The Greater Washington communities in Virginia gained four new Safe Routes to School coordinators in the last round of Virginia Department of Transportation Safe Routes to School funding!
This summer, an innovative idea became reality in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Using funds from remaining non-infrastructure SAFETEA-LU funds, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) partnered with the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) to fund 13 new Safe Routes to School coordinators in school districts across the state, including four coordinators in Northern Virginia. Three communities initially sought the funding (marked with *), and VDOT/VDOE approached ten other school districts to encourage their participation. The thirteen school districts funded are:
● Arlington Public Schools
● Chesapeake Public Schools
● Fairfax County Public Schools*
● Galax Public Schools*
● Harrison City Schools
● Henrico County Public Schools
● Loudoun County Public Schools
● Lynchburg Public Schools*
● Newport News Public Schools
● Portsmouth Public Schools
● Prince William Public Schools
● Stafford County Public Schools
● Williamsburg-James City County Schools
Safe Routes to School coordinators were hired in late summer, and they came together for a training with VDOT and VDOE. Throughout the academic year, the coordinators will be working with their school districts on educational and encouragement programs, with kickoff programs occurring around Walk to School Day on October 9.
In the past year, the Safe Routes to School movement has needed to adjust to a new federal program that consolidated stand alone bicycle and pedestrian programs, including Safe Routes to School, into the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP). This new significant partnership between two state agencies shows how Safe Routes to School continues to advance.
Now all Virginia school districts in the Greater Washington region will have a Safe Routes to School program. The City of Alexandria Public Schools is the one district that was not awarded a coordinator. However, they already have a successful Safe Routes to School program run by TrailsforYouth.org.
For more information on the Greater Washington DC region, check out our regional blog.