January 26, 2023

Whole Community News

From Kalapuya lands in the Willamette watershed

Awbrey Park Elementary among recommended Safe Routes

3 min read
The Oregon Transportation Commission will consider Jan. 12 whether to approve $318,879 for safe routes to Awbrey Park Elementary.

from Heidi Manlove and LeeAnne Fergason, Oregon Safe Routes to Schools program

We are excited to share that the Safe Routes to School Advisory Committee recommends funding 26 projects totaling $32.4 million for ODOT’s Safe Routes to School Competitive Construction Grant Program.

These funds will focus on under-resourced communities and safety. The recommendation includes $318,879 for construction of lighting and walkway for students at Awbrey Park Elementary School in Eugene.

This list now goes to the Oregon Transportation Commission for consideration at its Jan. 12 meeting.

The committee and staff put in over 100 hours reviewing and evaluating potential projects using the scoring criteria and priorities determined by the committee in early 2022.

In August 2022, ODOT received 83 applications from across the state for the SRTS Competitive Construction Grant Program totaling $80 million in needed safety improvements.

The Safe Routes to School Advisory Committee met on November 17 and approved a recommended project list for the Safe Routes to School Construction Competitive Grant Program for the Oregon Transportation Commission’s consideration at its January 12 meeting.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What was the competitive program’s selection process and participation by the Safe Routes to School Advisory Committee?

A: Committee members approved the application analysis procedure in November 2021 based on their previously agreed safety, equity and readiness criteria and scoring weights. ODOT staff reviewed applications according to the analysis procedure and identified an initial list of projects as follows:

  • those with the highest safety risk;
  • those that addressed barriers for students at low-income schools; and
  • those that had a high probability of project completion within five years.

ODOT staff next completed a ground conditions review for the top projects. The SRAC reviewed all applications recommended the top scoring applications.

Q: What happens next?

Jan. 12, 2023: Oregon Transportation Commission reviews SRAC recommendations for discussion and decision-making. OTC meeting materials will be available two weeks before the meeting.

Jan. 24, 2023: Staff hosts an online meeting from 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. to review the project selection process. Please register in advance for the meeting.

Q: Is there an appeal process for applicants?

A: Yes. Because ODOT’s Safe Routes to School Construction Program is located in ODOT’s Public Transportation Division, an applicant may email a letter before Jan. 31, 2023 describing the appeal to Public Transportation Division Administrator Karyn Criswell: Karyn.C.Criswell@odot.state.or.us.

Q: How can the public engage in the process?

A: All SRAC meetings are open to the public with time allotted at the beginning for public comment. These meetings will be virtual, using the Zoom platform, until further notice.

Formed in August 2018, the Safe Routes to School Advisory Committee advises ODOT in program policy and recommendations for funding allocation for both the Safe Routes to School Infrastructure Program and Non-infrastructure Program. The Safe Routes to School Fund is guided by OAR 737-025, created in 2005 for federal SRTS funding. The rule was updated in 2018 due to an increase in construction funds from HB 2017 for Safe Routes to School infrastructure and again in 2020 to increase access to the funds. More information is available on the SRAC website.

All meetings of the SRAC are open to the public; accommodations, such as material in alternate formats, can be provided. Please call 503-910-8994 or statewide relay at 7-1-1 if you need accommodations.

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