COLUMBUS — Norwalk and Plymouth will cash in as part of the $4 million ODOT “Safe Routes to School” campaign for 2008. It is intended to encourage schoolchildren to walk or bike to school instead of riding in buses or private vehicles.
ODOT will divide $1.2 million among 87 Ohio communities to develop School Travel Plans, a required outline of how those communities plan to promote walking or biking to school, according to information in a northwest Ohio newspaper.
Those allocations range between $6,000 and $24,000, and northwest Ohio recipients include Arcadia, Van Buren, Antwerp, Pandora, Delta, Wauseon, Napoleon, Swanton, Waterville, Haskins, Perrysburg, Norwalk and Plymouth; the Hicksville school district, the Henry County Health Department, the Van Wert Park District, and German and Clinton townships in Fulton County.
National statistics show that fewer than 15 percent of all students walk or bicycle to school, compared with about 50 percent four decades ago.
According to ODOT, parents “consistently cite traffic danger” as the reason they drive their children to school, even though such driving contributes to traffic danger and congestion and deprives children of the exercise benefit of walking or cycling.