In 2012, we received the National 2012 Oberstar Safe Routes to School Award, the highest honor a Safe Routes to School program can receive. The award is named for James L. Oberstar, former chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and former U.S. Representative for Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District, to honor his dedication to American schoolchildren as the pioneer for the federal Safe Routes to School Program. There are approximately 13,500 Safe Routes to School programs in the nation and Chagrin Falls is the 7th program in the nation to receive this honor since the award was founded in 2007.
Established in May 2006, the National Center for Safe Routes to School assists states and communities in enabling and encouraging children to safely walk and bicycle to school. Each year, the Center bestows the Award to a Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program in the United States for its outstanding achievement in promoting safe walking and bicycling to school.
“The selection committee was very impressed with the breadth and depth of Chagrin Falls’ program,” said Lauren Marchetti, director of the National Center for Safe Routes to School. “They really did it all. Their creative approach spanned the “5 E’s” that are ideal for any SRTS program: engineering and infrastructure, enforcement, safety education, encouragement and evaluation.”
According to Chagrin Falls Mayor, Tom Brick, “Ours is a truly cooperative, community endeavor involving everyone from the volunteer crossing guards, to our police, the Chagrin Valley Little Theater, the historical society, merchants and YourHomeTown, parents, students, teachers and administrators at the schools. By improving communication and making some fairly straight-forward changes, like adding sidewalks to connect students in the north part of the village to their schools and providing volunteer crossing guards, we have strengthened what was already a very accessible and walkable community.”