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New Mexico city pilots bike-to-school initiative

July 6, 2021 GMT

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A city in New Mexico is tapping into federal grant money and other funding to pilot an initiative aimed at getting more children to ride their bicycles and walk to school.

Students at Nina Otero Community School and El Camino Real Academy in Santa Fe are among those receiving bike safety lessons this summer as part of the citywide effort, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.

A $300,000 grant and matching money from the Santa Fe Metropolitan Planning Organization will pay for staffing and a consultant, who will help build staff and volunteer groups to keep bike safety a top priority.

Funding will also be spent on experts in fields like geographic information systems so recommendations can be made on improvements to trails, sidewalks and crosswalks around town.

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“We’ll be looking into improvements on campus areas,” said Tim Rogers, Conservation Trust trails program manager and Safe Routes coordinator. “We have all been working primarily on the south side.”

Safe Routes to School initiatives span the nation, emphasizing pedestrian and bike safety for kids getting to school. Rogers said a Safe Routes program in Las Cruces is possibly the only comprehensive program in the state.

A 2015 study showed the longer Safe Routes initiatives were in place, the more kids started walking and biking to schools.