Press Release: OCWCOG Receives ODOT Grant for Safe Routes to School Program

OCWCOG received a $129,682 award from the Oregon Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) Transportation Safety Division to support the Safe Routes to School programs in the School Districts of Sweet Home, Lebanon Community, Greater Albany, Jefferson, and Harrisburg. OCWCOG has partnered with ODOT since 2013 on the Safe Routes to School program. Safe Routes to School is a national movement to promote safe, healthy, active transportation for school children. The program has a direct impact on improving public health through facilitating walking and biking as part of a child’s regular routine.

“OCWCOG has been working with the ODOT for decades on several programs across the agency, educating and enriching the lives of the citizens throughout Benton, Lincoln, and Linn Counties,” said OCWCOG Executive Director Fred Abousleman. “We are honored to partner again with ODOT’s Transportation Safety Division on our Safe Routes to School Program, providing a complement to our existing transportation and community development programs.”

The Safe Routes to Schools programs, which will run from October 2016 to 2019, will be developed in collaboration with the participating schools and communities, and will include bike and pedestrian safety education, coalition building, and strategic planning. Activities will include providing traffic mitigation strategies and providing pedestrian safety presentations for elementary students.

OCWCOG’s award is part of $880,192 total funding released by ODOT this month to eight awardees for the Safe Routes to School programs. The goals of the Safe Routes to School programs are Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, Evaluation, Engineering, and Equity.

In the past, OCWCOG has worked with ODOT on a Safe Route to School program in Newport and Lincoln City to support Walk and Bike to School Days, and the development of Action Plans.

Anyone interested in becoming involved with the Safe Routes to School program is encouraged to contact OCWCOG, as several of the communities will be participating in the development of Action Plans, identifying goals, strategies, and challenges related to walking and biking. These Action Plans involved community stakeholders, as well as school staff, parents, and students.

For more information, contact Tarah Campi at 541-924-8480.