Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Governor Ernie Fletcher Announces Funding for Safe Routes to School Project in Bowling Green
Project provides funding for five elementary schools
FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher visited Dishman McGinnis Elementary School in Bowling Green this morning to announce Safe Routes to School funding totaling $196,000. The funds will used for educational activities at five elementary schools and a sidewalk at Dishman McGinnis Elementary. The program is designed to make bicycling and walking to school a safer, more appealing and healthier alternative for students in kindergarten through 8th grade.
“I am committed to improving the educational climate and learning environment for our children in Bowling Green and across our great commonwealth,” said Governor Fletcher. “Projects like this help motivate young students and get them into a mindset for learning.”
The funds will be used for the construction of a sidewalk along Old Morgantown Road in front of Dishman-McGinnis Elementary as well as educational activities including classroom instruction, training for volunteers at each school and public awareness campaigns. The project will be a joint partnership between the Barren River District Health Department, Bowling Green Citizen Information and Assistance, Bowling Green Public Works, City-County Planning Commission and the Greenways Commission of Bowling Green and Warren County.
This pilot project includes five Bowling Green schools: Dishman-McGinnis Elementary, Parker-Bennett-Curry Elementary, Potter-Gray Elementary, T.C. Cherry Elementary and W.R. McNeill Elementary.
“We are excited about the opportunity to have the Safe Routes to School pilot program in our district,” said Superintendent Joseph Tinius, Bowling Green Independent Schools. “This program will directly benefit many of our students by providing them with safer sidewalks and crosswalks, as well as instructional programs on pedestrian and bicycle safety. Several of our students walk to school every day along streets with no sidewalks or crosswalks. We hope that through this program, these neighborhoods will become safer and more pedestrian-friendly for our entire school community.”
The county fiscal court applied for the safe routes to school funds. The funds were presented to county officials, city agencies along with Bowling Green Independent Schools. The project is one of thirteen in this pilot program. Over $1.6 million has been dedicated to this pilot program.
“Building safe routes to our elementary schools will provide children a safer way for children to choose walking or biking as a way of getting to school,” stated Warren County Judge Mike Buchanon. “Making it easier for children to be physically active is better for their health, and having fewer cars on the road is better for the environment. ‘Walking school busses’ are a good, fun way for neighborhood children to walk to school together.”
The safe routes program was established in August 2005 as part of the most recent federal transportation re-authorization legislation – SAFETEA-LU. For the first time, state transportation agencies will create and administer the safe routes programs which allow communities to compete for funding for local safe routes projects.
“These improvement projects benefit everyone because they underscore the importance of healthy lifestyles and reduce air pollution in and around our schools,” said Transportation Cabinet Secretary Bill Nighbert.
The Safe Routes to School program is comprised of elements referred to as the five E’s. The selection process was driven by the following:
- Engineering — creating operational and physical improvements to the infrastructure surrounding schools that reduce speeds and potential conflicts with motor vehicle traffic, and establishing safer and fully accessible crossings, walkways, trails and bikeways.
- Education — teaching children about the broad range of transportation choices, instructing them in important lifelong bicycling and walking safety skills and launching driver safety campaigns in the vicinity of schools.
- Enforcement — partnering with local law enforcement agencies to ensure traffic laws are obeyed in the vicinity of schools (including enforcement of speeds, yielding to pedestrians in crossings, and proper walking and bicycling behaviors), and to initiate community enforcement such as crossing guard programs.
- Encouragement — events and activities to promote walking and bicycling (bike rodeos).
- Evaluation — monitoring and documenting outcomes and trends through the collection of data both before and after the intervention.
More information about the safe routes program in Kentucky is available online at http://www.saferoutes.ky.gov.