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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 infrastructure 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:

NHDOT Awards $5.7 Million in Transportation Alternative Funds for Nine Projects

The department has announced awards of $5.7 million to fund projects in nine New Hampshire communities. The reimbursement grants will cover up to 80 percent of local costs for "alternative transportation projects," including on- and off-road projects for pedestrians and bicyclists, rail trail improvements, and Safe Routes to School projects. Londonderry and Manchester will coordinate a project connecting rail trails near the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport. Other communities selected for grants are: Franklin, Jaffrey, Keene, Nashua, New Castle, Northumberland and Swanzey. For more information, visit the department's TAP Web site.

Construction Projects Provide Safe Routes for New Hampshire Communities

Sidewalk construction on Belding Street

Sidewalk Construction continues on
Belding Street in Claremont.
Below, a crew puts the
finishing touches on a concrete
tip-down ramp where the new
sidewalk crosses a driveway.

Finishing a driveway tip-down ramp

New sidewalks near schools in Claremont were the major infrastructure project for SRTS during the 2019 construction season. Consrtuction crews are working to wrap up projects in Pittsfield and Plaistow. A final project, near the Charlotte Avenue School in Nashua, has been re-scheduled for 2020.

The 2018 construction season was a busy time for Granite State communities. New sidewalks, bike lanes, and traffic calming elements were built in Nashua and Portsmouth as well as the projects in Pittsfield and Plaistow.

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.

In 2017, projects were completed in Colebrook, Dublin, Farmington, Henniker, Keene, Lebanon and Littleton.

Building a retaining wall

A SRTS sidewalk project can
involve more than pavement
next to a street or road. The
Claremont project required
a new retaining wall.

Completed retaining wall

Most of these sponsors 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.

Bike-to-School Events Set Record, Walk-to-School Day is October 2

More bicycles than motor vehicles at school drop-off
When bicycles outnumber
motor vehicles at school
drop-off zones, like this
one at Little Harbour
School in Portsmouth for
Bike to School Day 2019,
it suggests SRTS is working

A youngster rides to Crisp School in Nashua
This youngster bicycled to the
Crisp School in Nashua on May 23,
where a brass band greeted
arriving bicyclists and walkers.
School band greets arriving bicyclists

Registration is now open for Walk to School Day on October 2 at a Web site maintained by the National Center for Safe Routes to School.

Two schools have already registered. The Andover Elementary/Middle School is the site of one of the earliest SRTS sidewalk projects. The Mildred Lakeway School in Littleton has had one of the more active programs in the state.

New Hampshire communities have played their part in contributing to record participation in events registered for Bike-to-School Day and Month. By May 31, the Granite State saw an increase from seven schools registered in 2018 to 11 in 2019. According to the national center, nationwide participation increased from 3,205 last year to 3,415 in 2019.

A record number of schools both nationally and in New Hampshire registered their walk-to-school events in October 2018.

"It's exciting to announce that we just closed Walk to School registration for 2018 and this year’s participation broke all previous years’ participation counts (2018 coming in with 5,613 registered events!). More communities, more schools, more people are seeing the importance and value of safe walking and bicycling to school. I hope you’re feeling that momentum where you are and you are able to leverage it," wrote Nancy Pullen-Surefert, director of the national center.

"Based on surveys from previous years, we know that more than half of these one-day events lead to changes to policies and the built environment. In other words, events lead to the kinds of changes that increase safe walking and biking for students every day of the school year," she wrote.

Participation by New Hampshire schools for the walking event last year increased to 19, from 18 in 2017.

Bicycling to Keene Middle School
Adult riders accompany young
bicyclists heading to the Keene
Middle School on May 15.

Granite State schools that registered for these events joined schools in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

The October 2019 walks will be part of the the 22nd consecutive year 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.

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.

bicyclists at starting point

Bike to School Day 2019 drew a
large group of bicyclists for
a ride to the Little Harbour
School in Portsmouth. Below,
students and their escorting
adults take a corner on the
route to school.

bicyclists take a corner on ride to school

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. 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.

helmet fitting

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.

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.
NHDOT Guide Promotes Walking and Bicycling in New Hampshire Communities

NHDOT has published a 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.

Next Training for Sponsors and Consultants Scheduled for Oct. 24, 2019

Sponsors of federally funded transporation projects rely on 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.

  • The next training session is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019. Please follow the link below to register or for more information.

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: bureau46@dot.nh.gov

For the Latest SRTS News, read our Electronic Newsletters

Updated September 17, 2019

 

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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

copyright 2015. State of New Hampshire