Valley City Seeks Grants For Safe School Routes

Valley City is seeking about $230,000 in grants to improve safety for kids going to and from school.
Engineer Chad Petersen of Valley City Engineering Firm KLJ, said Thursday KLJ is working with the city, the Valley City School District and the Valley City Parks and Recreation District on getting funding from the Safe Routes to School and Transportation Alternatives Program.
Petersen said the safe routes program is abbreviated as SRTS and the other program is usually called TAP.
For the SRTS program, Petersen said officials are looking at improving school safety at the intersection of Fifth Street and Central Avenue, at the northeast corner of the junior- senior high school building. “A lot of kids cross the street there, and buses pick up and drop off kids there.”
Being sought for the project is a $80,000 grant work work estimated to cost $100,000.
Petersen said traffic counts were taken at the intersection last fall “to see if it warranted a four-way stop,” but results showed there was not enough traffic.
Petersen said other possibilities for making the intersection safer for students include “maybe flashing beacons like at Washington and Jefferson elementary schools with reduced 20 mile per hour speeds when they are flashing.” Petersen said a 20 mph speed limit could also make bus access easier. He also said radar driven speed detectors showing approaching drivers exactly how fast they are traveling could help decrease driving speeds. Such detectors will soon be installed near both the Washington and Jefferson elementary schools, paid for with the help of a previous SRTS grant.
Valley City is also asking for $150,000 in grants for work estimated to cost $225,000 under the TAP Program.
Petersen said the city is looking for TAP funding to pay for a shared use path on Ninth Avenue Northeast from Central Avenue East to Fifth Avenue Northeast. The route now includes a truck route and bike path, completed in 2005. Petersen said the street includes a number of facilities school age youngsters travel to. The 10-foot-wide shared used path would be shared by bicyclists and pedestrians, Petersen said.
Grant funds for both programs come from the U.S. Government, and are administered by the state of North Dakota. Petersen said on average, “four, five or six projects are selected for funding each year.”