Safe Routes to Schools Need Funding in Pennsylvania

Today we bring you a call for action from Pennsylvania network member Bike PGH, which is asking Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell to release funds for the state’s Safe Routes to Schools program:

1627979622_0b4f1a5309_m.jpgPhoto by pawpaw67 via Flickr.

[One] measure of bike and pedestrian friendliness is the level to which Safe Routes to Schools are funded. Well, we have bad news… PA ranks 49th in the nation on Safe Routes to School spending.

If you look at the Safe Routes to School programs map below you’ll notice an enormous hole where PA is filled with only a handful of orange dots. This is shameful.

Pennsylvania has received $21 million over five years (FY05 – 09) for the federal Safe Routes to School program. So far it has only released $2 million of that money to date. Of this $2 million only $55,000 has actually made its way into our communities. This leaves an overwhelming majority of that $21 million collecting dust that is earmarked for making our streets safer so kids can walk and ride bikes
to school. We want Governor Rendell to release this money for its intended use—to make our communities safer for kids to walk and bike to school.

Safe Routes to Schools, a national program that "assists communities in enabling and encouraging children to safely walk and bike to school" is one of the most promising avenues out there for changing attitudes toward walking and cycling at the generational level. Gov. Rendell is a traditional ally of sustainable transportation advocates, so
— presumably — he’ll be glad to hear from his constituents on this
issue. If you’re one of them, you can reach the governor’s office at (717) 787-2500.

In a related item from the network, The Overhead Wire picks up a New York Times story about a "piedibus," or "foot-bus," in a small Italian town — an organized group of students, led by adults, that walks safely to and from school each day. Kaid Benfield on NRDC Switchboard looks at a recent slideshow on TIME magazine’s website about shuttered big-box stores, and the accompanying article about "recycling suburbia." And The Bus Bench delivers another tough-minded analysis of the way class differences play out on the buses of Los Angeles.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

House GOP Urges Elimination of (GOP-Backed) Kid Safety Program

|
House Republicans aren’t known for their well-reasoned spending proposals lately, but they took it to a new level today by sending President Obama a $375 billion budget-cutting plan that slices $1 billion from bicycle and pedestrian programs. One hopes that crossing guard in orange isn’t a House GOPer. (Photo: CA DOT) The cuts have next […]
STREETSBLOG USA

House Attack on Safe Streets Makes Transpo Bill Ever More Elusive

|
We reported last week that the House had proposed allowing states to “opt out” of funding bicycle and pedestrian safety improvements in its counter-offer to the Senate during transportation bill negotiations. The House GOP essentially wants to reject the Cardin-Cochran amendment, which gave local governments control over half the “Additional Activities” funding set aside for […]
STREETSBLOG USA

Senate Introduces a Narrower Bill for Wider Sidewalks

|
Like everyone else, Safe Routes to School advocates are scaling back. Last year, a bill introduced in the Senate asked for $600 million to enhance pedestrian and bike safety near schools. “We were working in a pretty different environment,” said Margo Pedroso, deputy director of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership. “Everybody was talking […]