Safe Routes to School Program

National Center for Safe Routes to School (SRTS):  Safe Routes to School programs enable community leaders, schools and parents across the United States to improve safety and encourage more children, including children with disabilities, to safely walk and bicycle to school. In the process, programs are working to reduce traffic congestion and improve health and the environment, making communities more livable for everyone.

Alaska Safe Routes to School (SRTS): This program is designed to address safety, health and transportation considerations in the vicinity of Elementary and Middle schools (K-8) in Alaska. Thirty years ago, more than 66 percent of all children in America walked to school. Today, the number of American children who walk or bike to school has dramatically fallen to a mere 13 percent. Why are the majority of students riding a bus or being transported by car? Student safety concerns and America’s increased dependence upon vehicle transportation have led to the significant decline of student walkers and bikers. Recent research indicates that 20-25 percent of morning traffic is a result of parents driving their children to school. The increased traffic has added to existing congestion problems and has created an unsafe walking and biking environment for students.

Children need physical activity to help their muscle, circulation, respiratory and immune system functioning. There are many measurable advantages for students who walk or bike to school. The added physical activity to a student’s day will help prevent obesity, promote a healthy lifestyle and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. The increased physical activity elevates the likelihood that children will grow into adults who lead active lifestyles, reducing their risk of health complications due to a sedentary lifestyle. Furthermore, minimizing the number of vehicles in the vicinity of schools will reduce air and noise pollution, and create a safer environment for pedestrians and bicyclists.

This program is a Federal Highway Administration program funded through SAFETEA-LU, SEC 1404. As such it makes reimbursable grants available to schools and communities to help address planning, design and construction improvements in the vicinity of schools.

FMATS SRTS Project

This phase of the FMATS SRTS programmed examined the existing conditions surrounding the elementary and middle schools within the FMATS boundaries. Recommendations were developed to improve safety and reduce congestion near the schools and maps delineating the safer routes were also created. Toolkits were provided to participating schools which included educational and encouragement resources for promoting safer walking and biking to school. It included safety information for bicyclists and pedestrians and tools for planning educational events.

Since the completion of this planning document, the City of Fairbanks applied for, and was awarded, two infrastructure grants for improvements to Nordale Elementary and Barnette Magnet Schools.  Fairbanks North Star Borough applied an infrastructure grant for Woodriver Elementary School in the last round of applications.

Final Report

The final report includes an executive summary, engineering recommendations for each school, and supporting appendices.  Links to the each section of the final report is linked below.

Executive Summary

Anne Wien Elementary School & Randy Smith Middle School
Arctic Light Elementary School
Badger Elementary School
Barnette Magnet School
Denali Elementary School
Hunter Elementary School
Joy Elementary School
Ladd Elementary School and Tanana Middle School
Nordale Elementary School
North Pole Elementary School
North Pole Middle School
Pearl Creek Elementary School
Ryan Middle School
Ticasuk Brown Elementary School
University Park Elementary School
Woodriver Elementary School

Fairbanks Area SRTS Appendix A: Parent Surveys
Fairbanks Area SRTS Appendix B: Student Tallies
FMATS Safer Routes Maps