In communities around the state, there will soon be new sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, curb ramps and more to make walking and rolling to school safer, easier and more accessible for all. Commissioners approved 26 Safe Routes to School projects totaling $32.4 million, with a focus on under-resourced neighborhoods: all awardees are Title 1 schools (schools where 40% or more of the student population is low-income). In Lincoln County the city of Newport was approved to receive $1,309,752 to construct a sidewalk for students at Newport Middle School. Lincoln City was approved to receive $755,027 to construct sidewalks and enhanced crossings for students at Oceanlake Elementary School.
“We had another round of outstanding applicants requesting a total of $80 million,” said LeeAnne Fergason, program manager. “All 83 of them addressed barriers to students walking and biking with needed safety improvements. So our Safe Routes Advisory Committee worked very hard to review and rank the proposals.” Successful applicants will now move forward with their various construction projects. Safe Routes to School Advisory Committee members approved the application analysis procedure in November 2021 based on previously agreed safety, equity and readiness criteria and scoring weights.
ODOT staff reviewed applications according to the analysis procedure and identified an initial list of projects as follows: 1) Those with the highest safety risk; 2) Those that addressed barriers for students at low-income schools; and 3) Those that had a high probability of project completion within five years. ODOT staff next completed a ground conditions review for the top projects. The committee then reviewed all applications and recommended the top scoring applications.