Welcome to the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program!
A movement to encourage and enable elementary and middle school children to safely walk and ride bicycles to school is catching on in the Granite State, and the NH Department of Transportation (NHDOT) encourages more communities to get involved. Safe Routes to School (SRTS) helps communities by reimbursing them 100 percent of eligible and approved costs of bringing new balance to our transportation system. more...
Students shown in the photo above are crossing a bridge over the Ammonoosuc River as they bicycle to the Mildred C. Lakeway Elementary School in Littleton. The school is one of many that have been awarded startup grants, as well as a general grant in Round 5. Communities can apply for startup and travel plan grants whenever they are ready to move ahead.
John W. Corrigan, Coordinator
Safe Routes to School Program
(603)271-3344 or -1980
News and Events:
Registration Opens for Bike-to-School Day, May 6, 2015; Winter Walking Encouraged
Walking to school is not just a
warm-weather activity. Students
at the Edward Fenn School in
the North Country town of
Gorham have been walking in
all seasons for years.
Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is most successful where it is embraced by a local community. Indeed, the program cannot work without support from school, municipal and community leaders.
International Walk-to-School Day and Month in October and Bike-to-School Day and Month in May are when the movement takes on its nationwide and even international identity. Enabling elementary school children to walk and ride bicycles to school in places where they can do it safely is a universal value.
Some snowbelt states and Canadian provinces are challenging students to walk right through the winter. They designated February 4, 2015 as Winter Walk-to-School Day. Although that date has passed, the official start of spring is still weeks away.
The next event on the calendar is Bike-to-School Day has been scheduled for May 6, 2015. Registration is now open, and extensive information about the national movement is available on a Web site maintained by the National Center for Safe Routes to School.
"Walk To School Day began in 1997, and it has been growing ever since. Last year, more than 4,400 cities in the U.S. registered some sort of Walk To School Day event, and this year, we've broken that record with more than 4,600 registered events taking place across America," wrote U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx.
"At DOT, we think it's kind of a big deal, and we're proud to support the National Center for Safe Routes to School, whose efforts make Walk To School Day possible each year." Read his full remarks in the "Fast Lane" blog.
Visible bike- or walk-to-school events are an excellent way for communities to promote the value of these activities for energy-efficient, short-distance commuting. Despite recent declines in the price of gasoline, it makes little sense for children to be sitting in congested traffic around our elementary and middle schools. SRTS promotes walking and bicycling for children who live within approximately two miles of school, including those with disabilities. Some communities are also exploring the “remote drop-off” idea, identifying locations where youngsters who live farther away can join kids who live within the two miles.
Is it safe? Can children get to school under their own power without being hit by motor vehicles or being subjected to violence
Student athletes offered
high-fives to arriving walkers
at the Woodman Park Elementary
School in Dover during a
Month event on October 9, 2014.
from adults or bullies? When communities organize to offer kids have a safe place to pedal or walk and accompany them on the walk or ride, the answer is an emphatic “Yes!”
SRTS has long recommended “escort programs.”
“Walking school buses” are made up of children who meet at a safe location and walk to school together with parents, teachers ordedicated volunteers. “Rolling bike trains” apply the same concept to young bicyclists. Both approaches provide safety in numbers and adult supervision.
A Bike-to-School event should not be viewed as an end in itself. It is an opportunity to introduce kids to bicycle commuting and
build community support for the idea. As the idea catches on, organized groups can expand to once- or twice-a-week rides and eventually offer daily bicycle trips to school.
NHDOT Awards Balance of SRTS Funding to Round 6 Applicants
Students at the Woodman Park
Elementary School in Dover walked
on new sidewalks during a
Walk-to-School Month event
on October 9, 2014. A SRTS
award also paid for new signals
and marked crosswalks.
NHDOT has determined that the best use of remaining Safe Routes to School (SRTS) funds is to make awards to all of the Round 6 applicants.
A total of more than $1,930,000 will be used to reimburse programs in 11 communities: Bristol, Claremont, Colebrook, Henniker, Hopkinton, Keene, Lebanon, Nashua, Pembroke, Plaistow, and Portsmouth.
Sponsors will use these general grant funds for a mix of infrastructure and non-infrastructure projects.
Infrastructure projects involve the physical changes needed to make bicycle and pedestrian routes safer for elementary school children, including those with disabilities. Most infrastructure projects involve sidewalks or bicycle lanes, along with signage, pavement markings, and other traffic calming measures.
Non-infrastructure activities include the educational, encouragement, and enforcement programs to foster increased walking and bicycling and to promote safe behavior.
Most comprehensive SRTS programs in New Hampshire focus on pedestrians, but two Round 6 communities will focus on bicycling.
Students in New London formed
one of the largest crowds in the state's
SRTS history on October 29, 2014. They
honored the memory of Chad Denning,
the town's late recreation director.
Organized with help from Colby-Sawyer
College students, one large
group walked in from a remote
drop-off location on the college campus.
Portsmouth plans bicycle lanes on a main thoroughfare that passes close to multiple elementary schools. Keene will experiment the use of bicycle infrastructure for traffic calming. Roads in a suburban area near the Jonathan Daniels School will get new bicycle lanes and signage. The school is named in memory of a Keene native who was killed in 1965 during his participation in the civil rights movement. In an interesting coincidence, the award was recommended by the Statewide Advisory Committee on the anniversary of his death.
