To date, South Carolina Safe Routes to School has awarded 24 projects (totaling a little more than $3.7 million). Some examples of the various types of infrastructure projects are sidewalk improvements, curb and gutter, crosswalks, raised crosswalks, multi-use paths, signage, bicycle storage sheds and bike racks. South Carolina created a Safe Routes to School Resource Center to handle all of the non-infrastructure components. The Safe Routes to School Resource Center helps schools, school districts and communities throughout South Carolina to build and sustain Safe Routes to School programs. Partners of the Resource Center receive technical assistance and program support at no cost.
An example of an infrastructure project in South Caroline is Wren Schools (Wren Elementary and Wren Middle), who received a $180,000 Safe Routes to School grant for infrastructure improvements. SC Safe Routes to School worked with Anderson County School District One to construct and widen sidewalks, provide ADA accessible ramps, crosswalk striping and pedestrian/crosswalk warning signs. The county also redesigned a road that is used frequently by three schools (going from two lane rural to three lane urban on the county road). It was really cool that the community, the county and SCDOT worked together to bring this project to fruition.
As a bonus, the Wren Freshman Academy, Wren High and parents are also able to benefit from the project. The new sidewalks help to provide connectivity, as well as a safe walkway for students at all of the schools and parents who must drop off and pick up students at multiple buildings. The sidewalk allows students to leave from cars at one school and walk to their destination.
A junior at Wren High School ran on the sidewalk all summer as part of her volleyball conditioning. She said, "You felt you could focus more on your running instead of focusing on a car coming". It’s a wonderful to know firsthand that Safe Routes to School is able to positively impact the kids and a community as a whole.
Finally, South Carolina held more than 200 registered events across the state for Walk to School Day, ranking 5th in the country in the number of registered events with the highest participation they have seen in the state over the past nine years.
For more information on the South Carolina Safe Routes to School program, please contact Rodney Oldham, SRTS coordinator, at 803-737-4073 or visit the program website.