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


Quit Romanticizing And Validating Illegals

There is more and more in the news these days regarding the so-called "dreamers" which consist of children of illegal immigrants (many of whom are not children but actually adult age illegals). This conversation comes as focus is placed on the immigration views and policies expressed by President-elect Trump. I think it is high-time that we seriously looked at the issues and ... (click for more)

Roy Couldn't Possibly Be More Wrong

Spreading false information isn't only harmful, as we've been made aware recently. The spread of false information can be outright dangerous.   Calling himself a Christian and all, Roy truly disappoints on so many levels with his recently opinion piece about black students attending predominately white schools being the cause of so much problems and grief at those schools. ... (click for more)

County Schools Prepare To Set Priorities For Next Round Of School Building Funding

County school board members are gearing up to set priorities for the next round of new school construction in Hamilton County. Lee McDade, assistant superintendent, said officials may know by the spring how much money will be available to build new schools or add on to existing ones - or do a combination of both. Board member Rhonda Thurman said a proposal to build a new Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Walker County Will No Longer Have Full-Time County Attorney Under Whitfield Tenure; Will Add Full-Time Communications Director

Incoming Walker County Sole Commissioner Shannon Whitfield said under his administration there will no longer be a full-time county attorney. "We will outsource this service on a fee basis," he said. Mr. Whitfield said he has begun interviewing attorneys who might be able to help out the county from time to time. Don Oliver has long been the county attorney for Walker County ... (click for more)

Hixson's Courtney Jones Headed To Hiwassee

Courtney Jones is almost finished with one important segment of her life and she's not wasting any time getting on with the next part. Jones is currently a senior at Hixson High School, but she will graduate next week and heading to Madisonville where she will be playing volleyball at the college level for the Hiwassee Lady Tigers. Jones has been an integral part of Hixson's ... (click for more)

UTC Football: Mocs Have Three All-Americans

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team put three individuals on the first All-American squad announced this postseason.  Seniors Corey Levin and Keionta Davis   and junior Jacob Revis   are all a part of the   College Sports Madness FCS All-American team . Levin is making his second straight appearance on CSM's first team.  The ... (click for more)