Funding for Safe Routes to School
Oklahoma has funded 55 local Safe Routes to School projects totaling more than $6.4 million. To be considered for infrastructure or ion-infrastructure project funding, applicants must complete a Safe Routes to School Travel Plan. Oklahoma has 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 Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma Department of Transportation is handling this transition here.
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.
Visit the Oklahoma Safe Routes to School program website for more information.
State Outreach Programs
The Oklahoma Safe Routes to School program has received a grant of $47,000 from the CDC through the Oklahoma State Department ot Health. This funding will be used in three different areas:
- Training and materials to a pilot program for the Safe Cyclist program for Grades 3-5;
- Funding to establish the American Automobile Association’s School Safety Patrol program in 30 additional schools;
- Funding for media and promotional activities for the OK Safe Routes to School program.
Through the efforts of Jan Fees, the City of Edmond recently adopted the first Complete Streets resolution in Oklahoma. Efforts are underway in Guthrie and Stillwater to encourage their City Councils to pass similar resolutions.
An Oklahoma Network Action Team lead by Mary Talley of the Oklahoma State University Seretean Wellness Center has completed the development of a pedestrian safety curriculum for Grades K-2. This classroom ready curriculum, called WalkSmart!, is available for free download on the State Department of Health website at www.ok.gov/strongandhealthy.
A new curriculum subcommittee has been formed to start working on a bike/ped safety curriculum for grades K-2. They will be reviewing existing curricula with an eye towards adapting or adopting rather than originating.
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.
In the fall of 2009, the Oklahoma Safe Routes to School Network, in partnership with the Sustainable Oklahoma Network and Neighborhood Alliance of Oklahoma City, has been awarded a $6000 grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation to investigate school siting policy in Oklahoma. The program will be termed the Neighborhood Schools Planning and Preservation Project.
Senate Bill 399 passed the Oklahoma Senate and House of Representatives and was signed into law by the Governor on April 20, which establishes a revolving fund to be used exclusively for Safe Routes to School funds. While the bill does not have any funding attached to it, the language will establish a process for distributing future Safe Routes to School funding, when it is received. The bill was introduced by Senator Cliff Brannon, Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee.
If you would like to submit a success story for consideration, please email it to Margaux Mennesson.
Lawton Safe Routes to School - Walking School Bus
Lawton Safe Routes to School is currently operating at Howell and Whittier Elementary, and officially kicked off with International Walk to School Day in October 2007.
Lawton Safe Routes to School is a subcommittee of a larger community coalition called Lawton Fit Kids. The coalition provides the opportunity to work with many partners such as schools, city officials, local physicians, parents, county health department, local YMCA, Lawton Police Department, and other organizations to maintain the Safe Routes to School program. The initial goals were to increase the number of children safely walking and/or biking to school, and to reduce traffic congestion during drop off and pick up times. They have achieved both of these goals. The Walking School Bus (WSB) has helped tremendously with increasing the amount of children walking/biking to school. Parents feel much more at ease about letting their children walk to school since there is adult supervision. Parents are also utilizing the drop off and pick up points. These points are where the children can be dropped off away from the school with an adult and then proceed to school with the WSB. As an extra safety measure they identified safe houses along the routes. Every person residing in the home had a background check. The students are taught that these are "safe" places to go if they feel threatened or bad weather arises. Since the Safe Routes to School program began, they have doubled the number of children walking to and from school!
A favorite story from the Lawton WSB is from one morning when the children were walking to school a garbage truck was in the road, followed by car one and car two. Car two decided to pass car one and the garbage truck. Car two didn’t get very far because the garbage man blocked the street yelling at the car “Watch out for our kids, don’t you see them walking!" The kids cheered for the garbage man as he continued to block the road until the students had safely passed.
Lawton Safe Routes to School has received $15,000 in funding from STIPDA, which helped establish safe houses, and install signage including walking school bus drop off signs. It also allowed them to provide training, purchase a few incentive items for students, and to establish the Lawton Safe Routes to School website.