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



Chattanooga's Gun Problem

In the last two months we have seen a number of murders and shootings in the Chattanooga area and for the most part all of the perpetrators have a background, have been arrested and as crazy as it is, for gun related charges. My question for the powers that be is - what are you going to do about this problem? Chattanooga, at least downtown, is a tourist hot spot, tourism ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

Every day, without exception, I find a number of “treats” in my daily dose of email. These funnies, and other pertinent information, are sent to me by a myriad of “Internet Buddies” who I repay by sending out some of the funniest that I collect. Think of it as sort of a “co-op” for my readers to enjoy. When The Saturday Funnies began last summer, it was what I still think is ... (click for more)

Navy Veteran From Hixson Who Was Attacked By Fellow Inmate At McMinn County Jail Dies

A Hixson man who went on life support after a vicious attack by a fellow inmate at the McMinn County Jail in Athens, Tn., has died. Family friends said 48-year-old Tim Cook, a Navy veteran, died Saturday after he was kicked repeatedly in the head a week earlier. He had been arrested in Athens on a driving while intoxicated charge. Sheriff Joe Guy told the Athens Post ... (click for more)

Report Of Shots Fired At Hamilton Place Mall Sends Crowd Scrambling; No Victims Found

A report of shots fired at Hamilton Place Mall shortly after 6 p.m. on Saturday sent customers at the mall racing out in a panic. Police later said no shooting victims had been found. A call to 911 at 6:07 p.m. said there was an "active shooter." There was a call for EMS to the mall, then another call at 6:10 p.m. of an "active shooter." Those in the vicinity of the mall said ... (click for more)

Baylor Boys Advance To D-II Final Four

Baylor and Ensworth split their two regular-season basketball games with the Red Raiders prevailing by 15 at home while the Tigers won by a dozen in Nashville. They played the rubber game in the series Saturday at Baylor’s Jimmy Duke Arena. The game was much closer than either of the first two, but the home team won again as Baylor improved to 18-6 with the closer-than-it-sounds ... (click for more)

Cookeville Shocks Cleveland, 70-68, In Region 3-3A Tournament

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – As a No. 1 seed, Cleveland had reason to feel comfortable going into Saturday’s Region 3-3A boys’ basketball tournament against No. 4 Cookeville. However, the Cavaliers figured they were the Blue Raiders’ equal. And they were. Cookeville overcame a sluggish start and then took the battle to Cleveland over the final three quarters, Noah Hilliker ... (click for more)