Gowanda lands $650k for pedestrian safety

The village of Gowanda has landed a major grant for pedestrian safety.

New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald Friday announced $26.5 million in federal Safe Routes to School (SRTS) funding for 64 project sponsors to implement infrastructure improvements and public education campaigns across the State to encourage elementary and middle school children to safely walk and bike to school.

Gowanda was awarded $650,000 for pedestrian safety improvements and education at the Aldrich Street Elementary School and Gowanda Middle/High School.

The only other area to receive a grant was the Chautauqua Children’s Safety Education Village, which received $150,000 for safety education in county school districts.

“The projects supported by this round of federal funding will help children get to school safely by providing features such as sidewalks, multi-use paths, crosswalks and pedestrian signals near schools,” McDonald said in a news release. “The education component of the program can help families make healthy, sustainable transportation choices and teach kids how to safely use the infrastructure in their communities.”

The intent of Safe Routes to School is to enable and encourage children to walk or bicycle to school; help children adopt a more healthy and active lifestyle by making bicycling and walking a safer and more appealing transportation alternative; and facilitate the planning, development and implementation of transportation projects that will improve safety while reducing traffic, fuel consumption and air pollution in the vicinity of schools.

Federal funding was made available to NYSDOT, which administers the SRTS program and will reimburse 100 percent of eligible project costs for these successful programs.

Funding can be used for targeted infrastructure improvement projects located within a two-mile radius of an elementary or middle school. This could include installation of traffic signals or crosswalks, construction or rehabilitation of sidewalks and traffic mitigation measures.

Funding can also be used for non-infrastructure public-education and public-outreach projects. This may include conducting police enforcement operations and developing education programs for parents and children on the benefits of walking or bicycling to school.