Safe Routes to School Initiative Receives $3.2 M to Increase Safety for Pedestrians, Cyclists and Drivers
City of Fort Worth, Fort Worth ISD, and Blue Zones Project partnered to apply for funds that will improve sidewalks, crosswalks, and signage, and make it easier for children to walk or bike to school
FORT WORTH, Texas – It is going to get easier and safer for children at several Fort Worth elementary schools to walk or ride their bikes to their neighborhood school. The North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTOG) has awarded more than $3.2 million through the Safe Routes to School project to the City of Fort Worth in partnership with Fort Worth Independent School District and Blue Zones Project, Fort Worth, a community-led well-being improvement initiative. Funding will be used over the next three years to install infrastructure improvements in and around seven Fort Worth elementary schools, identified as some of the most in need of safety upgrades.
Awarded schools include:
- Bonnie Brae Elementary
- C. Moss Elementary
- Daggett Elementary and Middle
- Diamond Hill Elementary
- McRae Elementary
- L. Phillips Elementary
- J. Turner Elementary
Partners and other area stakeholders selected the schools based on factors such as lack of sidewalks, reported pedestrian and bicycle crashes, percentage of economically disadvantaged students, and unavailability of school bus service.
The City of Fort Worth will implement changes to traffic flow in the fall, and infrastructure improvements—such as sidewalk enhancements, crosswalks, flashing beacons, signage, and bicycle-pedestrian trails—will be completed at all seven schools in one to three years.
“There is nothing more important than the safety of our children,” said Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Kent P. Scribner. “That’s why this initiative is so critical. In addition, safe routes to schools can help kids get active again. That’s critical to their education as research consistently links healthy behaviors with stronger academic performance.”
Fort Worth is one of 16 North Texas communities to receive funding from NCTCOG’s Regional Transportation Council for Safe Routes to Schools projects. The City of Fort Worth will match the grant funds, leading to a total investment of $6.4 million for infrastructure improvements in and around the neighborhoods of these selected schools.
“When we make it easier to walk or bike to school, we’re lessening traffic congestion and helping our young people stay safe and active,” said Mayor Betsy Price of Fort Worth. “This is an outstanding example of organizations working together to achieve community goals.”
Encouraging children and families to move naturally is a key aspect of Blue Zones Project, which is working to make healthy choices easier across Fort Worth.
“Children who walk or bike to school arrive on campus alert and ready to learn,” said Matt Dufrene, vice president of Blue Zones Project, Fort Worth. “It is our job as a community to ensure they can get to school safely, and this initiative goes a long way toward accomplishing that.”
About Blue Zones Project
Blue Zones Project® is a community-led well-being improvement initiative designed to make healthy choices easier through permanent changes to a city’s environment, policy, and social networks. Established in 2010, Blue Zones Project is inspired by Dan Buettner, a National Geographic Fellow and New York Times best-selling author who identified five regions of the world—or Blue Zones®—with the highest concentration of people living to 100 years or older. Blue Zones Project incorporates Buettner’s findings and works with cities to implement policies and programs that will move a community toward optimal health and well-being. Currently, 42 communities in nine states have joined Blue Zones Project, impacting more than 3.3 million Americans nationwide. The movement includes three beach cities in California; 15 cities in Iowa; Albert Lea, Minnesota; the city of Fort Worth; and communities in Southwest Florida, Hawaii, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Wisconsin. Blue Zones Project is a division of Healthways, a Sharecare company. For more information, visit www.bluezonesproject.com.
About Fort Worth ISD
Fort Worth ISD is made up of more than 86,000 students in 83 elementary schools, 28 middle schools and 6th grade centers, 14 high schools and 17 special campuses, and is the largest school district in Tarrant County.