How the Safe Routes Initiative got Started
On the International level: The term “Safe Routes to School” was developed due to a very successful initiative in Denmark in the 1970’s to reduce the number of accidents while walking/biking to school. It spread internationally to Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and finally the United States.
In the United States: The National Center for Safe Routes to School Program (NCSRTS) was launched in 1997 in the Bronx, NY. The National Department of Transportation (DOT) funded two pilot programs in 1998 – Arlington, MA & Marin County, CA ($50K each). Within the next year many more grassroots programs were launched all over the country. In 2005, Congress officially established a National Safe Routes to School Program. They authorized $612M to fund these programs from 2005-09. Each state receives funds in the form of grants from the Federal Government. All 50 states and D.C. participate in the Safe Routes to School programs, benefiting children who live in urban, rural, and suburban communities. As of August 2012, the Federal Safe Routes to School Program has funded nearly $1.15 billion nationwide, benefiting more than 13,000 schools.
Furthermore, in July 2012, congress passed a new transportation bill called Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21). Beginning in October 2012, Safe Routes to School (SRTS) activities will be eligible to compete for funding alongside other programs, including the Transportation Enhancements program and Recreational Trails program, as part of a new program called Transportation Alternatives. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is charged with putting the legislation into practice, and it provides information about MAP-21 on its website.
In the City of Roseville: The City of Roseville is one of many cities in California to receive one of those grants for a non-infrastructure program. The grant funds have initially been awarded to the Dry Creek Elementary School District because of high enrollment and proven interest in this type of program. The schools included in this program are Coyote Ridge, Heritage Oak, Quail Glen Elementary Schools & Silverado Middle School. Since 2006, the Safe Routes to School staff have been working with these four schools in organizing Walk to School Days, Stop & Walk, Walking/Biking Clubs, Bike Rodeos, helmet safety courses, and much more. With the success of this pilot program grant, the City of Roseville recently applied for another Safe Routes to School grant to be used by more schools within the city. In 2012, the City of Roseville was awarded the grant to be used by four elementary schools within the Roseville City School District, including: Cirby, Junction, Diamond Creek, and Stoneridge Elementary Schools. The City of Roseville is hopeful that other schools in our area can utilize this website to help their schools benefit from the work and ideas that come out of the programs in the Dry Creek Joint Elementary and Roseville City School Districts.