After applying for a grant through the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), the city of Newberg announced last week that it had received $122,000 to renovate the route to Edwards Elementary School with the goal of making it safer.
According to a press release from the city, the grant will fund renovations that aim to "improve the safety of students and reduce barriers for students walking and biking to school." The route needed renovation in the city and community's view, and the plan was drafted last summer.
The city collaborated with the Newberg School District, Yamhill County, ODOT and other community members to write the plan, at least in its first phase. Phase 2 of crafting the plan will occur once students return to school. At that time, the district and city will "observe traffic patterns and issues when students arrive to and leave school," according to the release.
Scoping and planning, the city says, will last through mid-August, with final plans and contracts in place by early 2022. The final goal is to have the project completed by the summer of 2022.
"Overall, there were 99 Safe Routes to School applications, and they all addressed barriers to students walking and biking with needed safety improvements," LeeAnne Fergason, ODOT Safe Routes to School Infrastructure Program Manager, said in the press release. "The awarded funds will focus on Title I (low-income) schools and, of course, locations with the greatest safety needs."
The Safe Routes to School program exists in Oregon to improve the routes to schools in typically low-income neighborhoods, making it easier for students to walk or bike to school and reducing emissions. This also encourages physical activity while also removing some of the economic barriers to a student's transportation to a school setting.
"The Edwards Elementary Safe Routes to School Plan includes the construction of pedestrian crossing signs, stop signs, curb ramps, crosswalk marking and adding missing sidewalks for students of Edwards Elementary," the city's press release said. "The grant funds the installation of pedestrian crossing signs along East Sixth Street, stop signs at East Sixth Street and South River Street, construction of curb ramps along East Sixth Street, South Blaine Street and South River Street, and fillings gaps in sidewalks along South Blaine Street. These improvements will not only make a safer path to Edwards Elementary, but will also increase walkability in the neighborhoods, giving families and individuals a safer route to downtown Newberg."
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.