by Grace Anderson

Crestone Charter School (CCS) was awarded $500,000 recently by the Colorado Department of Transportation’s Colorado Safe Routes to School Program to build an accessible bike path from Cami- no Baca Grande to the CCS cam- pus at 330 Lime Street.

The Colorado Safe Routes to School (SRTS) distributes funds through a competitive process to schools and community groups striving to develop active travel programs. Besides reducing congestion and improving air quality around the school, Crestone Charter School aims to further reduce the carbon emissions, improve student health and enhance student environmental awareness by encouraging non-motorized com- muting.

Recent national research and results from local school districts shows that Safe Routes to School (SRTS) education and encouragement programs can increase walking and biking rates by 5% per year and building crosswalks,

sidewalks, and other infrastructure near schools can increase walking and biking by 18%. We expect an even larger boost in active transportation rates in the Crestone-Baca community.

The vast majority of CCS par- ents surveyed cited safety concerns when asked why they hesitated to allow their students to bike to school.

“The intersection at the Kiosk (the Y intersection between CR T, Camino Baca Grande and Birch Street) gets crazy during pick up and drop-off times. I don’t want my kid riding her bike through that mess,” stated one parent from Casita Park.

Another parent cited the poor visibility and lack of pedestrian walk ways along Lime Street as a constraining factor.

“Drivers can hardly see through the dust and glare when the sun comes up over Challenger. I tell my children to walk [beside] the road, not on it. But it’s not very nice, down there in the bar- row ditch with the prickly pear and tumble weeds,” stated a Crestone resident.

Students concurred, from a Kindergartener who described the existing pathway as “sharp and pokey,” to a High School student who reported that biking on the sandy trail, “sucks.”

The SRTS trail will cover .6 miles contouring through tufted grassland to pinyon and juniper woods. It will replace existing braided trails with a graduated climb on a smooth all-season surface. Although the trail is short, it will cut off nearly 1.5 miles for families commuting from the Baca Subdivision.

If eight fewer families drive the circuitous route past the kiosk to school, the CCS community will reduce its CO2 output by twenty

pounds per day.
The Colorado Safe Routes to

School program has awarded over $18 million since fiscal year 2006 to projects throughout the state of Colorado. One hundred ninety-one school districts and communities across Colorado have received a portion of these funds to help promote walking and biking and to build safer routes to and from school. In 2015, the Colorado Transportation Commission approved to continue the Colorado Safe Routes to School grant program with awards of $2.5 million annually.

Crestone Charter School wishes to thank the Eastern San Luis Valley Trails Coalition for writing this grant, specifically Sara Noviki, Vista Volunteer for SLV GO!; Burt Wadman, SLVTC Convener; and Grace Anderson, CCS SRTS Coordinator.

ESLVTC will host an information meeting and listening session on June 27 at 6pm at the Crestone Charter School. Please join us. We have yet to determine the exact alignment of the trail route, potential amenities along the trail and the funding and timing of subsequent phases. Plus the trail needs a name!

For more information visit:

Eastern San Luis Valley Trails Coalition:

https://slvgo.com/about/part- ners-projects/eslvtc/

Colorado Safe Routes to School

www.codot.gov/programs/ bikeped/safe-routes