Grant to fund safe routes to schools in Manhattan Beach

The California Department of Transportation has awarded Manhattan Beach with a $447,700 grant to build safe routes to local schools. The safe routes program aims to reduce injuries to schoolchildren and to encourage walking and bicycling among students.

“Safety of the children is paramount, and we want to do everything we can to identify solutions with traffic engineering that will make their commutes to school safer,” said City Manager Dave Carmany.

Out of 336 applications submitted statewide, Manhattan Beach was one of 139 projects selected.

Manhattan Beach will contribute $50,000 from its capital improvement fund toward the $500,000 in improvements, according to a city staff report.

This California Cycle 10 Safe Routes to School program is separate from the federal Safe Routes to School program that granted the city $490,000 in October 2011. The federal grant went toward various improvements for pedestrians and cyclists.

The state grant will fund pedestrian facilities, traffic calming, traffic control devices, bicycle facilities, and public outreach and education. Improvements will be installed and constructed around American Martyrs, Grand View Elementary, Robinson Elementary, Pennekamp Elementary, Pacific Elementary, Meadows Elementary and Manhattan Beach Middle School.

The city worked closely with principals, PTA members and parents from each school when applying for the grant, according to a city staff report.

The city will install in-roadway lights at crosswalks where there are no stop or traffic signal controls. The lights are designed to help children cross streets before and after school. Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach and El Segundo already use this technology. “These devices were strongly requested by the school stakeholders as a means to enhance safety for pedestrians during arrival and dismissal periods,” according to the staff report.

Other improvements include installing red flashing lights on existing stop signs at school crosswalks, installing flexible traffic cones to guide drivers in areas with high foot traffic, constructing curb extensions to facilitate large groups to cross at an intersection, installing bike racks at schools and increasing signage around schools.

The city expects to complete the improvements by December 31, 2013.

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Written by: Easy Reader Staff

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