Safe Routes to School Program
Welcome to Virginia Safe Routes to School!
If you’re new to Safe Routes to School, click here for an introduction letter to the program from Virginia’s Safe Routes to School Coordinator Rob Williams. And be sure to check out this program brochure for some quick facts about Virginia Safe Routes to School.
The Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program has been active in Virginia since 2007 and helps schools and communities across the state make walking and biking to school a safe, convenient, natural activity.
October 26 – Last week for Student Travel Tallies
The Student Travel Tally Week season is coming to a close. To be eligible for banners and decals, all tally data should be entered on saferoutesdata.org or submitted to the National Center for Safe Routes to School for processing by October 31.
James River Elementary, Williamsburg
In 2014, 237 schools collected tallies. The information they collected is used by schools and school divisions to detect trends in student travel, as well as by local planners and engineers to support infrastructure improvements. To see last year’s results and learn more about Student Travel Tallies, visit the STTW webpage or contact your LTAC.
October 23 – Be Safe, Be Seen
With Halloween approaching and daylight hours getting shorter, it’s important to discuss how to stay safe when walking or biking after dark. Pedestrians and bicyclists should avoid dark colors and wear clothing and accessories made from reflective materials. Bicyclists are required by state law to have a white headlights and red taillights when traveling between dusk and dawn.
For Halloween, expect more children and parents walking in your neighborhood, and follow these tips from Safe Kids:
- Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors. Since masks can sometimes obstruct a child’s vision, try non-toxic face paint and makeup whenever possible.
- Have kids use glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen by drivers.
- Children under the age of 12 should not be alone at night without adult supervision. If kids are mature enough to be out without supervision, remind them to stick to familiar areas that are well lit and trick-or-treat in groups.
- Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert for kids during those hours.
- When selecting a costume make sure it is the right size to prevent trips and falls.
October 16 – More Schools Participating in Walk to School Day
The number of Walk to School Day events across the state and the country continues to grow. This year, 280 Virginia schools participated in Walk to School Day, an increase of almost 60 schools from last year’s total. Check out the Walk to School Day page for more photos from events across the state.
Hybla Valley Elementary, Alexandria
Stone Spring Elementary, Harrisonburg
Paul Munro Elementary, Lynchburg
October 7 – VDOT Announces $940,000 in SRTS Grant Awards
This year, VDOT marks International Walk to School Day by announcing a total of $940,000 in SRTS non-infrastructure grant awards to 15 school divisions and other organizations to support local SRTS activities. Each recipient will hire a SRTS coordinator to encourage active transportation to school through organized activities and purchasing equipment to educate students about walking and biking safety. Activities funded through grants will be implemented throughout the current school year and into the summer.
The following school divisions will receive grants:
- Arlington Public Schools
- Chesapeake Public Schools
- Chesterfield County Public Schools
- Fairfax County Public Schools
- City of Galax on behalf of Galax City Public Schools
- Greater Richmond Fit4Kids on behalf of Richmond Public Schools
- Henrico County Public Schools
- Loudoun County Public Schools
- Lynchburg City Schools
- Norfolk Public Schools
- Prince William County Public Schools
- Portsmouth Public Schools
- Rockingham County Public Schools
- Sentara RMH Medical Center on behalf of Harrisonburg Public Schools
- Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools
Shrevewood Elementary School’s Healthy Living Festival, Falls Church VA
The Safe Routes to School Program is a federally-funded program created under Section 1404 of the 2005 Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU).
As written in SAFETEA-LU, the purpose of the SRTS program is to:
- Enable and encourage children, including those with disabilities, to walk and bicycle to school
- Make bicycling and walking to school a safer and more appealing transportation alternative, thereby encouraging a healthy and active lifestyle from an early age
- Facilitate the planning, development, and implementation of projects and activities that will improve safety and reduce traffic, fuel consumption, and air pollution in the vicinity of schools
In July 2013, MAP-21 – the new federal transportation bill -- became law, folding SRTS into a new Transportation Alternatives program. SRTS projects are now eligible to compete for funding alongside other programs, including the Transportation Enhancements program and Recreational Trails program. VDOT’s Local Assistance Division is managing the Transportation Alternatives program. Click here for more information.
Non-infrastructure funding from SAFETEA-LU is still available through the Virginia Safe Routes to School Program. More information is available on the Travel Plans and Grants landing page.
Virginia SRTS Program Strategic Plan
The VDOT Safe Routes to School Program completed a Strategic Plan to guide our work through 2017. The Plan is available for download by clicking on the cover.
Robert J. Williams
Safe Routes to Schools Program coordinator
Transportation and Mobility Planning Division
Virginia Department of Transportation
1401 E. Broad St.
Richmond, VA 23219