Geography dictates that obvious choices for SRTS programs are schools located close to downtown areas with nearby residential neighborhoods. Many such communities in New Hampshire have deteriorated sidewalks or gaps in their sidewalk networks. These include Bristol, Claremont, Colebrook, Henniker, and Pembroke. Other communities will develop infrastructure for longer walks and to deal with increases in traffic around their schools. These include Hopkinton, Lebanon, Nashua, and Plaistow.
With the awarding of the state’s balance, NHDOT begins the transition away from SRTS as a stand-alone program. Most Safe Routes projects eligible under SAFETEA-LU (Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act – A Legacy for Users) remain eligible the new Transportation Alternative Program (TAP). Visit the site TAP site for a February 2015 announcement on the first round of awards.
However, NHDOT limits awards to infrastructure projects. TAP is authorized under the federal transportation act known as Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21). Overall funding has been reduced, and the reimbursement rate will drop from 100 percent to 80 percent.
Startup, Planning Grant Applications Accepted at Any Time
Charms awarded for
walking or bicycling to
school have been a
popular incentive item
in Littleton. They are
eligible under both
startup and general
NHDOT has expedited the planning process that can lead to comprehensive community programs.
The department and Regional Planning Commissions (RPCs) continue to accept applications for startup and comprehensive travel plan grants. Awards will be based on funding availability as the department monitors past grants that will not be implemented. Sponsors may apply for either type of grant or for both types. The idea is to make the program as flexible as possible for New Hampshire communities.
Here is the process for reviewing applications and making awards:
Applications will continue to be filed with both the NHDOT and the RPCs for an assessment of the quality of applications and eligibility of budget items.
- Individual RPCs review and evaluate the applications following their own internal procedures.
- Applications will then be examined by Statewide Advisory Committee (SAC) members, taking into consideration any recommendations and concerns from NHDOT staff and the RPCs.
- Grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis as long as funding is available.
Startup grant application form
Startup scoring criteria
Travel plan application form
Travel plan scoring criteria
Travel plan format
(Note that the travel plan and startup grant application forms were updated in August 2013. Applications are now preferred in MS Word format.)
List of travel plan awards (rolling application period)
List of startup awards (rolling application period)
In summary, SRTS in New Hampshire currently offers two types of reimbursement funding:
- Startup grants of less than $5,000 for preliminary planning and related activities
- Comprehensive travel plan funding of up to $15,000 per school, which can include up to $5,000 for engineering consulting services per school.
Administration of Non-Infrastructure Spending Streamlined
NHDOT and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) are trying to simplify the administration of budgeting and purchasing under SRTS reimbursemnet grants. Please see a new guidance memo for details. The memo has been sent to all sponsors of projects that include non-infrastructure funding. The memo will also be helpful for new applicants for startup and travel plan awards.
Bicycle Safety Letter to the Editor:
Bicyclists of all ages are using New Hampshire's streets and roads for both recreation and short-distance commuting. Sandi Van Scoyoc, former president of the HNHfoundation, was reminded of the importance of motorists paying attention to cyclists when she witnessed a car collide with a bicycle. Here is her letter to the editor of the Concord Monitor describing the incident, used here with her permission: Didn't You See My Signal?
Training For Local Sponsors to be Held in Spring and Fall of 2015
NHDOT's Bureau of Planning and Community Assistance has published a document formally titled "Local Public Agency Manual for the Development of Projects," commonly referred to the the LPA Manual. It includes everything local sponsors and consultants need to know in order to administer their programs. Documented compliance with state and federal regulations ensures eligibility for reimbusement.
All local sponsors are required to identify a full-time employee with decision-making authority designated as the "person in responsible charge" (PRC). Consulting firms are also required to have a certified person on staff. Individuals will be awarded certification good for three years after completion of a two-day course. Because individiuals (not their employers) hold certification, sponsors should consider sending more than one employee for training.
- Six training sessions are scheduled for the spring and fall of 2015. The sessions have been reduced to a single day:
- October 22
Training and certification details.
It is recommended that anyone who is currently working on a local program, or thinking about getting involved, download and review the manual. Funds will not be authorized for sponsors that do not have a certified person on staff.
The manual will be revised as needed. Local sponsors and members of the public are invited to submit comments to the NHDOT Bureau of Planning and Community Assistance, NHDOT, 7 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03302-0483. Comments may be e-mailed to: Bureau46@dot.state.nh.us
For the Latest SRTS News, read our Electronic Newsletters
- List of Round 1 Awards
- List of Round 2 Awards
- List of Round 3 Awards
- List of Round 4 Awards
- NHDOT News Release on Round 4 awards
- NHDOT News Release for Round 3 awards
- Planning Process Key to Success of Local Safe Routes Programs
- Outreach Continues: Contact the Coordinator
- Federal Funding
- Bicycling to school: one path to a healthier community,
Creating safer routes is critical Read an op-ed commentary written by the state coordinator.
Updated March 24, 2015