COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

 

AGENDA TITLE:

Safe Routes To School Program Grant

 

 

SUBJECT/PROPOSAL/REQUEST:

Status Report on the County’s Safe Route to School Program grant applications

 

 

STAFF CONTACT(S):

Tucker, Foley, Graham, Benish, Wade

 

LEGAL REVIEW:   Yes

 

 

AGENDA DATE:

April 4, 2007

 

ACTION:                            INFORMATION: 

 

CONSENT AGENDA:

       ACTION:                     INFORMATION:  X

 

 

ATTACHMENTS:   Yes

 

 

REVIEWED BY:

 

 

 

BACKGROUND:

In order to capitalize on the funding opportunity created by the recent Safe Routes to School allocation in the Federal Transportation Bill (SAFETEA-LU), County staff and the Alliance for Community Choice in Transportation (ACCT) are partnering to submit two grants to VDOT.  The Safe Routes to School Program is a federal-aid program of the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Virginia’s portion of the SRTS program is approximately $13.5 million over five federal fiscal years (2005-2009) and is to be administered by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT). 

The Safe Routes to School Program provides funds to improve the ability of primary and middle school students to walk and bicycle to school safely. Specifically, the goal of the program is:

The County, with the assistance of ACCT, has applied for a Safe Route to School construction grant to fund sidewalk/walkway/crosswalk improvements in Crozet to improve pedestrian access to Crozet Elementary School.   ACCT has also applied for a program planning grant to fund the development of an overall Safe Routes to School Plan for pedestrian/bike access improvements to elementary and middle schools in the County.  ACCT has also submitted a similar program planning grant for City elementary and middle schools (improvements related to high schools are not eligible for this program).  A Safe Routes to School Plan will need to be in place for localities/schools as a requirement for any future construction/infrastructure grants after this year.  So that Albemarle County may be able to apply for future infrastructure grants through the Safe Routes program at VDOT, ACCT proposes to create a comprehensive Safe Routes to School Plan for Albemarle County schools.

 

 

STRATEGIC PLAN:

Goal 3:  Develop Policies and Infrastructure Improvements to Address the County’s Growing Needs.

 

 

DISCUSSION:

The Crozet Elementary School construction grant proposes the following improvements (see attached map):

 

If approved, a more detailed study and design of these improvements will be conducted. These improvements received support from the principal of Crozet Elementary School, the Superintendent of Albemarle County Schools and the former Chair of the Board of Supervisors (Dennis Rooker).  The estimated cost for the improvements listed above is $578,000. The maximum amount of the grant is $500,000. County funding has previously been allocated in the CIP for neighborhood and sidewalk improvements in Crozet which was intended to cover some of the improvements proposed in the grant application (and noted above).  If the grant is approved, staff will utilize those previously allocated funds to make up the difference in the grant amount.  However, there is no requirement for a local match (either dollar or in-kind) with this grant program.

 

The County had originally planned to submit two applications for construction projects, but only submitted one in this round for Crozet Elementary School. The application to create a trail from Baker-Butler Elementary School to the south to the Forest Lakes area was not submitted because it was determined that planning and design of the project was not far enough along to make for a competitive application.  An application for this project may be submitted in the next round of applications, next year.  

 

The program planning grant application submitted by ACCT is to develop an overall Safe Routes to School Plan for pedestrian and bicycle access related improvements and programs for elementary and middle schools in the County.  ACCT will collect data from parents, students, neighbors, and traffic studies to prioritize pedestrian and bicycle improvements.  The initial focus of its planning efforts will be for areas near Cale, Baker-Butler, Woodbrook, Agnor-Hurt, Crozet, Hollymead (and possibly Stone Robinson) schools.  These schools are the priority locations because pedestrian/bike improvements near these schools will have the most significant possible effect on the student’s ability to walk and bike safely to school.  ACCT has requested $25,000 for this work.  ACCT staff will work closely with the County Planning Division and School staff in the development of the Plan.

 

Staff worked closely with Alliance for Community Choice in Transportation (ACCT) to complete both the construction and program planning grant applications. ACCT arranged for an intern to assist County staff in the project development.  Additionally, ACCT is planning to submit a separate application for Safe Route to School that will allow ACCT to develop a County wide Safe Routes To School Plan.

 

VDOT will inform staff in the Spring (mid April/May) if the construction grant and the ACCT program planning grant applications are approved. If awarded, the grant funds will not be available until January 2008.

 

BUDGET IMPACT:

This grant does not require a dollar, or in-kind service, match. The grant program provides an opportunity to obtain additional funds not previously available to the County to support improvements recommended in the County Comprehensive Plan and Crozet Master Plan.   It is anticipated that existing, programmed CIP Sidewalk Projects funds and/or Neighborhood Plan Implementation Program funds will be used to supplement the grant funding, if awarded.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS:

This update is provided for information only. No action by the Board is required at this time.  If the grant application is approved by VDOT, a resolution adopted by the Board of Supervisors to support and participate in the program will be required.

 

ATTACHMENTS

Location Map with List of Proposed Improvements
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