Today is Monday, August 21, 2017

Safe Routes to School

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Helene Singer Cash

Safe Routes to School is one of those projects that everyone would think is a great project no matter what - who doesn't want to have safe routes to school? In 2009 the City of Lebanon was the recipient of a Grant for Safe Routes to School. This grant was used for design of the project, purchase of any easements or right-of-ways, construction of the project, construction administration and public outreach program once the project is complete.

Safe Routes to School central mission is improving children's safety while walking and biking to school. The resources and activities help communities develop sidewalks, bike paths and a pedestrian oriented community. As a result a series of benefits happen - reduced speeds in school zones and neighborhoods, address distracted driving and educate generations on pedestrian and bike safety.

With the tag line, "A healthier way to start the day," the Safe Route to School program can improve the health of our children and community with participation and encouragement to walk, roll and ride. Encouraging 60 minutes of physical activity every day, leave the car behind and take an active role in you and your child's well being. An added bonus is the child will arrive at school energized and ready to learn.

The goal of Safe Routes to School is building relationships while building local infrastructure. A safe trip to school brings families, neighbors, school officials and community leaders together. While we are working on the safe route we are also building a sense of neighborhood with increased parental involvement at school and beyond. Not to mention the gain of economic benefits of improved infrastructure with the new/improved sidewalks.

Today, many people think there are two ways to get to school, get a ride with your parents or the school bus... but there are more than these two ways. We can take a more active role in educating about trips to and from school on foot and bicycle. The benefits are far reaching: less cars therefore less emissions; more active and healthier children with less traffic and a safer route to school.

The Safe Routes to School project will be kicking off in the City of Lebanon with an expected completion date in late June 2015. The project consists of placing a sidewalk along the north side of West Forrest Avenue from North Cumberland to the entrance to Walter J. Baird Middle School. It also includes a sidewalk from Coles Ferry Pike through the Coles Ferry Elementary Campus to Walter J. Baird.

In July 2005, Congress passed federal legislation that established a National Safe Routes to School program to improve safety on walking and bicycling routes to school and to encourage children and families to travel between home and school using these modes.

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