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Brown, Transportation and Infrastructure Democrats Introduce Legislation to Improve School Routes Safety

Washington, February 14, 2020
“Students, parents and educators deserve infrastructure around our schools that promote safety and accessibility,” said Congressman Anthony Brown. “By prioritizing the safety of our students and teachers going to and from school, we will better facilitate a quality educational environment and put an end to preventable, heartbreaking tragedies. Schools are often the cornerstones of our communities and the improvements we make to school routes will ultimately benefit all pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists alike.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Anthony G. Brown (MD-04) introduced the “Safe Routes to School Expansion Act” which would expand funding for infrastructure improvements critical to student safety. The legislation expands eligibility under the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) to include projects under  Safe Routes to School Programs such as sidewalks, crosswalks, signage and bus stop shelters.

“Students, parents and educators deserve infrastructure around our schools that promote safety and accessibility,” said Congressman Anthony Brown. “By prioritizing the safety of our students and teachers going to and from school, we will better facilitate a quality educational environment and put an end to preventable, heartbreaking tragedies. Schools are often the cornerstones of our communities and the improvements we make to school routes will ultimately benefit all pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists alike.”

In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 1 in 5 children killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians. Currently 20% of traffic deaths are people biking and walking. Yet less than 1% of Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) money is used to address these issues. It’s estimated that Safe Routes to School infrastructure improvements, currently funded through the Transportation Alternative Program, resulted in a 75 percent reduction in collisions involving people of all ages walking and bicycling. 

The “Safe Routes to School Expansion Act” will also allow the Department of Transportation to fund non-infrastructure related projects such as awareness campaigns on pedestrian and bus stop safety. The bill would also require the consultation of educational officials in safety planning.

Cosponsors of this bill include fellow members of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure; Congresswoman Julia Brownley (CA-26), Congressman Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-03), Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), Congressman Jared Huffman (CA-02), Congresswoman Dina Titus (NV-01) and Congressman Andre Carson (IN-07).

“As a mom and former school board member, ensuring our children get safely to and from school every day is an issue that is near and dear to my heart,” said Congresswoman Julia Brownley. ‘The Safe Routes to School Expansion Act’ will do just that by increasing funding for projects that will improve the safety of our streets and expand walking, biking, and other infrastructure. I look forward to working with Congressman Brown to see this important bill move forward.”

“In 2016, the Center for Disease Control reported 1 in 5 children, under the age of 15, killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians; yet, programs currently in place fail to address safety measures that could minimize pedestrian youth fatalities,” said Congressman Adriano Espaillat. “School bus stop safety should be among the top priorities for all communities, and I am proud to join Rep. Anthony Brown and our colleagues as an original cosponsor of the ‘Safe Routes to School Expansion Act’ to ensure efforts are taken to strengthen safety measures along city sidewalks and in areas with high pedestrian traffic, especially along routes to and from schools, crosswalks, bus stops and bus shelters.” 

The “Safe Routes to School Expansion Act” is endorsed by the Safe Routes Partnership, PeopleForBikes, League of American Bicyclists, Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals and Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.

“Every community deserves safe routes to schools, so that kids can arrive at school confident, energized, and ready to learn. Walking and biking to school helps kids get moving and connect to each other and to community arriving at school ready to learn while also positively impacting their long term health,” said Safe Routes Partnership Executive Director Cassandra Isidro. “We commend Rep. Brown for introducing the Safe Routes to School Expansion Act to provide more funding options for communities across the country.”

"At PeopleForBikes, we're focused on growing youth bike ridership and developing the next generation of two-wheeled enthusiasts. Unfortunately, too many communities across the nation lack the infrastructure to support kids on bikes," said PeopleForBikes COO Jenn Dice. “We know that safe bike infrastructure has to be job number one, or there is no chance kids and families will ride bicycles. We’re proud supporters of Congressman Brown's bill to expand funding access for Safe Routes to School projects and campaigns, ensuring safe and active transportation options for some of our most vulnerable road users."

"We know that when kids walk and bike to school, they are better able to concentrate in school and they get much needed physical activity while also increasing their independence," said Bill Nesper, executive director of the League of American Bicyclists. "This bill will make it easier for communities to build safe routes to school so that kids and families can reap the benefits of bicycling and walking."

"Safe Routes to School not only encourages kids to bike and walk to school, which improves their health and wellbeing, but these projects are also great for communities by encouraging active transportation for everyone. said Jessica Roberts, President of the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals. "This bill makes building sidewalks, crosswalks and bikeways more accessible for communities who want to make their streets safer."

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