For Immediate Release - October 08, 2010

PATRICK-MURRAY ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES SCHOOL SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS IN SCITUATE

$500,000 MassDOT Safe Routes to Schools Safety Project Partners with Hatherly Elementary School to Improve Hollett Street Sidewalks

SCITUATE - Friday, October 8, 2010 - As part of the Patrick-Murray Administration's continuing efforts to invest in cities and towns and enhance public safety, Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray today announced a $500,000 grant from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation's (MassDOT) Massachusetts Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program that will identify, program, and begin design of sidewalk improvements along Hollett Street in Scituate. Hatherly Elementary School has partnered with the state on the project.

Lieutenant Governor Murray also joined students, parents, and city and state officials for a roundtable discussion about how the Massachusetts SRTS program promotes healthy alternatives for children and parents by encouraging them to walk or bike to and from school.

"The Hatherly Elementary School project is a great example of how collaboration, ingenuity, and hard work can result in real positive change, not just to the roads and sidewalks around the school, but to the health and education of our students," said Governor Deval Patrick.

"Through the Safe Routes to School Program, our Administration is able to leverage funding that will improve our transportation infrastructure and also the safety of our students as they travel to and from school," said Lieutenant Governor Murray. "We are pleased to collaborate with the Town of Scituate for this project, and look forward to building a stronger and more vibrant community for the town."

As part of the SRTS program, the sidewalk improvement project includes the construction of approximately 2,800 feet of sidewalk along Hollett Street with a 5-foot wide asphalt walking surface, new granite curbing, crosswalks, pedestrian warning signs, drainage improvements and accessible ramp upgrades. In addition to these improvements, the town is also completing water line upgrades, a new roadway surface and new markings.

"MassDOT's Safe Routes to School Program is an important part of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor's commitment to healthy transportation options, with the result being better educated students and parents, safer roads for bicyclists and pedestrians, and a healthier community overall," said MassDOT Secretary Jeffrey Mullan.

The Commonwealth's SRTS Program works with students, parents, school staff, and local police in over 100 Massachusetts communities and more than 300 schools to promote walking and bicycling to school. This program seeks to improve students' health, reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality in Massachusetts communities.

The Patrick-Murray Administration, through MassDOT, has engaged an on-call team of school engineers, planners and bicycle/pedestrian experts to plan, design and construct targeted infrastructure improvements that enhance access to the Commonwealth's elementary and middle schools. These school access experts analyze current travel patterns and conditions, identify safety problems, and work with school officials, parents, and community leaders to design and construct solutions developed to reduce traffic speeds and improve pedestrian and bicycle access to schools. In addition to the improvements on Hollett Street, MassDOT has worked with other improvement projects entering construction, design or planning and engineering assessments.

"The Scituate School system should be commended for its emphasis on healthy decisions and activities by its student population," said Representative James Cantwell. "This grant of $500,000 will ensure that generations of students are able to have good habits by exercising and walking to the Hatherly School in a safe manner. I'm excited to be welcoming the Lt Governor for the announcement of this grant -- especially during 'Walk to School Month.'"

"I thank the Safe Routes to School program for their generous grant which will provide for much needed repairs on the sidewalks around Scituate schools. The repair of these sidewalks will encourage more students to walk or bicycle to school, and will increase pedestrian safety and eliminate traffic congestion," said Representative Garrett Bradley.

The Safe Routes to School program is also a key component of the Healthy Transportation Compact, an initiative of the Patrick-Murray Administration's historic transportation reform that promotes collaboration between the departments of transportation and public health to adopt best practices, increase efficiency, and achieve positive health outcomes through the coordination of land use, transportation, and public health policy. Safe Routes to School enables direct collaboration between the Commonwealth and schools and communities to promote walking and bicycling transportation as fun, safe, and sustainable.

Safe Routes to School is federally-funded and administered by the Mass RIDES travel options program on behalf of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. To find out how your school can participate, contact Jennifer Solomon at jennifer.solomon@state.ma.us or visit www.mass.gov/massdot/saferoutes.

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