Safe Routes to School Initiative Receives $3.2 Million

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Posted: Sunday, August 13, 2017 7:03 pm | Updated: 11:20 am, Wed Aug 16, 2017.

FORT WORTH, Texas -- It is going to get easier and safer for children at several Fort Worth elementary schools to walk or ride their bikes to their neighborhood school.

The North Central Texas Council of Governments has awarded more than $3.2 million through the Safe Routes to School project to the city of Fort Worth in partnership with Fort Worth Independent School District and Blue Zones Project, a community-led well-being improvement initiative. Funding will be used over the next three years to install infrastructure improvements in and around seven Fort Worth elementary schools, identified as some of the most in need of safety upgrades.

Partners and other area stakeholders selected the schools based on factors such as lack of sidewalks, reported pedestrian and bicycle crashes, percentage of economically-disadvantaged students, and unavailability of school bus service.

The city of Fort Worth will implement changes to traffic flow in the fall, and infrastructure improvements, such as sidewalk enhancements, crosswalks, flashing beacons, signage and bicycle-pedestrian trails, will be completed at all seven schools in one to three years.

"There is nothing more important than the safety of our children," said Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Kent P. Scribner. "That’s why this initiative is so critical. In addition, safe routes to schools can help kids get active again. That’s critical to their education as research consistently links healthy behaviors with stronger academic performance."

Fort Worth is one of 16 North Texas communities to receive funding from NCTCOG’s Regional Transportation Council for Safe Routes to Schools projects. The city of Fort Worth will match the grant funds, leading to a total investment of $6.4 million for infrastructure improvements in and around the neighborhoods of these selected schools.

"When we make it easier to walk or bike to school, we’re lessening traffic congestion and helping our young people stay safe and active," said Mayor Betsy Price. "This is an outstanding example of organizations working together to achieve community goals."

Encouraging children and families to move naturally is a key aspect of Blue Zones Project, which is working to make healthy choices easier across Fort Worth.

"Children who walk or bike to school arrive on campus alert and ready to learn," said Matt Dufrene, vice president of Blue Zones Project, Fort Worth. "It is our job as a community to ensure they can get to school safely, and this initiative goes a long way toward accomplishing that."

SOURCE: City of Fort Worth

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