The New Jersey Department of Transportation announced May 31 that the Safe Routes to School Program will receive $19.6 million for 31 grants – the largest amount ever awarded for the program.
“The Safe Routes to School program is a great example of how NJDOT, working with the state’s three regional planning authorities, helps our communities access federal funding for local transportation projects,” NJDOT Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti said. “These grants will provide resources to improve sidewalks and bike paths to encourage children to stay active by walking and biking to school.”
The SRTS is a federally funded program to increase pedestrian safety among motorists and schoolchildren. The program is administered by the NJDOT in partnership with the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission and the South Jersey Transportation Planning Organization.
The program was created to encourage children, including those with disabilities, to walk and bike to school. The goal is to make bicycling and walking to school a safer and more appealing transportation alternative, encouraging a healthy and active lifestyle from an early age. Projects are designed to improve safety, as well as reduce traffic, fuel consumption and air pollution near schools.
Of the 31 grants being awarded to local governments to make pedestrian safety improvements near K-8 schools, 22 grants totaling $13.8 million are within the NJTPA region, which includes Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren counties. Seven grants totaling $4 million are within the DVRPC region, which includes Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, and Mercer counties in New Jersey and five counties in Pennsylvania. The final two grants totaling $1.7 million are within the SJTPO region, which includes Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, and Salem counties.
Infrastructure improvement projects to be funded through this program include the construction of sidewalks; pedestrian and bicycle crossing improvements; on street bicycle facilities; and the installation of new crosswalks, school-zone markings, and speed-limit signs.
Special consideration was given to applications that addressed equity by providing benefits to underserved communities, low-income residents, minorities, those with limited English proficiency, persons with disabilities, children, and older adults.
Each individual municipality is responsible for implementing their respective SRTS projects. For further details on a specific project, please contact the municipality.