The Norman Transcript

Local news

January 14, 2009

ODOT to give funds for local Safe Routes to School program

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation has selected a Norman project as one of a handful to receive funds during the 2007-2009 Safe Routes to School funding cycle.

Michael Rayburn, City of Norman assistant traffic engineer, said the Longfellow Middle School -- Jefferson Elementary School proposal was chosen to receive the $198,900 in infrastructure improvements and $4,990 in non-infrastructure improvements.

"On Dec. 8, we found out that we had a successful project," Rayburn said.

He said two proposals were made in June 2008 to ODOT, which is administering the federal project. One application was for Longfellow Middle School ? Jefferson Elementary.

"The other one was for Truman Elementary School," Rayburn said.

The Truman Elementary proposal wasn't selected, but more projects could be considered later, he said.

Rayburn said ODOT selected about $3 million worth of proposals statewide in the first year of the funding cycle. Each year afterward, $1 million in projects will be awarded.

ODOT hasn't yet scheduled a start date for the Longfellow Middle School -- Jefferson Elementary project.

"We are waiting on ODOT for a kickoff meeting in Oklahoma City," he said. "We are just waiting for them to announce that."

Rayburn said he anticipates some improvements can get started as soon as this summer.

"We had invited all of the schools when we first learned about the grant money to come up for a meeting," he said. "The steering committee selected these two sites."

Rayburn said residents can expect infrastructure improvements such as sidewalk replacements, sidewalk ramps, mast arm flashers and 11 calming speed tables placed on East Gray Street and Findlay and Ponca avenues. An in-ground lighted crosswalk will be installed at East Main Street and Cockrel Avenue.

"The schools themselves will be doing some things to motivate the kids to walk and bike to school," Rayburn said.

Longfellow principal Darien Moore said she's excited about improving student safety. Some students walk and ride bikes to LMS.

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