, the decision was made to move forward with a 2012 Safe Routes to School application cycle. Relying on transportation resources appropriated with continuing resolutions and remaining balances of past Safe Routes to School funding, INDOT announced that applications would be accepted from March 19 to May 29.