West Virginia: Safe Routes West Virginia

Introduction

The West Virginia Safe Routes to School (WV-SRTS) program accomplished many goals during the 2007 fiscal year. The first accomplishment and example of an innovative approach to managing the WV- SRTS program was the development and implementation of an eight-step annual cyclic grant process. The eight steps are: marketing the program, conducting WV-SRTS workshops and school visits, submitting intent to apply forms, submitting applications, reviewing the applications, recommending applicants to the commissioner and governor, announcing the WV-SRTS grant recipients and updating and improving the application manual and evaluation criteria. The improvement step is an important piece of the process because it utilizes customer-driven feedback and leads to the overall improvement of the program. This grant process led to the awarding of more than $774,000 in infrastructure funds and more than $97,000 in non- infrastructure funds to 16 elementary and middle schools in 2007.

Activities

The second major accomplishment, the creation of a WV-SRTS Resource Packet, educates potential grant applicants about the program. The packet is provided to any citizen inquiring about the WV-SRTS grant program. The third accomplishment occurred when the WV-SRTS coordinator worked with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection to obtain free “Idle-Free Zone” signs for the 16 WV- SRTS schools in order to reduce air pollutants near the schools.

WV-SRTS used many avenues to market and promote the program, including mailings, web materials, promotional items and information and education briefings. The program also used mass media to market the program through publications in newsletters, press releases and regular television spots on local channels. WV-SRTS visited schools, created a safety conscious planning workshop and utilized the SRTS National Course to promote the program and its resources to potential applicants.

Milestones

Some of the success of WV-SRTS can be contributed to the support the program receives from the government and the community. In 2006, the governor and the first lady announced their support of WV- SRTS by proclaiming the month of October as Walk to School Month. Also, representatives from FHWA WV Division and eight state government agencies serve on the Interagency WV-SRTS Application Review Board. Finally, WV-SRTS works with the communities of the 16 sponsored elementary and middle schools to implement, support and sustain the SRTS project and activity programs.

Contact

Rebecca A. Davison
West Virginia Division of Highways
1900 Kanawha Blvd. E
Bldg 5, Room 863 Charleston, WV 25305
rdavison@dot.state.wv.us