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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Safe Routes 2 School

Yesterday, I attended the annual meeting for the Michigan Safe Routes 2 School Program, also called SR2S.  The meeting was at the Michigan State Police Academy, which was a treat to visit.  At the Academy, they have many displays showing the history and success of our the State Police and the Academy.  Hats off to our State Police!

The SR2S annual meeting provided a series of presentations from various officials to help communities successful participate in the SR2S program.  The purpose of this program is to "assist communities in enabling and encouraging children to safely walk and bike to school." 

Rogers City has participated in this program since July 2007; unfortunately, our progress has been slow due to many factors beyond our control.  We have had good local support and participation from the Rogers City Area School District (RCASD), city staff, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), our community champions (Melissa Stieger, James Hopp, and Art Ross), parents, and our many wonderful school students.

We have gathered a great deal of information from parents and students, and our SR2S Team has done some good action planning.  We have held several "Walk to School Days."  We have held many meetings. Our SR2S Team is focasing on two primary ideas: encouragement to walk/bike and building physical route connections. The encouragement is needed because, frankly, it is easier to go via car or bus than it is to walk or ride a bicycle. The route connections are needed because there are major gaps in the routes, making the commonly used paths unsafe.  There are three key links that need to be built: from Hilltop Manor to the apartments on Wenonah, Huron Avenue near the school parking lot entrance, and State Street to Huron Avenue.

Our community has a long way to go to accomplish all these and other worthy SR2S goals.  We need your help to accomplish the goal of encouraging youth to lead a healthy, physically active life.  Please, contact me to get involved.

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