Grant helps provide safe routes to school
Submitted by City of Fruita -
Since the Fruita students returned from summer break, drivers around town have noticed the new solar powered flashing beacons approaching the school zones. The flashing beacons may be familiar to the residents who drive around the other School District 51 zones in Grand Junction.
The City of Fruita employed a contractor to install the solar powered flashers with funding from a Safe Routes to School Grant (SRTS), awarded to communities to improve safe access for children who walk and bike to school. The $63,200 SRTS grant was coordinated with Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). The balance of the $84,000 project was funded by the City of Fruita.
The Colorado Safe Routes to School program provides schools and community groups with the funding they need to put together a Safe Routes to School program. These improvements include safety education and promotion as well as engineering solutions to encourage children to get the exercise they need to lead happy, healthy lives.
Childhood obesity rates have more than tripled in the past 30 years while the number of children walking and biking to school has declined. According to the 2001 National Household Travel Survey, less than 16 percent of students between the ages of 5 and 15 walked or biked to or from school, compared to 42 percent in 1969. The Colorado Safe Routes to School funding will benefit local school children and encourage community Involvement in the Safe Routes to School effort.
The City of Fruita installed 14 flasher units around Shelledy Elementary School, Fruita Middle School, Rimrock Elementary School, Fruita 8-9 School, and Fruita Monument High School. The flasher units operate off the grid with the solar panels charging 12 volt deep-cycle batteries. A separate flasher control monitors the system’s voltage requirements at all times. The larger 12-inch flashers alert oncoming traffic and smaller 8-inch tattletale flashers warn drivers within the zones. These systems store enough voltage to operate several weeks in overcast conditions. A timer unit stores the schedule information for the entire school year and operates the LED flashers. The Fruita Public Works personnel can momentarily update each timer via a USB connection to a laptop computer.
And the flashers send highly visible warnings to drivers-the school zones are active.
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