Chatfield receives grant for creating safer routes to school

The city of Chatfield and the Chatfield School District will benefit from planning assistance and infrastructure grants that support the Safe Routes to School program, the Minnesota Department of Transportation announced. This includes grants provided to the cities of Spring Grove, Dodge Center, Chatfield, La Crescent and Lake City Public Schools in southeast Minnesota.

Safe Routes to School is an international program to improve safety, reduce traffic congestion around schools, increase physical activity and improve health by making it easier for students to walk and bicycle to school.

Planning assistance grants provide communities the resources to convene a team, understand key issues, prioritize strategies and identify solutions that fit the local need.

Infrastructure grants provide construction funding for projects that promote and encourage more students to walk or bicycle to school by making the routes safer and more accessible. Projects can include sidewalks, trails, crosswalk markings, flashing beacons and other traffic control devices.

“Thousands of Minnesota students will now have more opportunities to safely walk and bike to schools and improve their health,” said MnDOT Commissioner Margaret Anderson Kelliher. “Thanks to the Safe Routes to School program we are helping to build the next generation of multi-modal transportation users.”

MnDOT announced the available planning assistance and infrastructure grants in October 2018. The infrastructure solicitation received $6.7 million in funding requests and 12 projects were awarded state funding for construction projects totaling $2 million. Regional partners will administer planning grants in their area and MnDOT will administer the construction grants.

The Safe Routes to School grants in this solicitation are funded with state and federal Safe Routes to School dollars. Historically, nearly 70 percent of these funds have supported work within Greater Minnesota communities.

Since 2005, MnDOT awarded more than $38 million in federal and state funds to communities to support Safe Routes to School. The majority of funding was awarded for infrastructure projects. The remainder was allocated for programs and planning that promote walkable and bikeable communities.