Keeping kids active and healthy is one of the missions of the Safe Routes To School Program.  Encouraging students to ride their bicycles to school or to walk (as opposed to being driven there) is the primary step. However, you need to provide routes that are maintained and safe first.

Minnesota communities and schools that are seeking to develop those safer places and routes for students to walk or bicycle to school can now apply for some grant money from the Minnesota Department of Transportation.  MNDOT has made $650,000 available in grant opportunities through their Safe Routes To School Program.

The grant funding from MNDOT follows the agencies goal for health kids.  Safe Routes To School Coordinator for MNDOT Dave Cowan explains:

"Making it safer and easier for students to walk and bicycle can have major impacts on their health and well-being.  We know students do better in school when they build physical activities into their day.  Safe Routes To School plans and programs can help communities create safe spaces for people to walk and bicycle."

MNDOT is separating qualified school applicants into two types of grants:

  • Boost Grants:  Support existing Safe Routes To School work, often from SRTS plans.  Applications for Boost Grants are due by November 30, 2022.  Applicants will be notified of decisions by January 2023 and have until June 2023 to make all expenditures related to the grant contact.
  • Planning Assistance Grants:  MNDOT describes that these grants are available "to help engage stakeholders, analyze existing data, and prioritize strategies to make it safer and easier for students to walk and bicycle to school and in daily life". Applications are due by January 11, 2023.  Applicants will be notified of decisions by March 2023 and can expect planning to begin in July 2023.

MNDOT has been involved with the Safe Routes To School initiative since 2006. Since that time, they've worked with more than 500 schools and communities across the state to fund plans, implement programs, and make infrastructure improvements.

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