Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Governor Ernie Fletcher Visits Camp Ernst Middle School in Burlington
Safe Routes to School Program promotes health, safety
FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher visited Camp Ernst Middle School in Burlington today to discuss the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s Safe Routes to School Program, designed to make bicycling and walking to school a safer, more appealing and healthier alternative for students in K-8th grade. Governor Fletcher stressed the importance of educating students on healthier lifestyles.
“I am committed to improving the educational climate for students in Burlington and across Kentucky,” said Governor Fletcher. “Providing greater opportunity for children to be physically active will improve their health and having fewer cars on the road near schools will be safer for our school children. This is a healthy, fun way for neighborhood children to walk and bike to school together.”
In July, the Boone County Fiscal Court received a $99,000 check from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet for Safe Routes to School funding. This project involves the planning, design and construction of 1,800 feet of new sidewalk to connect three neighborhoods with Camp Ernst Middle School, as well as signage and other traffic calming measures to create a safe crossing on Rogers Lane.
The project will provide the necessary infrastructure improvements to increase the level of safety for an estimated 320 students and nearly 900 households within a two-mile radius of the school. The project is one of 13 in this program. More than $1.7 million has been dedicated to the program.
“This is just another example of how Governor Fletcher is making sure that not only schools are safe, but the routes kids take to school are safe,” said Senator Richard (Dick) Roeding (R-Lakeside Park). “The Governor is to be complimented for spending state dollars where they will make children, communities, and schools safer. It has been such a pleasure to work with Governor Fletcher to address the needs of Boone County.”
Representative Addia Wuchner (R-Burlington) said: “I am very pleased that Camp Ernst Middle School is a recipient of the Safe Routes to School program, that when completed will create a safer route for walking and bicycling to school and emphasize the importance of issues such as increasing physical activity among children. I hope that in October 2007, Camp Ernst Middle School participates in the International Walk to School Day which includes 5,000 schools from all 50 states. Walkers from the U.S. will join children and adults in 40 countries around the world.”
“This Safe Routes to School grant provides safety for children and parents as they walk to Camp Ernst Middle School,” said Representative Paul Marcotte (R-Union). “I am so pleased that Boone County qualified to receive these funds to enhance the quality of life for the families of the county.”
“We are excited about the opportunity to have the Safe Routes to School pilot program,” said Camp Ernst Middle School Principal Eric McArtor. “The addition of this new sidewalk will provide safer access for our students who walk and bike to and from school.”
The Safe Routes to School 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, allowing communities to compete for funding for local safe routes projects.
The program is made up of five elements, referred to as the 5 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 – promoting walking and biking with events and activities (bike rodeo).
- 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://saferouteskentucky.com/ .