Making school routes safer

The city of Coon Rapids is seeking federal funding through a state grant program for three proposed projects to provide safe routes to schools in the community.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) has $3.2 million in federal money for infrastructure projects as part of the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program.

“The SRTS grants provide federal funding for infrastructure projects located within two miles of a school with students in grades K-8,” said Dave Full, city project manager, in a memo to the Coon Rapids City Council.

No local match is required and the money spent on this program is reimbursed to communities after the projects are completed, according to Full.

The grant program has three goals, Full wrote in a memo to the council.

• Enable and encourage children, including those with disabilities, to walk and bike to school.

• Make bicycling and walking to school a safer and more appealing transportation alternative, thus encouraging a healthy and active lifestyle from an early age.

• Facilitate the planning, development and implementation of projects and activities that will improve safety and reduce traffic, fuel consumption and air pollution in the vicinity of schools.

The Coon Rapids City Council Feb. 5 approved the submission of the three grant requests recommended by Full.

One would provide electronic speed school zone feedback signs for Morris Bye Elementary School on Crooked Lake Boulevard which has a cost estimate of $27,940.

The other two grant requests are targeted at children walking to and from Sand Creek Elementary School.

One proposed a bituminous trail, which has an estimated cost of $130,680, through Wilderness Park from the Main Street tunnel to 121st Avenue in the vicinity of Fire Station 2, providing a link to the school, according to Full.

The other would be a bituminous trail, estimated to cost $52,910, from Bunker Hills Regional Park to the Main Street pedestrian tunnel east of Avocet Street.

The deadline for applications was Feb. 13. Grant recipients will be announced in May.

Peter Bodley is at