Caltrans Awards 'Safe Routes To School' Funding

South Bay and East County neighborhoods will receive a total of about $2.14 million for infrastructure and educational programs designed to help schoolchildren get to and from school safely, authorities announced Thursday.

The California Department of Transportation will disperse $45 million in outlays to fund 88 projects throughout the state as part of the Safe Routes to School program.

Among the San Diego-area efforts will be public information campaigns and street improvements -- including new road striping, bicycle lanes, warning lights, pedestrian ramps and signage -- in Chula Vista, the Winter Gardens area near El Cajon and various southeast San Diego locales.

"Safety is Caltrans' No. 1 priority, and nothing is more important than ensuring the health and safe passage of our children," Caltrans Director Will Kempton said.

California expects to receive $68 million in federal funding for Safe Routes to School over the program's five-year life span.

A total of 70 percent of those funds will go toward infrastructure projects, 20 percent will be allocated to awareness-raising endeavors such as faculty and student education, and 10 percent will be used to develop standardized training, promotional materials, curricula and other resources.

Safe Routes to School benefits children in grade school or middle school, according to Caltrans. The program's infrastructure improvements must be made within two miles of a school.

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