$1.2 Million Awarded to Prince George’s County Schools; More than $3.4 Million to 11 Jurisdictions Across State
LANDOVER HILLS, Md. (October 5, 2011) – Standing with students and staff from Glenridge and Woodridge Elementary schools on International Walk to School Day, Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown and Deputy Transportation Secretary Darrell B. Mobley presented Prince George’s County Schools Superintendent William R. Hite, Jr., Woodridge Elementary School Principal Dr. Gloria McCoy and other local partners with a $1.2 million check as part of the Safe Routes to School program.
Prince George’s County is one of 11 jurisdictions sharing a total of $3.4 million in Safe Routes to School program funding. The program encourages children in grades K-8 to walk and bike to school, and funds education, engineering and enforcement initiatives to protect children in their daily treks. Lt. Governor Brown highlighted how the program will enhance pedestrian safety for 985 students around Glenridge and Woodridge schools with new sidewalk segments in areas where there are existing gaps, and include new pedestrian safety lessons as part of the school curriculum.
“We want Maryland children to be happy, healthy and above all, safe, when traveling to and from school,” said Lt. Governor Brown. “By working together with our local partners as part of the Safe Routes to School program, we are protecting our youngest, most vulnerable citizens and building stronger, safer communities throughout Maryland.”
In the last two years alone there have been five pedestrian-involved traffic incidents within a half mile of the two subject schools, clearly indicating safety issues in the community. Additionally, gaps in sidewalks around the school have been identified and repair work will be done by Prince George’s County Public Works along Gallatin Street, 72nd Avenue, Marywood Street, Glenridge Drive, Surrey Lane, and Decatur Street. County officials hope that the improvements will encourage more children in the community to walk and bike to school. Because of the Safe Routes to School program, students at both Glenridge and Woodridge elementary schools will have access to pedestrian safety lessons as part of their school curriculum.
“We are proud to be a partner in the Safe Routes to School program and thank the O’Malley-Brown Administration for their continued focus on education and safety,” said Prince George’s County Public Schools Superintendent William R. Hite, Jr. “Prince George’s County is eager to put these funds to work to encourage walking, cycling, and school pride while keeping our students safe.”
The Safe Routes to School program brings together parents and school administrators and teachers, along with other community groups and agencies to improve the safety of children who walk or bicycle to school. This exercise bolsters child health by encouraging physical activity, and enhances the environment by reducing traffic, fuel consumption and air pollution near elementary and middle schools.
“This funding announcement coinciding with the back to school season provides the perfect opportunity to remind drivers that we all share the responsibility of getting children to school safely,” said Deputy Transportation Secretary Darrell Mobley. “Now is the time to take a refresher course in the rules of the road. There’s no room for aggressive driving when sharing the road with school buses and children walking and biking to school. Be patient and conservative.”
The total of $3.4 million in grants will benefit 37 Maryland schools and more than 20,000 students. Prince George’s County Public Works received an $897,800 grant to enhance safety around four elementary schools: Glenridge, Woodridge, Oakcrest and Robert R. Gray. Prince George’s County is receiving more than $1.2 million in total including separate grants to: Mt. Rainier for $80,000, the Town of Cheverly for $74,000, the City of New Carrollton for $24,900, and College Park for $161,000. In total, $16 million has been invested in the program primarily through local jurisdictions and non-profits to enhance the safety of neighborhoods around schools throughout Maryland since the program’s launch in 2007.
At least 40 Maryland schools are participating in International Walk to School Day, joining 3,500 school events across the nation. Participating schools focus on health, safety, physical activity and concern for the environment. Walk to School events work in tangent with the Safe Routes to School program to create safer routes for walking and bicycling and emphasize physical activity among children, pedestrian safety, traffic congestion, concern for the environment as well as building connections between families, schools and the broader community. In May 2006, the National Center for Safe Routes to School was established to assist communities in enabling and encouraging children to safely walk and bike to school and serves as the national coordinating agency for Walk to School activities throughout the nation.
The Maryland Department of Transportation's State Highway Administration manages the Maryland Safe Routes to School program, which utilizes federal funding. The grants are awarded annually to local government and non-profit organizations on a competitive basis based on need and problem identification. Local jurisdictions are encouraged to apply by calling the Maryland State Routes to School coordinator at 410-787-7620.