MassDOT today announced that the Massachusetts Safe Routes to School Program has passed a historic milestone – the enrollment of its 500th Safe Routes Partner School. This is the first statewide Safe Routes to School Program to achieve this level of active participation.
“MassDOT is excited to recognize Massachusetts as the first state to recruit 500 Safe Routes to School Partners. This achievement is a testament to the Commonwealth’s unique Safe Routes to School program structure, the efforts of program staff, and the commitment of our communities to make walking and bicycling safer and more widely used travel modes for our school children,” says MassDOT Highway Administrator Frank DePaola.
Approximately 230,000 students in grades K-8 in 147 communities now benefit from Massachusetts Safe Routes to School pedestrian safety initiatives and outreach education services. The 500th Partner School is the city of Woburn, which enrolled all ten of its elementary and middle schools with a combined student population of 3,351 students.
Safe Routes to School, by MassDOT's MassRIDES travel options program, provides to schools year-round pedestrian and bicycle safety education instruction. Schools are also eligible to receive infrastructure improvements that enhance student accessibility and safety.
The Safe Routes to School Program is a key component of the Healthy Transportation Compact, an initiative of the Patrick-Murray Administration's historic transportation reform measure.
In 1969, 48 percent of American students walked or bicycled to school, but as of 2009, only 13 percent of children walk or bicycle to class. Safe Routes to School promotes walking and bicycling as a physically active, safe and sustainable transportation option for children and families.
MassDOT and MassRIDES are determined to continue expanding the Safe Routes to School program. To find out how your school can participate, contact Samantha Fonseca-Moreira, Massachusetts Safe Routes to School Statewide Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org.