November 4, 2010

Town of Brownsburg Parks and Recreation Department Receives Safe Routes to School Program Grant

For Immediate Release: November 4, 2010
Contact: Philip Parnin, Director of Parks and Recreation (317) 858-4172

Town of Brownsburg Parks and Recreation Department Receives Safe Routes to School Program Grant

Brownsburg, IN – Brownsburg students will soon find it safer to walk or bike to school thanks to a Safe Routes to School (SRTS) grant announced today by the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) and the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE). The Town of Brownsburg Parks and Recreation Department was awarded $250,000 for the construction of a multi-use path that will connect Eagle Elementary, Brownsburg High School, and Brown Elementary with the public library, making walking and bicycling to school safer for our students.

“The Safe Routes to School grant award is an exciting opportunity for our community,” Philip Parnin, Director of Parks and Recreation said. “The Brownsburg Trail Study outlines a seven-phase construction plan for a trail system that links many of our resources: the public library, parks, schools, neighborhoods, and the regional B&O Greenway Trail.

“The Safe Routes to School grant allows the Town to complete the northern two phases of its trail system much earlier than we could have anticipated,” Parnin added. “And, what’s unique about the SRTS grant is that there’s no funding match required on our part.”

The Town of Brownsburg’s Thoroughfare Plan and Greenways Master Plan and the Brownsburg Community School Corporation (BCSC) Campus Master plan all identify the need to provide safe pedestrian and bicycle facilities around and between schools. The route will be constructed along O’Dell Street from Sycamore north to Tilden and along Tilden west to the Brownsburg Public Library on Jefferson Street. The 10- to 12-foot wide path will separate bicyclists from vehicular traffic and accommodate pedestrians and people using wheeled mobility devices.

“We know that children are less likely to bike or walk to school when there is a busy road or when their parents are worried about the dangers of traffic at peak drop-off times,” Town Manager Dale Cheatham said. “With a wider path to separate bicyclists from motor vehicle traffic, clearly marked and highly visible crossings, and slower traffic, parents can feel safer about letting their children walk or
bike to school on their own.”

Recognizing that schools play an important role in student safety and promoting healthy choices, the BCSC endorsed the Safe Routes to School project and several other community organizations committed resources and support for activities to help train children in pedestrian and bicycle safety and encourage more walking or biking to school.

Supporters include the Brownsburg Police Department, Brownsburg Chamber of Commerce, the B&O Trail Association, XRB Radio, the Indiana Bicycle Coalition (Bicycle Indiana), the Brownsburg Kiwanis, and Vance & Hines Motorsports’ Screamin’ Eagle pro stock motorcycle team. Safety education will teach children safe walking habits, the importance of wearing a helmet while bicycling, and how to share the road with motorists.

In addition to the schools directly impacted by the proposed Safe Route to School, White Lick Elementary, Brownsburg West Middle School, and Brownsburg High School students will use the trail traveling to and from school. The multi-use trail would also offer residents an alternative means of travel and accommodate recreational walkers, joggers, bicyclists, and in-line skaters. SRTS applications representing 58 schools were submitted requesting $5.7 million. Brownsburg’s project was one of fourteen infrastructure projects and seven non-infrastructure activities selected through a highly competitive approval process. INDOT awarded more than $3.4 million in available funding to the 21 selected projects.

“This year INDOT received many outstanding applications and was very encouraged by the caliber of the proposals,” said INDOT Commissioner Michael B. Cline. “INDOT was pleased to approve an increased amount this year for both urban and rural schools across the state.”

Now in its fifth year, Indiana’s Safe Routes to School program promotes walking and biking among school children by investing Federal transportation funds in approved engineering, education and enforcement programs. More information is available on Indiana’s Safe Routes to School Web site at http://SafeRoutes.IN.gov.