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Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn walks to Highland Park Elementary with students and parents in 2012.

SDOT accepting 'mini-grant' applications to encourage biking and walking to school

Seattle’s Department of Transportation is offering up to $1000 in “mini-grants” for projects aimed at educating students on pedestrian and bicycle safety and/or encouraging them to walk or bike to class.

Here are the details from SDOT’s Marybeth Turner:

Safe routes to school mini-grants available for Seattle schools

SEATTLE – In October, during International Walk to School month, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is accepting applications for mini-grants of up to $1,000 to fund projects that educate students about pedestrian and bicycle safety, and encourage walking and biking to school. Private and public schools, PTAs and other school-related nonprofit groups may apply. The activities must support the overall goal of educating about safety and encouraging more walking and bicycling to school.

Mini-grants have helped schools start student safety patrols, attentive-driving programs, anti-idling campaigns, as well as bike safety education programs. Last year, Loyal Heights Elementary created an eight-week urban cycling club to teach fourth and fifth grade students bike safety and practice bicycling skills on neighborhood streets. McDonald Elementary School purchased safety supplies, including safety vests and flags, for their walking school buses. Mercer Middle School brought an Undriver Licensing Station to school for students who choose to walk and bike to school.

In previous years, schools have used their mini-grant to purchase safety patrol equipment and start a new student safety patrol program, to make traffic circulation changes on school property that increased safety for students walking and biking to school, and to start a peer-education bicycle safety program. Mini-grant funds can even support creative classroom activities that explore the benefits of walking and biking to school. Ballard High School students used a mini- grant to produce a documentary film about the Seattle Bicycle Music Festival.

International Walk to School Month is held in October of each year. This event, which is held in more than 40 countries, gives children, parents, school teachers and community leaders an opportunity to be part of a global happening as they celebrate the many benefits of walking. For more information about International Walk to School Day, visit http://www.walkbiketoschool.org .

How to Apply for a Mini Grant
For more information and to apply for a Mini Grant, visit www.cityofseattle.net/transportation/ped_srts_grant.htm. In addition to the application, a letter of support from the school principal must be e-mailed or mailed by the application due date. For questions, contact Ashley Harris at ashley.harris@seattle.gov. Completed applications are due by the close of business Oct. 25, 2013 and recipients will be announced by Dec. 6, 2013.

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