Ohio invests nearly $10M to improve, encourage K-12 students to walk, bike to school

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Ohio planned to invest nearly $10 million toward improving transportation and route safety for students walking or biking to and from school.

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Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Transportation Director Jack Marchbanks announced funding awards of over $9.8 million for projects that sought to improve safety for students traveling to and from schools in 25 counties.

The Safe Routes to School program, which was used to distribute the money, provided funding for infrastructure like “new sidewalks and path extensions, crosswalks and rapid flashing beacons, bicycle lanes, and other safety equipment around Ohio schools,” a spokesperson for the governor’s office said.

It also provided programming for communities with K-12 students living within two miles of their schools to walk or ride their bike as a means of transportation.

“Walking and biking is a healthy way for children to get to and from school, but we must ensure each student can do so safely. This program provides that opportunity,” Governor Mike DeWine said.

The Safe Routes to School projects totaled 45 projects, selected through a competitive process. The projects all had to meet the committee’s goal to provide infrastructure and safety awareness for children walking and biking to school.

“I’m encouraged to see the increasing interest in active transportation across our state and proud of our efforts to make it safer to walk or ride a bike,” Marchbanks said. “However, these safety improvements aren’t as effective if drivers aren’t paying attention, driving the speed limit, and being extra alert for young children especially around schools during school hours.”

This year’s $9.8 million in awards marked the largest amount of funding provided as part of the Safe Routes to School Program in a single year.