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For Immediate Release: 10/14/2011
CONTACT: MassDOT Press Office
(617) 973-8472

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

Safety, Access Improvements Help Students at Dallin Elementary

Arlington – October 14, 2011 - MassDOT officials today joined students, parents, and city and school officials for a ribbon-cutting to celebrate the completion of access and safety improvements that will better enable children to walk or bicycle to Dallin Elementary School in Arlington. The project was built by MassDOT using federal Safe Routes to School Program funds.

“Today, we celebrate the Safe Routes to School Program and its positive impact on the lives of students here at Dallin Elementary,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard Davey. “MassDOT's Safe Routes to School Program is a critical part of our commitment to healthy and sustainable transportation options, resulting in healthier students, happier parents, and safer roads for bicyclists and pedestrians."

Dallin 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.

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

The Dallin Elementary School project includes enhancements to slow vehicle traffic, improve street crossings, and upgrade sidewalks. Specific steps include new sidewalks with new curbing along Renfrew Street, George Street, as well as the building of a small section of sidewalk and road reconstruction along George Street at its intersection with Rhinecliff Street. Safe Routes to School funding has also financed new direct sidewalk connections and safer roadway crossings from nearby residential areas to the Dallin School, where previously no student crossways existed.

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.