The City of Billings received a grant from the Montana Safe Routes to School Program to complete a planning study on elementary school routes in Billings. Eleven elementary schools will be included in the current study.The remaining eleven elementary schools have been included in a second grant application that is currently pending.The City retained the services of Sanderson Stewart, a local consulting engineering firm, to help complete this study.The Study has also used the services of the Billings Police Department volunteers to conduct field inventories of traffic signing and missing sidewalks around each of the schools.
The overriding goal of Safe Routes to School efforts is to make bicycling and walking to school safer and more convenient.Although this specific study will address some general big-picture issues related to Safe Routes to School, it will focus primarily on the infrastructure improvements (sidewalk, crosswalk, parking/loading zone improvements, etc.) that will improve the safety of children traveling to and from school.
The study will produce recommended walking route maps for each of the schools covered by the study, and develop a list of short, intermediate, and long range infrastructure projects that can be implemented to encourage children to walk or ride their bikes to school. The final phase I study report (first 11 schools) is expected to be complete by July 1, 2010.
The City received a second grant from the Montana Safe Routes to School program administered by the Montana Department of Transportation to study the remaining eleven public elementary schools in Billings. Work on the Phase 2 study will begin in the fall of 2010 and cover Alkali Creek, Big Sky, Broadwater, Burlington, Central Heights, Highland, McKinley, Miles Avenue, Orchard, Rose Park, and Sandstone elementary schools. The phase 2 study is expected to be complete by July 2011. The State SRTS grant is being supplemented by local school district funds to complete the phase 2 study.