The California Office of Traffic Safety is granting the San Mateo County Office of Education $130,000 for bicycle and pedestrian safety programs, according to a Nov. 13 Office of Education press release.
Officials from the Office of Education's Safe Routes to School program, which promotes safe alternative transportation for students to and from school, will administer the grant, which comes from funds distributed to state by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
"Our goal is that education will change poor behaviors and make our roads safer," said California Office of Traffic Safety Director Barbara Rooney in a prepared statement. "This funding will help ensure the safety of those out biking or walking."
According to the county, grant funds will be used in the following ways:
• Education workshops geared toward youth and older adults
• Education on the importance of safety equipment that improves visibility such as reflective armbands, bicycle headlights and taillights
• Community walks and bicycle safety courses
• Bicycle helmet inspections
• Bicycle helmet educational presentations and distribution of helmets to those in need
Students in the Menlo Park City, Las Lomitas Elementary and Portola Valley Elementary school districts have recently returned to campuses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the past, the program has granted funds to the Menlo Park City School District to have engineering consultants develop "Safe Routes to School" maps for district schools. These maps show suggested routes for walking or biking to school within a one-mile radius of each campus, according to the district.
The Woodside Elementary School District community members have also been active in the program, especially given parents' discomfort about their children walking or biking across Woodside Road to get to school. The program has helped fund surveys to identify solutions for carless commutes to campus (where a 2012 survey found that during the morning drop-off, 80% of students were dropped off from a car in which there was only one student in the vehicle.
The grant program funding began Oct. 1 and runs through Sept. 30, 2021.