State identifies $3.4 million to improve kids' routes to school

Federal grant funding to be spread across state for walking, bike paths

September 09, 2014|By Kevin Rector, The Baltimore Sun

Sidewalks and paths used by elementary and middle school students across Maryland will be upgraded with $3.4 million in federal grant funding, state officials announced Tuesday.

The federal Transportation Alternatives Program funding will be administered by the State Highway Administration and used for 16 projects shortlisted under the state's Safe Routes to School Program, officials said.

Grants under the program, which are awarded to local jurisdictions annually, are aimed at improving safety for young students who walk or bike to school. A total of 517 children under the age of 16 have been struck by cars in Maryland in the last five years, the state said, and about 100 people on average die each year in the state in pedestrian-related car accidents.

The announcement follows another last week of $2.3 million in grant funding for improved bike paths in the state.

"Our commitment to our children's safety has never been stronger, and this funding will help better protect them as they head to our number-one-in-the-nation schools," said Gov. Martin O'Malley in a statement. "Working together with the leadership of the General Assembly and local jurisdictions, we will build a 21st century transportation infrastructure and improve safety for children who walk or bike to school."

In Baltimore, $715,516 will go toward pedestrian education programs, Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant sidewalk ramps, pedestrian countdown signals at intersections and crosswalk and school zone signage for Harford Heights Elementary, Hilton Elementary School and Tench Tilghman Elementary Middle School.

The Harford County government will also receive $69,300 for educational materials and bike racks at Emmorton Elementary School and for ADA-compliant sidewalks and ramps, commercial driveway and crosswalk markings and countdown signals at intersections for Southampton Middle School.

The organization Bike Maryland will receive $173,000 for "educational programs, clinics and coordinators," the state said.

The rest of the funding will be spent on similar projects across the state.

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