i am in article detail
For Immediate Release: 10/11/2011
CONTACT: MassDOT Press Office
(617) 973-8472

Patrick-Murray Administration Celebrates Safe Routes to School Improvements in Lexington

Safety, Access Upgrades Help Students, Parents at Bowman Elementary

Lexington – October 11, 2011 - Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) officials joined students, parents, and city and school officials today for a ribbon-cutting to celebrate the completion of access and safety improvements that will better enable children to walk or bicycle to Bowman Elementary School in Lexington. The project was built by MassDOT using federal Safe Routes to School Program funds.

“Today, we recognize the Safe Routes to School Program and its positive impact on the lives of students at Bowman Elementary,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard Davey. “This initiative is a critical part of MassDOT’s commitment to healthy and sustainable transportation options.”
Bowman Elementary School is a partner in the MassDOT Safe Routes to School Program, which includes more than 400 schools in over 120 communities and works with students, parents, school staff, and local police to promote walking and bicycling to school.  This program seeks to improve student health, reduce traffic congestion, and improve air quality.

Schools that partner with MassDOT are eligible for federal funding to build infrastructure projects specifically targeted at helping children get to school safely and conveniently.  As a Safe Routes partner, Bowman Elementary is provided with education and encouragement activities to increase bicycling and walking among students.

The Bowman Elementary School project includes steps to slow vehicle traffic, manage street crossings, and improve sidewalk conditions. Specific enhancements include new sidewalks and curbing along Philip Road, Lantern Lane, Dawes Road, Buckman Drive, and Pleasant Street. Overall, half a mile of new sidewalks have been built and are now open for public use.  Additionally, continuing construction will involve safety improvements at the Pleasant Street crossing, just south of East Worthen Road, with new pedestrian flashing warning signs, updated ramps, and crosswalks.

The Patrick-Murray Administration through MassDOT has engaged an on-call team of school engineers, planners, and bicycle/pedestrian experts to plan, design, and build targeted infrastructure improvements that enhance access to the Commonwealth’s elementary and middle schools.  These school access experts analyze current travel patterns and conditions, identify safety problems, and work with school officials, parents, and community leaders to design and construct solutions developed to reduce traffic speeds and improve pedestrian and bicycle access to schools.

The Safe Routes to School program is also a key component of the Healthy Transportation Compact, an initiative of the Patrick-Murray Administration’s historic transportation reform that promotes collaboration between the departments of transportation and public health. Through the Health Transportation Compact, the Patrick-Murray Administration is able to adopt best practices, increase efficiency, and achieve positive health outcomes through the coordination of land use, transportation, and public health policy. Safe Routes to School enables direct collaboration between the Patrick-Murray Administration and the Commonwealth’s schools and communities to promote walking and bicycling transportation as fun, safe, and sustainable. 

Safe Routes to School is federally-funded and administered by the MassRIDES travel options program on behalf of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.  To find out how your school can participate, contact Rebecca Cyr at rebecca.cyr@state.ma.us or visit www.mass.gov/massdot/saferoutes.

For transportation news and updates, visit the MassDOT website at www.mass.gov/massdot, the MassDOT blog at www.mass.gov/blog/transportation or follow MassDOT on twitter at www.twitter.com/massdot.