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Beloit Turner seeking safe routes to school

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ANN MARIE AMES
April 29, 2010
— Walking or riding a bike to school can be a convenient way for kids to get exercise.

But that convenience goes out the window when there are no sidewalks in sight.


Families in the Turner School District can expect to see plans for paths and sidewalks near Powers Elementary School on Hillside Avenue and the middle/high school complex on Inman Parkway.


That would be a big change for the district, Town Administrator Bob Museus said.


“Most of our residential community is within walking distance of the schools, but we have no sidewalks within two miles of Powers and the middle school,” Museus said.


The town of Beloit has hired Beloit engineering company R.H. Batterman to study the routes students use to get to school. The town will pay up to $10,000 for the study and use the information to apply for federal grant money for construction, Museus said.


The study is part of the federal Safe Routes to School program, which the Wisconsin Department of Transportation administers. The program is geared at encouraging elementary and middle school students to walk to school.


In the Turner School District, high school students would benefit as well, since the middle and high schools share a campus.


Batterman spokesman Ryan Garcia said he is seeking volunteers to monitor routes to school during peak traffic hours. Volunteers may observe the street or streets they choose, Garcia said.


The motivation behind the grant program is to find ways for students to get safe exercise on the way to and from school, Garcia said.


Planners will plan not only for physical routes to school, they will look to address concerns such as stranger danger, Garcia said.


“The district seems to be addressing ways to get kids to be more open to walking and biking,” Garcia said. “Not only to make it safer, but to make it more enjoyable.”


TO VOLUNTEER

R.H. Batterman & Co. is studying the routes students use to walk or bike to school in the Turner School District.


The district and the town of Beloit are seeking volunteers to monitor routes during high-traffic periods. Volunteers would be asked to make note of conditions such as traffic speed and patterns and the amount of space available for pedestrians.


To volunteer, call Ryan Garcia at (608) 365-4464 or e-mail rgarcia@rhbatterman.com.
To learn more about the Safe Routes to School program, visit dot.wisconsin.gov. From the home page, click on “Programs for local gov’t.” The Safe Routes program is listed under “other aid.”

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