State funding city programs for schools and sidewalk safety
May 22, 2018
The City of Pittsburgh was awarded more than $1.4 million in state transportation funding in support of school and sidewalk safety initiatives championed by the Department of Mobility and Infrastructure (DOMI).
The two initiatives were among 82 transportation projects approved for funding by Governor Tom Wolf and PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards to enhance mobility and public accessibility statewide.
$464,011 to hire a full-time Safe Routes to School coordinator to increase safe walking and bicycling opportunities for city students, purchase and distribute safety items (helmets, lights, reflectors); and expand the after-school bike program.
$980,000 to enhance pedestrian safety and access by constructing sidewalks within critical gaps throughout the city.
Sidewalks are the fundamental unit of mobility in any city and provide safe passage for pedestrians and other vulnerable users by providing a place to walk separated from vehicular traffic. Pittsburgh sidewalks are the responsibility of private property owners. This results in uneven improvement in the pedestrian network and periodic long delays in gaining compliance for a safe, traversable network for persons of all ages and abilities.
The resources awarded by PennDOT will help the city act to address critical sidewalk gaps even while working with private owners. Critical gaps are typically those that connect communities to schools, transit stops, parks or recreational facilities or others.
“The city is keenly interested in deploying these resources to neighborhoods of the city that have higher concentrations of residents who lack access to an automobile or other private means of travel,” said DOMI Director Karina Ricks.
Safe Routes to School is a program initially established in 2005 by the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act (SAFETEA-LU), a national funding bill. More than just building infrastructure improvements, the Safe Routes to School funding category offers programmatic support to establish policies, designs and educational programming to develop safer places and safer habits for students.