MnDOT awards $725,000 in Safe Routes to School grants
Funding will make it safer for students to walk, bike to school
ST. PAUL, Minn. – Twenty-three communities around Minnesota will benefit from $725,000 from this year’s planning and programming grants that support the Safe Routes to School program, the Minnesota Department of Transportation announced today. The list of the 2023 grant recipients is below.
Safe Routes to School is an international program to improve safety and reduce traffic congestion around schools. It does this by making it safer and easier for students to walk and bicycle to school, with an added benefit of increasing physical activity and student health.
“Children have more opportunities to walk, bike and roll to schools because of the Safe Routes to School program,” said Nancy Daubenberger, MnDOT commissioner. “Thanks to this funding, students across the state can learn how to do these lifelong, foundational activities in a safer setting.”
Safe Routes to School grants provide for:
- Planning assistance to help communities convene a team, understand key issues, prioritize strategies and identify solutions that fit their local need.
- Boosting existing local programs, such as funding for bike fleet with a trailer to teach children how to ride, and funding for bike parking.
These grants are funded with state and federal Safe Routes to School dollars. Historically, nearly 70 percent of these funds have supported work within Greater Minnesota communities.
One example of how Safe Routes to School grant funding can impact a community is Richfield Public Schools, which received grant funding last year for its “Bicycle Parking Accelerator Project” to install high-quality racks for students and community members.
The district added 77 bike parking spots last fall at Richfield High School, Richfield STEM Elementary and the Central Education Center. This spring, they'll install the remaining spots at multiple locations (Richfield Middle School, Richfield High School, varsity athletic facilities, Central Education Center and Sheridan Hills Elementary).
“Having visible, well-maintained places to park a bike is one important piece of the puzzle of encouraging bicycle riding,” said Will Wlizlo, a Safe Routes to School coordinator with Richfield Public Schools. “This kind of programming really makes other initiatives sing. This can be a city's investments in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, or it can be other programs such as education or encouragement. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts."
Since 2005, MnDOT has awarded more than $60 million in federal and state funds to communities to support Safe Routes to School. The majority of funding was awarded for infrastructure projects. The remainder was allocated for programs and planning that promote walkable and bikeable communities.
More information on Safe Routes to School is available at mndot.gov/saferoutes.
Safe Routes to School 2023 Awards:
- Oak Ridge Elementary, Eagan
- City of Chaska
- Great Oaks Academy, Farmington
- Warroad Community Development, Warroad
- City of Plainview
- Anoka Hennepin School District, Dayton
- Circle of Life Academy, White Earth
- Highland Elementary School - Crookston
- Voyageurs Expeditionary School, Bemidji
- Osakis Public School, District 213, Osakis
- Alexandria Public Schools - District 206, Alexandria
- Mesabi East School District, Aurora
- Saint Cloud Area Planning Organization (APO), St. Cloud
- Rothsay School District
- Dakota County Public Health
- Minneapolis Public Schools
- Safe Kids Grand Forks
- Richfield Public Schools ISD#280
- Brooklyn Center Community Schools
- Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS)
- City of La Crescent
- City of Fergus Falls
- Congdon Park Elementary School, Duluth