Safe Routes to School
Following a years-long process, the work of Elmhurst’s Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Committee paid off when the group was informed in 2012 that they had garnered two federal grants totaling $81,318, which were administered by School District 205. One grant – in the amount of $41,839 – was earmarked to “teach pedestrian and bicycle safety skills to students and parents” while the other – in the amount of $39,479 – was focused on promoting safe routes to school in the community.
The SRTS Committee (no longer in existence) was comprised of PTA representatives from District 205 elementary and middle schools and was facilitated by the Elmhurst Bicycle Task Force, which falls under the auspices of the City of Elmhurst. It should be noted that this grant did not require a match of local dollars, so was not an impact on the District 205 budget.
The grant application outlined the following ideas as possible implementation activities:
- additional bike racks
- further develop walk or bike to school programs, including walking school buses and bike trains
- acquire and utilize speed feedback trailers around the schools
- where needed, re-design drop off and pick up zones
- survey to determine any change in parent perceptions of safe walking and biking to school
- develop and distribute educational materials for safe walking
- develop motivational programs to encourage walking and biking to school
“Being awarded a Safe Routes to School Grant by the State of Illinois is another example of the bike friendly town that Elmhurst is working to become,” said Bob Hoel, former chair of the Elmhurst Bicycle Task Force. “If it is safe for elementary and middle school students to walk or bike to school, the entire community will benefit and be safer.”