Update from the Tennessee Safe Routes to School Program

In January of 2012, Tennessee announced Safe Routes to School funding totaling $1.6 for ten municipalities in Tennessee. The majority of the funds will be used for schools to improve sidewalks, crosswalks and signs.  Many of the grant recipients will install flashing beacons and traffic control devices to allow for a safe environment around the schools.  Funds will be used to provide educational programs focused on bicycle and pedestrian safety and promotional activities to encourage walking and bicycling as a safe and healthy alternative. The projects in many of the communities will support the commitment to build, manage, and maintain and effective and safe nonmotorized transportation program.

In Kingsport and Tullahoma Safe Routes to School funds will be used to implement School Activity Plans. The goal is to teach safety education and healthy habits by identifying opportunities and creating partnerships between the schools, families, local and transportation officials, law enforcement, health advocates and the community.

The Tennessee network has been keeping busy too. Network partners at Vanderbilt University are completing a rapid response grant from the American Heart Association to advance joint-use agreements in 13 counties across Tennessee. In May of 2012, bicycle and pedestrian professionals from across the state met at the first ever Tennessee Bike Summit.  Safe Routes Partnership presented about creating successful partnerships. In September, the Tennessee advocacy organizer will present to hundreds of health officials and law enforcement at the annual Lifesavers Conference.  The topic is ‘Joining Forces:  Community Outreach and Education for Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety’.

For more information on the Tennessee Safe Routes to School program, please contact Diana Benedict, SRTS coordinator, at 615-253-2421 or visit the program website. For more information on the Tennessee Safe Routes to School state network project, contact Christy Smith, state advocacy organizer, at christy@saferoutespartnership.org.