Commissioner Nicely: Safer Routes To School, Healthier Tennessee Children -And Response

Thursday, December 4, 2008 - by Commissioner Gerald Nicely

Many of us remember a time not so long ago when children walked or biked to and from school each day. It was a time to play, catch up with friends, and get a few extra minutes of exercise. These days, more and more kids are catching the bus or a ride from their parents. Sometimes, it's a matter of convenience. Other times, it's a matter of safety.

TDOT's Safe Routes to School program aims to improve safety conditions near elementary and middle schools, and in turn, make walking or biking a safer, more appealing and healthier alternative for the state's school age children. The SRTS program is funded with $10.8 million in federal funds through 2009. The grants provide 100% of the project funding and do not require a local match.

In November, TDOT provided close to $2 million in federal funds to ten communities across the state. Those funds will be used for a wide variety of projects such as sidewalk construction, crosswalk improvements, multi-use paths, and enhanced signage and pavement markings. The grants will also fund important educational programs focused on pedestrian and bicycle safety.

With such worthwhile projects in the works near schools all over the state, TDOT is already looking ahead to next year's grants. Applications for 2009 will be accepted through March 27, 2009 at 3 p.m. To obtain an application or to learn more about the program, please visit http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/bikeped/saferoutes.htm
or contact our program coordinator at (615) 253-2421.

The Safe Routes to School program can integrate health, fitness, traffic relief, environmental awareness, and safety. It also provides an important opportunity for schools, communities, and local and state leaders to work together to promote a healthier lifestyle for our school children and create a safer, cleaner environment for everyone.

* * *

More information about Safe Routes to Schools programming locally is available at www.saferouteschattanooga.org. Providing mobility options for our children as well as adults is fundamental to many key issues in our society. From the health and wellness of our youth to transportation and fuel costs, providing opportunities for children to walk and bike to school is very important.

As our school district faces significant financial challenges, these broader issues of health, fitness, air quality, traffic congestion and transportation expense must be included in any cost analysis for school closures. The Safe Routes to School program provides direct benefits to parents, their children and our community at large.

Philip Pugliese
Bicycle Coordinator
Outdoor Chattanooga
ppugliese@outdoorchattanooga.com



Sewage Contaminating Our Water

For anyone who lives near Moccasin Bend, it's no secret that there is raw sewage and feces being pumped into our water and the Tennessee River. Ask any fisherman or boater who is on the water before they stop pumping of a morning and they will tell you stories such as this. I've seen it myself personally and have witnessed the brown and yellow concoction that is being blasted into ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Two From Sandy

Down through the years I have delighted in sharing stories that come from my friend Sandy Pohfal in Texas. Seeing how Thanksgiving is almost here – day after tomorrow – I figure it’s about time to slow down and let warmth of this week prepare us to give thanks for both the good and bad – without the bad things we wouldn’t recognize the real blessings. The first story I am going ... (click for more)

City Council Votes On 1st Reading To Lower Rain Retention Requirement In South Chickamauga Creek Basin

The City Council on Tuesday voted to lower the requirement for rainwater retention in the South Chickamauga Creek basin. The move from holding the first 1.6 inches to one inch had been requested by the Home Builders Association and the Berke administration. Sandy Kurtz, longtime leader of the South Chickamauga Creek Greenway Alliance, said the resolution was "not yet ready ... (click for more)

Former Pilot Regional Account Specialist Says Former President Mark Hazelwood Approved Of Fraud

When well-known attorney Rusty Hardin on Tuesday asked a former Pilot regional account specialist if she believed that former president Mark Hazelwood knew of a plan to cheat trucking firms he didn't get the answer he expected. Holly Radford told a jury in Chattanooga, "I know he had knowledge of the rebate schemes that were going on. "I had conversations with him about it ... (click for more)

Davis, Volker Power Soddy-Daisy Past Hixson 53-31

Tuesday was Game 2 for Bill Eller being back on the sideline as a head basketball coach. “I was nervous as heck in the first one,” Eller said Tuesday night after his Trojans belted Hixson, 53-31, behind the potent one-two scoring punch of Josh Davis and Doug Volker. “But this is my 29 th year coaching. It’s like riding a bicycle and once the ball is tipped, it’s about the ... (click for more)

CCS Sweeps Polk Co. In Thanksgiving Round Robin

Coach Eddie Salter appears to have a pretty good basketball team at Chattanooga Christian, but he’s still looking for the right chemistry as he finds the best combination of players to put on the floor. The season is still really young and the Chargers had only played one game coming into their annual Thanksgiving Round Robin Tournament Tuesday night, but it looks like he will ... (click for more)