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VDOT Partners with Schools for Safe Routes to School Program - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

VDOT Partners with Schools for Safe Routes to School Program

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VDOT, school and city officials discuss funding possibilities at a workshop for the Safe Routes to School Program. VDOT, school and city officials discuss funding possibilities at a workshop for the Safe Routes to School Program.

Schools and communities in the Shenandoah Valley are planning projects to make it easier and safer for kids to walk or bike to class.

They're also finding ways to tap into federal funds to pay for those improvements.

The Safe Routes to School Program expects to give out $4.2 million in grants over the next year to make neighborhoods near schools more pedestrian-friendly.

VDOT hosted a workshop Wednesday in Fishersville for school administrators and city and county planners to learn all the options for funding Safe Routes to School projects. 

Those can include $1,000 quick-start mini-grants for programs that encourage kids to bike, walk or get active.

The program's funds also pay for infrastructure improvements - like the $134,000 network of sidewalks and crosswalks that opened earlier this school year around Waynesboro's Berkeley Glenn Elementary School.  

"Communities that are really moving and putting the plans together and having kids walking and biking that's something ideal for them, because it does allow them to do those projects that can be more expensive - up to $500,000 - and there's no other way to fund it," said Robert Williams, a Safe Routes to School coordinator.

The Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission is developing Safe Routes to School projects for Staunton's McSwain Elementary School and the neighborhood around Shelburne Middle and Ware Elementary schools.

VDOT is currently supporting 60 ongoing projects statewide.

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