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For many of us, walking or bicycling to school was a normal routine.
Schools were located in the center of the neighborhood, and gridded
streets lined with sidewalks allowed for safe pedestrian use. Now,
what was once a part of our culture is becoming increasingly rare.
Lines of bikes parked on a rack outside the school have been
replaced with lines of cars waiting to drop off children. The
decline in walking and bicycling has led to traffic congestion and
air quality around schools, a decrease in safety for pedestrians and
bicyclists, and a sedentary lifestyle that often lends to childhood
The purpose of the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program is to
address these issues head on. At its heart, the SRTS Program
empowers communities to make walking and bicycling to school a safe
and routine activity once again. The Program makes funding available
for a wide variety of programs and projects, from building safer
street crossings to establishing programs that encourage children
and their parents to walk and bicycle safely to school.
Safe Routes to School is a National Program that began in July of
2005. Federal SRTS funds were distributed to every state based on
student enrollment, with no state receiving less than $1 million per
year. SRTS funds could be used for both infrastructure projects and
non-infrastructure activities. As of September 30, 2012 the Federal
SRTS Program has apportioned nearly $1.15 billion to states. These
funds have benefited or will benefit more than 13,000 schools.