Project Overview

The process to apply for Safe Routes to School funding requires 2 important steps:
  • Submission and Approval of a Travel Plan
  • Submission of an Application for Funding
To fulfill the 1st requirement, the city prepared a Safe Routes to School Travel Plan on behalf of the 4 Falls Church city Public Schools (FCCPS):
  • Mt. Daniel Elementary School (Grades Kindergarten-1)
  • Thomas Jefferson Elementary School (Grades 2-4)
  • Mary Ellen Henderson (MEH) Middle School (Grades 5-7)
  • George Mason High School (Grades 8-12)
Project Funding
This plan, which the council endorsed at its March 14, 2011 meeting, is a written document that outlines the city's intentions for making travel to and from the city's 4 schools safer. It outlines existing conditions, notes barriers to walking and biking, and provides an action plan for improving walking and biking conditions to the schools.

The city then applied to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), who administers the SRTS program on behalf of the FHWA, for funding to implement 5 of the top ranked projects identified in the Travel Plan. The city was notified in February 2012 that 3 of the 5 projects in the infrastructure application were selected by VDOT for funding for the 2012 grant cycle.

The projects that were approved for funding are:
  • Redesign of pick up and drop off areas at MEH Middle School: This project will improve pick-up and drop-off circulation on the campus by creating a new exit for vehicles departing the campus. The project would also install bulbouts, raised crosswalks, and flashing pedestrian signs at the crosswalk locations on the campus. This project is critical since this improvement would make the campus safe for walkers and bikers. Currently, the school has a no-walk policy due to the campus safety issues.
  • Construction of a new sidewalk on the north side of North West Street between Grove Avenue and the city limits: This street is a primary route to Mt. Daniel Elementary (as well as the city's other 3 schools). The street has high traffic volumes, a sidewalk only on the south side, and only 2 pedestrian crossing locations on a 6 block stretch. This project would construct a new sidewalk on the north side of this primary walking route to all of the city's schools and would provide direct access to North Oak Street, where Mt. Daniel Elementary is located.
  • Construction of a median refuge across North West Street at the intersection of North Oak Street: This is an off-set intersection, which makes it difficult to control with a stop sign or signal. However, all walkers or bikers to Mt. Daniel Elementary must pass through this intersection to access North Oak Street, where the school is located. This project will create a safe refuge area for walkers and bikers to the school and will calm traffic on the street. The city also intends to install school crossing signs and associated flashing beacons at this intersection.