Local ‘Safe Routes to School’ Efforts Advanced with MnDOT Mini-Grant

WSB East Route

This spring will bring more than warmer temperatures and greenery; it will also bring a stronger Safe Routes to School program in Grand Marais. Sawtooth Elementary School and Great Expectations School received good news this past week: both schools would receive a mini-grant from the Minnesota Department of Transportation Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program. The schools have been working collaboratively on Safe Routes to School since 2009 and this year will be kicking off in-school bike education for 3rd grade students.

“We’ve already seen benefits from previous SRTS efforts,” says GES Director Peter James. “This award creates an exciting opportunity to expand cooperation between the schools and our community through the development of an on-going program that will provide bicycle safety instruction to all third grade students.”

The mini-grant will provide support for implementation of the bike education in both schools, two bike racks, and supplies for the monthly Walking School Buses.

Sawtooth Mountain Elementary Principal Gwen Carman expressed her support for the program. “It is wonderful to continue to be able to work with other community programs to support the education of our students. We know that being healthy and active promotes students’ success at school!”

Grand Marais Safe Routes to School (SRTS) strives to improve the health of students and the community by making walking and bicycling to school safer, easier, and more enjoyable. In addition to coordinating Walking School Bus days in the fall and spring, SRTS offers the annual bike rodeo each May, new in-school bike education, and works to create safer routes with improved pedestrian and bicyclist infrastructure, crossing guard equipment, and community signage (such as the “Slow Down & Smile! Kids on the Move!” signs). In 2015, the Safe Routes to School group is also updating its SRTS Plan to better meet the goals of the program and the needs of the community.

For more information about Cook County Safe Routes to School, contact SRTS Coordinator, Maren Webb, at maren@sawtoothmountainclinic.org or 218-387-2330.

Published in the Cook County News-Herald, 2/14/15 edition.

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