A few weeks ago, radar feedback speed limit signs went up in Moretown, Waitsfield and Warren reminding drivers to slow down upon entering school zones—just one of many measures currently underway throughout The Valley in efforts to get students to school safely.
The speed limit signs were provided by Vermont Agency of Transportation's (VTrans) Safe Routes to School program, a federally supported program that encourages walking and biking to school and helps towns develop the infrastructure so that students can do so with minimal risk.
In addition to providing the signs, Vermont Safe Routes to School Infrastructure Program funded projects across the state totaling $1.5 million in 2012. Included in that total was funding for constructing a sidewalk along the west side of Route 100 in front of Waitsfield Elementary School, for which the town received $250,000.
Since then, Moretown has applied for a similar Vermont Pedestrian & Cycle Coalition grant to fund the replacement of the asphalt sidewalks between Moretown General Store and Hurdle Road with granite-curbed, 5-foot, handicapped-accessible concrete sidewalks. Moretown submitted its grant application earlier this summer and expects to hear back about its status sometime in October. If approved, the town will be responsible for matching 10 percent of the estimated $375,000 project.
One consideration in choosing to apply for the grant to repair the existing sidewalk rather than construct a new sidewalk on the west side of Route 100B between the upper and lower villages was the intersection of Route 100B and Moretown Mountain Road.
At its June 3 meeting, the Moretown Select Board agreed that the intersection of Moretown Mountain Road and Route 100B has issues that would need to be fixed before a sidewalk were installed, as cars often come down Moretown Mountain Road in winter and slide straight across Route 100B into the guardrail. On Tuesday, September 3, Moretown learned that it was awarded a $4,000 grant to have an engineer study that intersection and propose possible solutions.
In the meantime, Moretown and the rest of The Valley will continue to keep up with ongoing Safe Routes to School efforts. Moretown Elementary School principal Duane Pierson leads a weekly walking school bus from his home to school. Waitsfield Elementary School won the state-wide Carbon Cup this year for the highest number of students commuting cleanly during Way to Go! Week, and Warren Elementary School continues to teach Walk Smart/Bike Smart Vermont's curriculum to physical education classes each year.