Illinois Department of Transportation issued the following announcement on April 23.
Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Transportation today announced the award of more than $5.5 million to local communities for projects that encourage students to walk or bike to school. The 39 projects, made possible through IDOT's Safe Routes to School program, were selected from 160 applications received from across the state.
"I'm proud to announce that dozens of Safe Routes to School projects will be carried out across the state at no cost to Illinois," said Gov. JB Pritzker. "Using federal funds, we will be making sidewalk improvements, increasing signage, making crosswalks safer, and providing equipment to crossing guards and parent patrol programs. These projects will allow more of our students to safely walk or bike to school and will make our communities safer and healthier places to live."
Administered by IDOT using federal funds, Safe Routes to School supports projects and activities that improve safety and reduce traffic in areas around elementary and middle schools. Improvements can include new sidewalks, efforts to reduce speeding and other traffic offenses, public education and outreach programs.
"Safe Routes to School empowers communities to make decisions about where funding can do the most good," said Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. "But it also exemplifies how IDOT takes a multimodal approach to our transportation network and strives to give people safe, reliable options about where and how they chose to travel."
The projects were announced at an event at Kankakee's King Middle School, located on the busy Illinois 17 corridor and the site of 26 reported traffic incidents in the past five years. The city and school are collaborating on a project that includes widened crosswalks, pedestrian medians and other improvements to alert motorists to slow down or stop.
"I am extremely excited for our kids. This initiative started when I received a letter from a student who was concerned about safety," said Kankakee Mayor Chasity Wells-Armstrong. "This is a great example of government working for people and in this case, our kids. This is a civics lesson they will not forget."
The next application period for Safe Routes to School is anticipated in the fall of 2020. Visit www.idot.illinois.gov/srts or email DOT.SafeRoutes@Illinois.gov for more information.here.