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Laurie Ender: Safe Routes to School gets kids moving

Live from City Hall

Posted: July 30, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: July 30, 2011 1:57 a.m.
 

It is often said the little things in life bring about the biggest impacts.

This saying has never been truer than when we consider our children, and how we help them learn. An encouraging word, a few minutes of help with homework and the simple act of supporting daily physical activity can all dramatically improve a child’s ability to learn and succeed in school.

In fact, according to Active Living Research at San Diego State University, “Kids who are physically active and fit are likely to have stronger academic performance.”

Because our city has a strong commitment to supporting a healthy community for families, we first applied for the Safe Routes to School grant to help create an environment where students can walk or bike to school. 

For five consecutive years, the city of Santa Clarita has secured grant funding for the Safe Routes to School program, supporting programs aimed at increasing our children’s ability to walk and bike to school safely. This grant funding is spread across the community, with one school in each city elementary school district (Newhall, Saugus and Sulphur Springs) benefiting each year.  

Each grant includes funding to be used for physical improvements around the school. These improvements generally include the installation of bulb-outs, speed-feedback signs, pedestrian-countdown signals and enhancements to crosswalks and school-area signage — all of which are proven to calm traffic and increase driver awareness of pedestrians and cyclists.

Additionally, there is a series of education and motivation-based workshops associated with the grants, where parents, students and teachers are encouraged to attend at-school assemblies to learn about planned improvements around the school; organizing a walking school bus; and upcoming walk/bike-to-school day events.

The following is a list of the schools benefiting from Safe Routes to School grant funding:

2008

The city received a total of $1,115,000 in funding for two separate projects, which were implemented in 2009, with improvements at and around Canyon Springs, Emblem, Meadows, Mitchell, Peachland and Rosedell elementary schools. 

2009

The city received a total of $507,000 in funding, which were implemented in 2010, with improvements at and around Leona Cox, Old Orchard and Rio Vista elementary schools. 

2010

The city received a total of $213,000 in funding, which will be complete in 2012, with improvements at and around North Park, Valencia Valley and Valley View elementary schools. 

Santa Clarita is committed to supporting this program and raising awareness about opportunities to walk and bike to school as a way to increase activity among our youth, improve academic performance and enjoy our 60 miles of off-street trails and bike lanes throughout our community.  

For more information about the Safe Routes to School program, or for tips and information to help educate your family about safely biking or walking to school, visit SCSafeRoutes.com or contact Ian Pari, senior traffic engineer and Safe Routes to School program director for the city of Santa Clarita, at (661) 284-1402.

Laurie Ender is a Santa Clarita City Council member and can be reached at: lender@santa-clarita.com.

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