In August 2000, the Marin County Bicycle Coalition was funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to participate in a Safe Routes to School pilot program. Congressman James Oberstar, then the ranking Democrat of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, endorsed the program as a means to reduce traffic congestion around schools and promote healthy alternatives to driving.
The initial program included nine elementary schools throughout the county. Marin Country’s comprehensive program has education programs, encouragement activities, safety enforcement and infrastructure plans. The program has grade-appropriate safety education curriculum for elementary, middle and high school students. Encouragement activities include contests that provide frequent bicyclist/pedestrian cards that can be exchanged for rewards, raffle tickets and other prizes when they are completed.
The Crossing Guard Program is a new program established in the 2006 t0 2007 program in Marin County. Through a contractor, reliable crossing guards are hired to work throughout Marin County. Currently, there are 51 crossing guards working at crucial intersections, but a total of 70 guards will be hired to help children to cross the street. These are augmented by additional crossing guards provided by the school district. There are numerous safe routes related infrastructure projects completed or under construction in Marin County. One such recently completed project was the installation of a pedestrian creek bridge used by a large number of children to get to school.
Funds for infrastructure in Marin County come from local jurisdictions, as well as from state and federal funds. In 2004, the voters of Marin County passed a one-half cent sales tax for transportation, which included 11 percent, or $36 million, in funding over the course of 20 years for SRTS. The Transportation Authority of Marin County now manages the program through a contract with Parisi and Associates and the Marin County Bicycle Coalition.
Since the program began, Marin County has experienced a 13 percent decrease in traffic around schools and has grown from the original nine schools to 49 schools. The program’s goal, set for the end of the 2007 to 2008 school year, is to involve all of the county’s elementary and middle schools with SRTS activities.
Safe Routes to Schools Program Director
Phone: (415) 488-4101