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Project Development > Planning and Community Assistance > SRTS

Littleton Rolling Bike TrainWelcome 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 between home and school has been serving the Granite State for over a decade. The NH Department of Transportation (NHDOT) encourages more communities to get involved. As an independent, specialized program, Safe Routes to School (SRTS) helped communities by reimbursing them 100 percent of eligible and approved costs of bringing new balance to our transportation system. School-oriented local infrasrtucture programs remain eligible for Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) grants. more about SRTS...

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 community is one of many that have combined non-infrastructure programming with new sidewalks and traffic calming.

John W. Corrigan, Coordinator
Safe Routes to School Program
(603)271-1980 or -3344
John.Corrigan@dot.nh.gov

News and Events:Communities Respond as NHDOT Opens New Round for TAP Grants

The New Hampshire Department of Transportation has opened a new competitive grant round for the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP). This is the program that now reimburses communities for infratructure projects formerly supported under Safe Routes to School (SRTS). Communities interested in competing for the rants have submitted letters of interest. For more information visit the department's TAP Web site.

Construction Projects Provide Safe Routes for New Hampshire Communities
The 2019 construction season has been a busy time for four communities in the Granite State. Projects wrapping up as fall arrives are resulting in new sidewalks, bike lanes, and traffic calming elements in Nashua, Pittsfield, Plaistow and Portsmouth.

They range from warning beacons for Birch Hill School in Nashua to on-street bicycle lanes near multiple schools in Portsmouth. New sidewalks improve pedestrian access to the school complex in Pittsfield. Intersection improvements and traffic calming should make the route to the Pollard School in Plaistow safer and more appealing.

New route to Pittsfield schools

Work has been underway for
construction of new sidewalks in
Pittsfield. Above, a route along
Oneida Street provides access to the
combined middle and high school.
Below, the route along Catamount
Road is a tight fit.

Tight fit for new sidewalk

Last year, projects were completed in Colebrook, Dublin, Farmington, Henniker, Keene, Lebanon and Littleton. Projects in Nashua and Claremont are expected to complete the program in 2019.

Bicycle lanes take shape in Portsmouth

A Safe Routes to School project
has added bicycle lanes to
Lafayette Road and Middle Street
in downtown Portsmouth. Work was
done at night to avoid traffic
disruptions.
Bicycle lane pavement markings



The actual construction schedule is adjusted as local sponsors manage the projects through the preliminary engineering phase.

Most of these sponsors will use 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.

NHDOT continues the transition away from SRTS as a stand-alone program. Most school-oriented projects eligible under SAFETEA-LU (Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act – A Legacy for Users) remain eligible under the newer Transportation Alternative Program (TAP).

The department limits TAP awards to infrastructure projects. The newer program was initially authorized under the federal transportation act known as Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) and is currently funded under the successor legislation, Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act). Overall funding has been reduced, and the reimbursement rate will drop from 100 percent to 80 percent.Registration Remains Opens for International Walk-to-School Day and Month

Walkers head for the Little Harbour School in Portsmouth

Walk-to-School Day 2018 drew a
large crowd of walkers and bicyclists
heading for the Little Harbour
School in Portsmouth. Students
were kept safe by adults, police
officers and a crossing guard.

Students supervised at marked crosswalk

Registration remains open for International Walk-to-School Day and Month. Most participating schools organized events on October 10, 2018. Use a Web site sponsord by the National Center for Safe Routes to School to list your event for that day or any day in October.

"Last year, parents, school and local officials, and public health and transportation representatives joined together at more than 5,500 schools to make it the largest Walk to School Day event in its history," reads the announcement from the national center.

Multiple schools scattered across the Granite State observed National Bike to School Day on May 9, 2018. Schools are encouraged to sponsor walking and bicycling events throughout the school year. The center reports a successful event for schools across the country.

"Please know that your work has an impact," reads an October 4 statement from the national center. "Every year, event organizers tell us about the smiles, the thank yous, the enthusiasm and the progress made towards lasting change. In fact, last year more than half of event organizers reported that their event led to changes to policies and/or the built environment – the kinds of changes that can improve safety every day and can benefit anyone walking or bicycling near a 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.

Traffic calming at Lakeway School

The Littleton SRTS project included
new sidewalks and traffic calming in
front of the Lakeway School on
Union Street. A new ramp providing
Americans with Disabilities Act
(ADA) access wraps around a
flagpole plaza where participants
in Walk-to-School Day gathered
in October 2017.

ADA ramp at Lakeway School

School-bound pedestrians will again be the focus of International Walk-to-School Day in October. Eighteen schools have registered this year, up from 17 in 2017.

Granite State schools that have registered for International Walk-to-School Day this year join schools in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

Last year was the 21st consecutive one for the international program. These are the events when the movement takes on its world-wide identity. Enabling elementary school children to walk and ride bicycles to school in places where they can do it safely is a universal value.

“The ability of people to safely walk and bicycle is a vital part of what makes communities thrive, and celebrating a safe and active trip to school helps create vibrant places we each call home,” said Nancy Pullen-Seufert, director of the national center, the coordinating agency for Walk to School Day. “Communities around the country are taking bold steps to improve transportation safety and create opportunities for physical activity in ways that help everyone feel a little more connected.”

“Bicycling is a wonderful way to exercise, have fun and can be a means for some students to get to school,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao. “National Bike to School Day is an opportunity for communities to highlight the many benefits of bicycling and promote bicycle safety for Americans of all ages.”

yellow jacket

The Bike-Walk Alliance of New
Hampshire, supported by SRTS
funding, continues to offer bicycle
safety instructions through
the schools. For information
visit their Web site. This class
was held at the Andover
Elementary/Middle School.

The program is mentiond in a
May 7, 2018 article in the
Concord Monitor.

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.

Bicyclists get police escort

Bike to School Month was
observed in May 2018. Students
from the Dr. Crisp School in Nashua
had a police escort as they formed a
rollingbike train and headed
out on Burke Street.

Bike train to Crisp School in Nashua

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 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 or dedicated volunteers. "Rolling bike trains" apply the same concept to young bicyclists. Both approaches provide safety in numbers and adult supervision.

Such events should not be viewed as an end in themselves. They offer an opportunity to introduce kids to walking and bicycling between home and school and to 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 walking and bicycle trips to school.


SRTS Featured in Town and City, the Magazine of the N.H. Municipal Association

Written by John Corrigan, the state coordinator, the article in the March/April 2017 issue describes the history and goals of the program in New Hampshire.

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?

New Resource for Promoting Walking and Bicycling

NHDOT has published a new guide intended to help community leaders improve conditions for bicycling and walking.

Your Guide to Promoting Walking and Bicycling Accommodations in New Hampshire can be downloaded from the NHDOT Web site. It is a result of a collaborative effort organized by the NHDOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Advisory Committee. It explains the advantages of non-motorized forms of transportation and explains the process for taking a project from concept through construction.Training for Sponsors and Consultants Scheduled For October 25, 2018

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 reimbursement.

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 four years after completion of the one-day course. Because individuals (not their employers) hold certification, sponsors should consider sending more than one employee for training. The department also offers the option of a written test, instead of the training, for certification renewal.

It is strongly 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: bureau.462@dot.nh.gov

For the Latest SRTS News, read our Electronic Newsletters

Updated October 11, 2018

 

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New Hampshire Department of Transportation
PO Box 483 | 7 Hazen Drive | Concord, NH | 03302-0483
Tel: 603.271-3734 | Fax: 603.271.3914

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