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Local

City considers pursuing Safe Routes to School grant

DIXON – The city is looking at pursuing a Safe Routes to School grant to improve the crossing at Division Street and South Galena Avenue, but it would need a partner to afford a grant writer to apply for it.

City Manager Danny Langloss told the City Council last week that there are a lot of “near misses” in that area, which has student foot traffic from Reagan Middle School and Madison Elementary School.

“It’s never going to be the best place to cross, but it’s one where they’re always going to cross,” he said.

The federal Safe Routes to School program reimburses projects that aim to make areas more walk- or bike-friendly for students to and from school, and funds are administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Langloss said they don’t have enough budgeted to hire their grant writer, Greg Gates, executive director of the Lee-Ogle Transportation System, to apply for the grant and suggested partnering with the School District for the cost, which varies depending on how much work and time is put into it.

This year’s grant writer funds were put toward applying for a U.S. Department of Transportation’s Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development, or BUILD grant, for a $12.5 million project to build a pedestrian bridge across the river and extend the city bike path.

The City Council discussed Safe Routes to School grants about 3 years ago, focusing on West Graham Street sidewalks near Jefferson Elementary School, but the project details kept changing.

Examples of eligible projects include sidewalk improvements, traffic calming/speed reduction improvements, traffic control devices, pedestrian and bicycle crossing improvements, on-street bicycle facilities, off-street bicycle facilities, and secure bicycle parking facilities.

The grant application period runs from Sept. 24 to Nov. 19, and selected projects would be announced in March.

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