Safe Routes Snapshots: Chula Vista, California

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Chula Vista to use all E's for SRTS program

The City of Chula Vista was awarded a federal SRTS grant for $621,000 from California DOT for infrastructure improvements. The Chula Vista Elementary School District (CVESD) also received a grant for $499,000 in federal SRTS funds from California DOT that will be used for a coordinated non-infrastructure program.

Otay and Rice Elementary were the two schools selected to receive money from these grants because demonstration walking audits had been completed for the areas and the two schools had obvious needs for infrastructure improvements that could be enhanced with a non-infrastructure component. The non-infrastructure SRTS grant money will be used for a two-year project that will be directed at Otay and Rice Elementary Schools for the first year and expanded to an additional 15 schools the second year.

The non-infrastructure grant money will allow the CVESD to establish task forces at each school to organize events such as Walking School Buses and Walk to School Days. A bi-lingual campaign will begin in the 2007/2008 school year, where Community Health workers ("Promotoras") will take the message of SRTS programs, incentives, evaluations, and Parent Safety Patrols, into homes, parks, churches, laundromats, and other communal areas with the goal of increasing walking and biking to school by 10%.

The funds will also go towards walking and biking education programs that the teachers will integrate into their everyday lesson plans. Some example lessons that will be used are: learning how to calculate the number of steps they have walked in math class or the different transportation choices in social studies.

Enforcement improvements around the schools will include special enforcement efforts and the help of School Resource Officers to start and run Parent Safety Patrol program.

The infrastructure improvements around Otay and Rice Elementary Schools will occur within 1/4 mile buffers of the school. The improvements will include an offset median, curb extensions, setback limit lines, enhanced striping, prominent crosswalk zebra striping, ADA-complaint pedestrian ramps and non-slip sidewalk grating. Potential driver/pedestrian conflicts will be reduced with crosswalk enhancements and the addition of flashing yellow beacons and School Zone warning signs.

The Chula Vista Elementary School District anticipates that by the end of the 2 year grant period, walking and biking to school will increase from 10 percent at the two initial elementary schools and traffic volumes and childhood obesity will decreased at participating schools.