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For Immediate Release
March 26, 2013

Malcolm Smith
Public Communications Manager

City Council Approves “Safe Routes to School” Study, and Grant Application for Food & Shelter Services

Redwood City, CA - At last night’s Council meeting (March 25), the City Council of Redwood City approved items focusing on two critical needs: study and expansion of the Redwood City 2020 “Safe Routes to School” initiative, and a grant application for funding to provide additional food and shelter services through the City’s Fair Oaks Community Center.

Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs seek to make bicycling and walking to school a safer and more appealing transportation choice, thus promoting a healthy and active lifestyle from an early age, reducing traffic congestion around schools and lessening air pollution, and forging a closer connection between neighborhoods and schools. The City-supported collaborative Redwood City 2020 began a Safe Routes to School program in 2009 as part of its work to improve the health and safety of children in the Redwood City School District.

The City Council awarded a $76,500 contract (using Federal grant funds) for a consultant to work with schools to determine the local conditions that may keep children from walking or bicycling to school, and to make recommendations for education, enforcement, and engineering (such as sidewalk or roadway improvements) to increase walking and bicycling. Among other elements, the consultant’s work will include identifying barriers to walking/biking, developing recommendations for improving the safety and convenience of walking and biking to school, and recommending specific SRTS elements that are tailored to students’ geographic location/school and specific needs. The schools involved represent the wide diversity of Redwood City’s population: Adelante, Fair Oaks, Garfield, Hawes, John Gill, and Roy Cloud schools. The study’s report is expected to be presented in mid-summer.

The City Council also authorized the Redwood City Parks, Recreation and Community Services (PRCS) Department to apply for an $80,000 grant from the Silicon Valley Community Foundation to help fund essential human services at the Fair Oaks Community Center. The grant application builds on the increased funding granted to Fair Oaks by the Foundation in 2012, which directly addressed critical needs of the City’s low-income community, including food assistance services, homelessness prevention and services, legal aid and housing advocacy services, and food and nutrition programs.

By submitting a collaborative proposal which involves a number of service agencies, including the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County, Public Allies, and Peninsula Family Service, the City is a strong candidate for this new funding. Such partnerships are an effective way of bringing these resources to the most needy in our community, and the Fair Oaks Community Center has a strong track record of success in forming those collaborations and leveraging efforts to meet these critical needs.

The Safe Routes to School program offers a great way for our youth to gain healthy exercise habits, and this study will closely examine how the schools and the City can best bring this option to all parts of our community,” said Redwood City Mayor Alicia Aguirre. “The Fair Oaks Community Center’s vital human services programs continue to be a crucial part of helping those in need throughout our community - approval of this grant application illustrates our commitment, and it’s especially representative of the wide partnerships we foster for the benefit of the most-needy residents of Redwood City.”

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