Maine initiated its Safe Routes to School (ME-SRTS) programming after the development of the national program in 2005. Housed within Maine’s Department of Transportation (MaineDOT), ME-SRTS is an established program, which has thrived amid tight financial restraints. Despite these restraints, MaineDOT successfully secured a $200,000 state bond to supplement the national Safe Routes to School funding.
Since ME-SRTS inception, MaineDOT has provided more than $2 million for infrastructure projects in 22 communities. As a condition of receiving funding for infrastructure improvements, each school agrees to incorporate pedestrian and bicycle educational and encouragement program components. As a supplement of the infrastructure component of the ME-SRTS Program, MaineDOT also began instituting a complete streets policy in 2006. This policy ensures each highway project includes bicycle and pedestrian access by constructing sidewalks and shoulders where warranted.
In order to facilitate the application process, MaineDOT carefully worded applications to promote local efforts and emphasize programs that included infrastructure and encouragement components. In May 2006, the applications were finalized and made available to communities and schools. MaineDOT promotes the ME-SRTS program with a consistent message: It’s healthy, it’s fun, and it’s good for the environment. As recognition of participating in the program, community and school champions receive thank you packets containing a ME-SRTS canvas bag and a letter from the MaineDOT Commissioner.
MaineDOT partners with many organizations to enhance the program. The Department of Health includes Safe Routes to School components in the work plan of Healthy Maine Partnerships. A stakeholder group comprised of state agencies, law enforcement officers and health professionals advises MaineDOT on implementing a statewide program, identifying potential policies in need of improvement and sharing awareness campaigns to create a common vision. Finally, ME-SRTS partners with school districts, bicycle and pedestrian advocates, engineers and municipal governments to develop the momentum necessary to successfully create safer transportation systems for children.
Maine Department of Transportation
16 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04330