The Safe Routes to School National Partnership has announced a three-year renewal grant of nearly $3 million from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to help advance lasting street-scale improvements to the built environment in all fifty states.
The grant will provide support for the partnership's efforts to advance Safe Routes to School (SRTS), a federal program that creates opportunities for children to walk and bicycle to and from school safely. Targeting communities with high rates of childhood obesity, the project will work to add thousands of miles of sidewalks and bike paths and develop traffic-calming initiatives and safe street crossings nationwide, enabling more students to benefit from the SRTS program.
Part of the foundation's commitment to reversing the childhood obesity epidemic by 2015, the grant aims to help states leverage federal funding for transportation enhancement efforts; develop a national learning network to share best practices among advocates for street-scale improvements; advance state-level policy reform in seven states (California, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, and Tennessee) and help secure federal transportation funds, street-scale improvements, and joint-use agreements; and publish two policy reports highlighting the importance of the built environment in relation to improving health.
"This program will help a generation of children to become more active and healthy through the construction of lasting street-scale improvements that will result in more walking and bicycling," said partnership director Deb Hubsmith. "We are grateful for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's generous support, and look forward to working with many partners to help reverse the childhood obesity epidemic in the next three years."