The improvements would include crosswalk countdown timers that show pedestrians how many seconds are left until the light changes, school zone beacons that display cars' speeds to discourage drivers from speeding, upgraded crosswalks and better signs.
Committees of Clarke County School District administrators, teachers and parents recommended the seven schools because they're located in areas where children are most likely to walk or ride bicycles to school, district spokesman Mike Wooten said.
The DOT started its Safe Routes to School program in 2005 to offer funding and advice to local governments and school districts on improving safety for children who walk or bike to school.
Athens residents independently formed a volunteer group by the same name [aka Safe Routes Athens] around the same time. Members of the local Safe Routes to School association traipsed all over Clarke County mapping gaps in sidewalks and other areas where traffic might pose a danger to students on foot.
Some commissioners said last Thursday that they were irked at the officials who wrote a document for the commission to approve because it did not give enough credit to the citizen Safe Routes for School group.
"We ask that citizens partner with us and that should be reflected in the report," Commissioner Andy Herod said.
The oversight wasn't intentional and will be fixed in the version of the document the commission will approve Tuesday, said David Clark, director of the Athens-Clarke Transportation and Public Works Department.
Also not mentioned is the fact that Safe Routes Athens is a sponsored program of BikeAthens.
Hopefully, the approved version of the document will make note of this fact, but overall we're glad the applications will be submitted and hopeful the grants will be awarded so that Athens can implement these important upgrades to pedestrian infrastructure!