"Safe Routes to School" program makes student’s commute safer

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(ABC 6 News) – The Minnesota Department of Transportation is awarding more than $8 million to help make it safer for students to walk and bike to school.

"Safe routes to school" is an international program to help improve safety and reduce traffic congestion around schools. The money will go to planning assistance grants, boosting existing local programs and infrastructure including adding sidewalks, trails, crosswalk markings and other traffic control devices.

"It is important we got a lot of infrastructure to maintain like every other city in the state and to be able to find some funds to do these important projects that really help. It helps our community overall," Jay Owens, Red Wing’s city engineer, said.

The city of Red Wing received $240,000 for infrastructure and the city of Hayfield received money for planning assistance.

Rochester Public Schools also received $34,000 for a bike education program.

"The main thing is to teach them the skills when they are younger in hopes that it will eventually lead to them actually using that skill in the future and biking or walking to school," Dustin Murrow, RPS’s safe routes to school coordinator, said.

RPS is just beginning the process and is working with a local bike shop to get some quotes before beginning the bike program.