Safe Routes to School in Michigan | Success Stories | Michigan Partner Affiliates | Existing Legislation and Policies

Safe Routes to School in Michigan

Funding for Safe Routes to School 

For the latest information on Michigan's mini-grant program awards to 17 different schools for an average of $4,050 per school, click here.

Michigan has funded more than 150 local Safe Routes to School projects totaling $31.8 million. As a prerequisite for funding eligibility, schools must complete a school-based planning process culminating in the creation of a Safe Routes to School Action Plan. Michigan does not have a state advisory committee.

There are two pots of federal dollars currently available for Safe Routes to School programs and projects. The first pot is from the old transportation law (SAFETEA-LU), and does not require matching funds. This pot is still available in many states, find out about Michigan here. The second pot of money is from the Transportation Alternatives Program, in the current transportation bill (MAP-21), and it requires local matching funds. Find out how the Michigan Department of Transportation is handling this transition here.

Applications are invited on a rolling basis, and reviewed quarterly. Contact with the Safe Routes to School regional coordinator well before the application due date is essential: our role is to help make each application as competitive as possible. 

Find out more information on federal funding by exploring our MAP-21 Resource Center, reviewing the most current State of the States funding report and reading the most recent national news on Safe Routes to School.

For other Safe Routes to School resources, check out our library of resources, webinar archive or blogs

Visit the Michigan Safe Routes to School program website for more information.

State Outreach Programs

The Michigan Fitness Foundation provides statewide Safe Routes to School training, outreach, technical assistance, funding award administration, and Safe Routes to School Network Partner subcontract administration. Strategies and materials focused around the 5 Es are developed by the Foundation to include middle school youth/schools, underserved populations, and students with disabilities in the state program.

Outreach and technical assistance includes: the state website www.saferoutesmichigan.org; assistance via e-mail and telephone; application support services, presentations and site visit services; Walk to School and Bike to School Day coordination and resources; e-news and updates; and materials development and distribution. Training opportunities include regional (general) training sessions and specialized sessions focused on developing action planning capacity within local Safe Routes to School teams. MFF, in partnership with Safe Routes to School Network entities, extends the reach to local health departments and extension offices, populations with disabilities, trail and bicycle advocacy groups, urban core areas, the planning profession, engineering specialists, and others as identified.

Michigan Partner Affiliates

Find out which organizations in your state have pledged their support for the Safe Routes to School movement. If your organization isn't yet a partner affilate, we would love for you to join us; it's free! Find more info on joining here.

Existing Legislation and Policies

Michigan Passes Complete Streets Legislation, August 2010

In August 2010, Governor Jennifer Granholm signed Public Act 135, which amends Public Act 51 of 1951 governing the expenditure of state transportation funding, and Public Act 134, which amends the Michigan Planning Enabling Act, making Michigan the 14th state to pass complete streets legislation.  In a letter to department staff the Michigan DOT director wrote that, “The transportation world is changing. We can face this change fearfully, or with confidence. In my five years as director, we have faced many challenges, adapted to change and are a better organization for doing so. I am confident we can rise to the challenge of implementing the new complete streets law – in letter and spirit – and emerge a stronger organization and ultimately, a better state.”

The Jasmine Miles School Children Safety Act, 2204

In 2004, the Jasmine Miles School Children Safety Act, introduced after Jasmine Miles was struck and killed as she walked home from school, was signed into law. The Act amended the Michigan Vehicle Code as outlined on Michigan’s Policy and Legislation page.

In 2006, the Michigan State Board of Education officially endorsed the state’s Safe Routes to School program.

Success Stories

If you would like to submit a success story for consideration, please email it to Margaux Mennesson.

Highland Park, MI

Highland Park, MI prioritized a number of infrastructure improvements, including sidewalk repair, replacement and installation, demolition of abandoned buildings and cleanup of vacant lots. Federal funding was awarded in late 2008 in the amount of $900,000 to construct the infrastructure improvements and close to $54,000 for traffic safety education, volunteer recruitment and encouragement activities. Safety has improved with uniformed parent crossing guards help students safely cross streets, and adults are more visible on the street during arrival and dismissal times. Older students are regularly walking together with younger students, and the police have increased their presence around the schools and in the neighborhoods.

Make Trax CD Materials Now Available

Geared toward upper elementary and middle school students, Make Trax is an 8-lesson research project that provides the youth voice of Safe Routes to School in Michigan. The Make Trax curriculum CD is now available to assist schools with Make Trax classroom or after-school activities. Join the Make Trax Network to receive periodic updates about activities, training, and other Make Trax opportunities.

Community Collaborations

In Michigan, local Safe Routes to Schools (SR2S) teams identify barriers to walking/bicycling/rolling to school and develop a 5 Es action plan of priority steps to address local concerns. The Michigan SR2S Handbook details these action planning steps. SR2S outreach to urban underserved communities in 2006 and 2007 resulted in local leaders identifying not only barriers to walking/bicycling to school – but barriers to the action planning process itself.

Exceptional local partnerships developed in 2007 and 2008 to assist local Safe Routes to School teams with planning activities. In Detroit, local foundations, The Skillman Foundation and the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan, were joined by city officials, the school district and others from a wide spectrum of Detroit initiatives, including the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, to promote the value of safe routes to school planning and bring human-power to the task of completing plans. In Highland Park, the Reggie McKenzie Foundation took a leadership role and brought their seasoned community development skills to the task. In Hamtramck, the Arab Community Economic Support and Services (ACCESS) organization led the way in a school-district wide effort. The Michigan State Housing Development Authority was an early leader as well and brought LISC AmeriCorps volunteer staff to SR2S initiatives in 8 of Michigan’s poorest cities. Michigan Department of Transportation staff have also recognized the collaborative power of the SR2S movement and continue as strong state partners.

Safe Routes to School success is measured in a number of ways. Of the over 50 Safe Routes to School funding awards in Michigan as of September, 2008, Michigan is proud to say that over 50% of those awards were made to schools in urban underserved communities who completed the action planning process. Much is still being learned – stay tuned!

Frost Elementary, Jackson, MI: Community Collaboration

Frost Elementary started its Safe Routes to School program in the 2003-2004 school year. The team at Frost wanted to start a program at their school, while also incorporating a larger vision including collaboration with the wider community of the City of Jackson. The first step in this endeavor was Frost Elementary school’s Walk to School Day in the fall of the 2004. The team sought to highlight the joy and fun of walking and bicycling to school. The event was such a big hit at Frost Elementary that other schools in the area participated the following year and over 1200 students participated in Walk to School Day in October 2005 in Jackson!

With the cooperation of the Fitness Council of Jackson, the team at Frost developed a marketing campaign to recruit other area schools to join the program. Five schools teams, which included students, parents, administrators, seniors, city officials and law enforcement, have grown their program to include Walking School Buses every day with 10 designated routes throughout the city. Low youth involvement moved the teams to encourage walking to and from school by offering incentives such as punch cards and “Walking Around the World” passports.

Since 2004, the data collected from Frost Elementary suggests a 15 percent increase in walking to school, as well as a 12 percent increase in walking home from school. 

Meg Thomas
Safe Routes to School Director
Governor's Council on Physical Fitness, Michigan Fitness Foundation
(517) 908-3814

Jackson, Michigan, Frost Elementary Walk to School Day

Jackson, Michigan, Frost Elementary Walk to School Day


Safe Routes to School Federal Program:

Michigan DOT SRTS Coordinator
Bryan Armstrong, AICP
(517) 335-2636
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