Brookfield students could see improved routes leading to their schools as part of an effort to promote walking and biking to school.  

The village announced it will apply to the Safe Routes to School program by the Illinois Department of Transportation last week.  

Village Engineer Derek Treichel told the board of trustees he identified several areas that could make Brookfield eligible for the money.  

Public Works and the village engineering firm recommended the village applies to the grant as it brings additional funds to improve sidewalks beyond the village’s budget.  

The state program grants up to $250,000 for construction and construction engineering for eligible projects that improve travel conditions for students. K-12 schools are eligible and improvements must take place within a 2-mile radius from the schools. In Brookfield, that covers the entire sidewalk system, Treichel said.  

The village plans to use the funding to build missing sidewalks and repair deteriorated or unsafe sidewalks close to Brookfield schools on portions of the following streets: 30th Street, Southview Avenue, Sahler Avenue, Oak Avenue and Custer Avenue.  

Trustees also discussed current crosswalks that require improvements to make crossing safer near Brookfield schools, citing concerns by students and parents. Trustee Nicole Gilhooley said drivers do not always stop at the crosswalk on Lincoln and Maple Avenues, near Gross Middle School despite existing flashing crosswalk signs. She also mentioned there are not always crossing guards present for after-school programs or events. Trustee Julie Narimatsu cited Congress Park School students have a difficult time crossing Ogden Avenue and nearby intersection of Dubois Boulevard and Maple Avenue. 

Gilhooley also asked the village engineer to look into bump-outs and other infrastructure to improve and make school crossings safer.  

“Regardless of the grant, what I’m kind of hearing from this is that we should have a meeting with the principals and see if there are some school crossings that could be improved,” Treichel said.  

The village will vote on approving the village’s grant application at the upcoming Sept. 25 village board meeting. If funding is awarded, construction would begin in 2025.