2023 Safe Routes 2 School Plan Update

The Solano County Safe Routes to School (SR2S) program is a multifaceted effort to increase the number of students who walk, bike, rideshare, or take transit to and from school. The benefits from increased use of these travel modes are myriad: it can improve air quality, reduce congestion around schools, reduce health risks associated with childhood obesity, improve safety around schools, teach students safety skills, improve students’ focus in the classroom, and foster a closer sense of community among participants. Since 2007, the Solano County SR2S program has focused on educating students at special events, enforcing traffic laws in school zones, installing safety improvements, and encouraging families to sidestep traffic in favor of “walking & rolling” to school.

STA completed and adopted a SR2S Plan in 2008 and another countywide plan was completed and adopted in 2013. This document is an update to that plan and refocuses the goals of the program while providing new and expanded material for prioritizing future program investments.

This 2023 update was formed over multiple rounds of input with stakeholders at the countywide and individual jurisdiction/school district levels. These outreach events included school site Walk Audits, Solano Transportation Authority’s Active Transportation Plan, and Community Task Force meetings. This SR2S Plan is intended to guide continued investments in safety projects around schools, programmatic needs to encourage active transportation within the school community, and addresses Ped and Bike Safety for students and families.

Solano County wants to encourage more students to safely ride their bikes or walk to school. Walking or riding a bike to school is great for the environment and for our children’s health but some kids and even their parents, don’t feel safe on certain streets and roads.

Help us make getting to school easy, safe, and even fun for kids of all ages in our County. Using a very simple interactive map, please take a moment to point out locations where you think improvements should be made. Your insights will help update our Safe Routes to School Plan! Click here to begin.

The Solano Transportation Authority (STA) Safe Routes to School program traces its roots to the Solano County Travel Safety Plan, originally developed in 1998 to identify safety deficiencies and funding opportunities. In 2005, a Safe Routes to School program was recommended as Phase II of the Solano County Travel Safety Plan Update to address a rising youth obesity issues across the county. STA subsequently secured funding to develop a Safe Routes to School (SR2S) strategic plan.

The program began in 2007 with the establishment of countywide and local task forces and the participation by over a dozen schools in the 2008 SR2S Plan development process. Solano Public Health came on as a partner organization in the 2008/2009 school year. By the 2009/2010 school year, the program’s core activities were reaching 8,700 students at 16 schools. In 2023, there were 78 schools participating in the program’s core actives and reaching  over 15,000 students.

Beginning in fall 2010, the STA Safe Routes to School program has expanded programming, planning, and technical assistance. See what the SR2S Program offers through Education and Encouragement events, Engineering Safety Projects, Enforcement Partnerships, see Travel Tally Survey results and Evaluations, and see how Champion Schools are Engaging with the Program. The SR2S Program has an average of 65 schools participating each year in these programmatic events and support. Read the program’s Annual Reports to see how cities and schools are participating in the Solano SR2S program.

Solano SR2S Highlights Timeline

The Solano Safe Routes to School (SR2S) Program is one of several programs managed by the Solano Transportation Authority (STA), the Congestion Management Agency (CMA) for Solano County. The STA works with its member agencies to acquire funding from federal, state, regional and local sources to make the SR2S Program possible. Member agencies include the cities of Benicia, Dixon, Fairfield, Rio Vista, Suisun City, Vacaville and Vallejo and Solano County.

Since 2008, SR2S has received funding from: Transportation Development Act Article 3 (TDA), HOV fines, Active Transportation Plan (ATP), One Bay Area Grant (OBAG), Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP), California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) and the Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District (YSAQMD).

Click here for more information about funding sources. 

This funding has supported SR2S non-infrastructure programs and infrastructure projects to make walking and biking to school safer for kids. SR2S educational programming encourages active transportation and teaches students bike and pedestrian safety. SR2S infrastructure projects provide necessary road improvements to make getting to and from school safe.

Administered by Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and STA

Typical Funding Amount: ~$8 million every 5 years

Funds projects that contribute to improved air quality and mitigate congestion. Typical projects include bicycle and pedestrian improvements, transit, electric vehicle infrastructure, mobility management, Safe Routes to School, etc. Projects funded with CMAQ in OBAG Cycle 2 include:

  • Fairfield’s Grange Middle School SR2S Project
  • STA’s Safe Routes to School Program

    Active Transportation Program (ATP)
    Administered by Caltrans and MTC

Typical Funding Amount: $440 million statewide over four years (augmented by SB 1)

The Active Transportation Program is the largest funding source for active transportation projects in California. Funds projects such as bike paths, bike lanes, pedestrian facilities, bicycle/pedestrian planning, and bike/pedestrian education & outreach. Call for projects typically occur every two years and occur in two rounds: the first round is a statewide competitive call administered by Caltrans, and the second is administered in the Bay Area by MTC. The current call for projects, Cycle 4, included $440 million in available funding statewide over four fiscal years. This is double the amount of previous years due to the passage of SB 1. Example ATP projects include:

  • Pilot Staff Led Walking School Bus Program
  • Fairfield’s East Tabor/Tolenas SR2S Sidewalk Gap Closure
  • Suisun City’s McCoy Creek Trail Phase 2
  • Crossing and Sidewalk Improvements at 7 schools in Benicia and Vallejo

Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP)
Administered by Caltrans

Typical Funding Amount: ~$140 million statewide

Provides funding for local safety projects that will reduce crashes and fatalities on public roadways. Projects must be identified based on crash experience, crash rate, crash potential, or other data based means. Projects eligible for HSIP include (but are not limited to): pedestrian crossing improvements, guard rail extensions, pavement or shoulder widening, traffic calming, etc. Currently, STA is working with each member agency to submit up to three HSIP applications per jurisdiction for Cycle 9 of funding, which is currently open. In the past, the County of Solano has used HSIP funds to enhance safety at intersections on rural roads.  HSIP project examples are:

  • High Visibility Crosswalk and Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFB) at Browns Valley Pkwy/Clarecastle and Marshall Rd/Southside Bikeway – Vacaville
  • Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons at Military West/Drolette Dr. – Benicia
  • High Visibility Crosswalk and RRFB at Pintail/Scoter Way – Suisun City
  • Enhanced Crossings with ADA curb ramps, RRFBs at locations around D.H. White Elementary – Rio Vista

Office of Traffic Safety Grants (OTS)
Administered by the California Office of Traffic Safety

Typical Funding Amount: Varies by grant

The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) is a state agency whose goal is to eliminate traffic deaths and injuries. They provide grants to local agencies to enforce traffic laws, educate the public on safety, and provide other effective methods for reducing fatalities. Grant applications are due in January annually. STA was recently awarded an OTS grant to conduct a pedestrian safety program, focusing specifically on Vallejo. STA/SR2S OTS funded projects:

  • 2017-2018: Collision Data Software Implementation Countywide, SR2S Program Evaluation and Intervention Project
  • 2018-2019: Safe Routes to School Youth Pedestrian Safety Workshops
  • 2020-2021: STA/Solano Mobility Senior Pedestrian Safety Outreach
  • 2020-2022: Public Safety Education and Enforcement Grant
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