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Commissioner Steve Novick

Official Website for Commissioner Steve Novick

Phone: 503-823-4682

fax: 503-823-4019

1221 SW 4th Ave. Suite 210, Portland, OR 97204

Council accepts ODOT grant for Safe Routes to School Program

Safe Routes to SchoolToday, Council accepted a grant from the Oregon Department of Transportation for Portland’s Safe Routes to School Program. The $498,000 grant is one of several ongoing examples of collaboration by many partners to move the program forward, and I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight this partnership as one innovative strategy that supports wellness in our community.

Safe Routes to School advocates for and implements programs that make walking and biking around our schools and neighborhoods fun, easy, safe, and healthy for all students and families. Program staff work with 80 Portland schools, and do all kinds of things to support walking and biking - for example, city staff might work with parents to organize a "walking school bus" that brings different families together to walk to school safely. Portland is on the forefront of the national Safe Routes to Schools effort. Some 40% of Portland students walk or bike to school, which is way beyond the national average of 12%. On the other end of the spectrum, the implementation of the program provides engineering reports that help schools and the City plan for better transportation infrastructure, like crosswalks.

The grant the Council accepted today will make critical street improvements at four Portland elementary schools. For example, at Prescott Elementary School, located at NE 102nd and Skidmore, the funds will pay for curb extensions that make it much easier to walk on the neighborhood streets surrounding the school. I’m so pleased that we are able to leverage this investment in these communities, and I look forward to continued partnerships.

Finally, thanks so much to the parent volunteers, school district staff, City staff, and others who make Safe Routes a success. And most of all, thanks to the all the families who seek to walk or bike regularly - or who advocate for the improvements they need to make it possible to walk and bike to school safely.

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