In March of 2012, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) announced the selection of 28 schools in 18 localities throughout the Commonwealth to receive infrastructure funding totaling $5.9 million. The projects selected for funding include a variety of treatments to improve walking and bicycling conditions. These include the traditional sidewalk projects as well as a few trails, crosswalks, signage and a school dropoff/pickup area redesigned to more safely accommodate pedestrians.
For the upcoming funding cycle, VDOT continues to look for ways to make it easier for local communities to access and utilize Safe Routes to School funding. As part of that effort, the VDOT Safe Routes to School program recently announced a new “Quick-Start” mini-grant program. The mini-grants are intended to serve as a means for schools and other local partners to take the first step in becoming active in Safe Routes to School. With a streamlined application and reporting process, the mini-grants are a simple way to get immediate access to funds for an initial Safe Routes to School event. It is also ideal for schools that have been involved in Safe Routes to School in the past, but only need a small amount of funding to maintain their efforts. VDOT has made 50 mini-grants of $1,000 available on a rolling basis. Those looking to use the funds for International Walk to School Day on October 3 should apply by September 6. After that, applications will be accepted until all 50 awards are dispersed. More information on VDOT’s “Quick Start” mini-grants and other funding opportunities can be found at www.virginiadot.org/saferoutes.