Thompson Collaborates To Support Safe Routes To School Initiative

Antoine M Thompson

August 30, 2007

Buffalo, NY- On Friday, August 31st at 11:00am, Antoine M. Thompson, New York State Senator, 60th District (Parts of Erie & Niagara Counties), in conjunction with the City of Buffalo Wellness Institute will host a press conference on Safe Routes to School at Thompson’s Buffalo District Office located at 65 Court St in downtown Buffalo.

Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is a federally funded program geared at developing strategies to improve safety and reduce traffic congestion, fuel consumption, and air pollution in the vicinity of schools. It also encourages children, including those with disabilities, to pursue alternative forms of transportation to school, including walking and bicycling. The goal is to promote an active and healthy lifestyle for youth from an early age. Thompson mentioned childhood obesity and asthma as health issues that need addressing as asthma has increased by 74 percent among children ages 5-14, and by 160 percent for children under age 4 throughout the country in the last 25 years.

The program originated as a successful initiative in Demark during the 1970’s and quickly spread internationally through Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States.

More than $32 million has been appropriated for New York State’s Department of Transportation (DOT) to administer for the five (5) year life of the bill. Funding to states across the country varies based upon size and potential number of schools to be served.

“The Safe Routes to Schools program can be beneficial from so many perspectives... Improving our children’s health and wellness, reducing environmental pollution, better traffic enforcement around schools, and infrastructure (sidewalk and street) improvements. Young students are the backbone of our region’s future; we must help them connect the dots between education, personal health, and the environment,” stated Senator Thompson.

WHO: NYS Senator Antoine M. Thompson, 60th District; City of Buffalo Wellness Institute;

WHAT:  Announcing Safe Routes to School Initiative

WHERE: Mahoney State Office Building, 65 Court St.     

WHEN:  Friday, August 31, 2007 at 11:00am
WHY: To request that Governor Spitzer and the NYS DOT release aid so that municipalities can apply for funding.