Paving the Way for SRTS
The Kids’ Plates “Paving the Way for Safe Routes to School(SRTS)” projects, awarded for 2013-2015, developed, implemented, and evaluated small-scale, low-cost educational interventions with underserved California schools to improve conditions for walking and bicycling to and from campuses. The goal was to reduce the number of childhood pedestrian and bicycle-related injuries among school-aged children.
WALKSacramento worked closely to promote safe routes to school with eight school communities across the region through the California Department of Public Health Paving the Way for Safe Routes to School grant. Alongside education and encouragement events like Bike to School Day and bike rodeos, WALKSacramento organized and led community walk audits and traffic observations at each school to address barriers to safe walking and biking to school. These led to recommendations to the schools, community, school districts, and local public works departments. The ultimate goal was to make the streets around each school safer for walking and biking.
WALKSacramento worked with schools and communities to select designated safe routes and promote events in several counties, including Yuba, Yolo, Placer, Amador, and Sacramento County. Local partners included school administrators, public works representatives, neighborhood groups, law enforcement, Safe Kids coalition members, Spare the Air Scooter, FedEx, and UPS.
SRTS Program Implementer
Safe Kids Greater Sacramento, FedEx, Yuba County, Sacramento County DOT
SOME COOL FACTS
Participating K- 12 students and 900 adults/non-students participated in educational trainings
Students, Staff, Parents, & Community Members celebrated International Walk and Bike to School Days
Promotional or educational materials distributed
The Kids’ Plates “Paving the Way for Safe Routes to School” project funding was awarded to four organizations representing the Northern, Central, and Southern regions of California:
- WalkSacramento (Northern Region)–worked with selected elementary and Kindergarten –8thgrade(K-8) schools in Amador, El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, and Yuba counties;
- Safe Kids California (Northern Region)–worked with selected elementary and K-8 schools and in Amador, El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, and Yuba counties;
- Monterey County Department of Health (Central Region) –worked with selected elementary schools in the cities of Seaside and Marin in Monterey County; and
- Escondido Union School District (Southern Region) –worked with selected elementary and middle schools in Escondido in San Diego County.
A major challenge reported by the projects was school leadership and staff turnover. This is an important item to note because turnover requires a new investment in time and resources to retrain, reeducate, and garner support for project activities, all of which have potential to cause delays in meeting project goals, objectives, and timelines.
Specific to WALKSacramento and Safe Kids California (Northern Region)
- Sacramento County Department of Transportation is applying for an infrastructure grant through the Active Transportation Program (ATP) for Hurley Way and Morse Avenue near Thomas Edison Language Institute. The grant proposes to add several segments of sidewalks along routes most used by students to get to and from school. Over twenty percent of students use active transportation to get to and from school.
- Yuba County Public Works is applying for an infrastructure grant through the ATP for 7th Avenue near Ella Elementary School. The grant proposes to add sidewalks and bike lanes along 7th Avenue leading up to the school. Over twenty-five percent of students walk or bike to Ella Elementary.
- In 2014, Yuba County was awarded a $1.1 million ATP grant for safe routes to school infrastructure near Ella Elementary. The project will add bicycle and pedestrian facilities and a median island on 7th Avenue from Olivehurst Avenue to Powerline Road. The project will improve safety and mobility for students walking to and from school.
- South Ione Street near Ione Elementary was reconstructed from State Route 104 to the school.
- Placer County Department of Public Works provided Auburn Elementary with a portable “Yield to Pedestrians within the Crosswalk” sign near the schools busy intersection.
The Kid’s Plates “Paving the Way for Safe Routes to School” projects reported that their greatest accomplishments were changes in processes, policies, attitudes, knowledge, and beliefs in their respective communities. These results and long-range investments in leveraged funding for educational and infrastructure interventions will have lasting impact on their respective communities for years to come in terms of potential for preventing injuries, continuing to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety, and making walking and bicycling more viable transportation options for their young people.