Warren Select Board member and Safe Routes to School Committee representative Kirsten Reilly presented plans, Tuesday night, for a grant application to cover infrastructure improvements to promote safe walking and biking to school.
Warren was selected in the second round of schools to participate in the multi-pronged Safe Routes to School program. Vermont receives approximately $1 million per year in funding from the federal government to promote safe walking and biking to school.
The grant application could cover the cost of radar feedback signs on
roads in and around the village area and school road in addition to a
sidewalk feasibility study.
Reilly said the committee has met with an engineer to discuss plans for infrastructure improvements; originally crosswalks were included in the discussion, but Reilly said the town wasn't eligible because there are no sidewalks to connect to the crosswalks.
Radar feedback signs are permanent installations, according to Reilly, and would cost between $15,000 and $18,000; the signs show how fast cars traveling in and out of the village are going and have been effective in traffic calming and speed reduction in other towns, Reilly said.
The sidewalk feasibility study that needs to be completed could potentially include a pathway up the right side of School Road with a strip that would separate the path from the roadway.
Warren resident Tim Seniff expressed concern about changing the width of the road.
"To me, I don't really see the point; it's the parents' responsibility to teach their children," he said.
Select board member Anson Montgomery commended Reilly's efforts.
"Kristen has done a great deal of work to secure federal funds to make recreation access to facilities in Warren," he said.
Reilly said that many of the children traveling to and from school are as young as 5 and 6 years old and that personally she doesn't feel safe traveling on some of the roads in Warren.
Many residents referenced parents traveling too fast down the village roads when they bring their children to and from school.
Select board chair Andy Cunningham made a motion to give support to the Safe Routes grant application. All were in favor.
"There are things I like about it and things that I'm not so enthused about," he said.
The grant, which has multiple line items, is only available to schools that have participated in the program and have a school travel plan. The grant provides 100 percent funding, with no local match required.