Letter from Gabe Garcia on the Safe Routes to School Grant, 07/05/11

Hello, everyone.

Last week was indeed exceedingly dynamic as we communicated with the community on the various Safe Routes to School (SRTS) topics, and explored internally the next steps.  One great unanticipated benefit is that we are now well on way to open dialogue, and that can only help any future process and SRTS application.

Also, I wanted to share that carefully reviewing all perspectives (community, schools, City, and State reviewers),  the Public Works Director determined that it would be prudent to pursue the work necessary to potentially file the NON-INFRASTRUCTURE grant application, which can be as much as $500K.  Although we are pursuing this in earnest, at this late in the preparation period, we don’t know if we can actually complete all the work necessary to make it happen – that is the grant-related work of defining the programs and writing the application; the support from the community and the pertinent letters of support; the internal discussions to get its filing supported by the School District and approved by the City; and the subsequent discussion by the Council to authorize its filing.  But, because we believe that the benefits are significant, we will be moving towards that direction and see how it all plays out.

This Non-Infrastructure grant application would NOT touch the street configuration, traffic flow, or operations at all!  Again, there would be no street changes proposed in this Non-Infrastructure grant application – such grant application only considers programmatic benefits in the area of Education, Enforcement, Encouragement, and Evaluation.  Additionally, a portion of the grant can be used to pay for a consulting Safe Routes to School Coordinator – this consulting role is by no means, where the bulk of the funds would go, it would be only a part of the big approach.  That part will become better defined over the next few days.

How can you and others help?

1)    Please see what is the community support for filing a Non-Infrastructure grant application.  Talk to others, if there is support, it can be expressed by sending me support letters, with the senders’ name and contact information (address, phone number, and e-mail address), on such support letters.  These will be used internally to gauge the breadth and scope of the support.  Another option to expressing the same support would be by signing a petition containing the same information and clear language as to the focus of this Non-Infrastructure grant application and clear language indicating that this grant application does not fund nor does it include any changes to the streets;

2)    Reach out to the members of the community who expressed concerns about the infrastructure projects, making it clear that this Non‑Infrastructure application would leave alone all of the elements that were of concern and all of the elements that were not of concern, in the physical improvement proposals discussed last week – in other words, the streets are left untouched.  If agreeable, please obtain or encourage support letters from them; and

3)    Commit to participating in the programs that could be funded by this grant, through the existing structures (PTA/PTO, and others), and through new possible structures, such as volunteers to assist the schools; participate in SRTS committees, SRTS steering groups, and other related SRTS activities initiated at the schools.  Indicate such willingness to help in the support letters sent to me.

Thank you for your interest and willingness to participate in the community process towards making it a better community for all.

Gabe Garcia
Traffic Engineering Manager
City of Culver City
9770 Culver Boulevard
Culver City, CA 90232
gabe.garcia@culvercity.org

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