Clarkston Community Schools Safe Routes to School Initiative
View the informational slides presented at the September 11, 2019 Safe Routes to School public meeting.
The Charter Townships of Independence and Springfield are collaborating with the Clarkston Community School District (CCSD) to evaluate areas surrounding nine school campuses for implementation of a districtwide Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program. SRTS is a Federal grant program that encourages communities to create safe, convenient and fun routes to K-8 school campuses for all students. The program involves both an infrastructure and non-infrastructure component with grant funding per campus of $200,000 and $8,000, respectively. The program works with teams of community members that are comprised of teachers, parents, students, local law enforcement, community planners, school administrators and engineers. These project teams will be meeting at each of the campuses this spring to perform a walking audit of existing and potential routes and will conduct an action-planning meeting to determine which improvements and programs should be considered to achieve the goals of SRTS. Additionally, CCSD parents and students will have access to an online survey that will collect information regarding attitudes and perceptions about walking and biking to school and hindrances that do not allow for or improvements necessary to allow students to safely walk or bike to local school campuses.
The Six E’s, or goals, of the SRTS program that the project teams consider are:
Education – Teaching students and community members about the broad range of transportation choices and making sure they have the skills and knowledge to be safe from traffic while walking or bicycling. Examples: Bike Skill Programs, Promotional Brochures, Pedestrian Safety Trainings
Encouragement – Using events, activities and incentives to promote walking, bicycling, and physical activity. Encouragement activities can include partnerships with non-profit groups to maintain safe routes for students through activities such as walking school buses, walk to school events, bicycling incentives, art and other active transportation events.
Engineering – Making physical improvements to the streetscape and built environment that decrease the risk of injury from motor vehicles to increase street safety for all. Examples: New or improved sidewalks and pathways, improved street crossings
Enforcement – Collaborating with local law enforcement to address and reduce traffic concerns in the neighborhoods around schools and along school routes. Examples: Improved pick-up or drop-off procedures, improved enforcement of existing traffic laws
Evaluation – Assessing which approaches to maintaining safe routes for students are more or less successful through Parent and Student Surveys, participation logs and community feedback. Evaluations are to ensure that a program or initiative is decreasing health disparities and increasing equity while also identifying unintended consequences or opportunities to improve the effectiveness of an approach for a given community.
Equity – Ensuring that Safe Routes to School initiatives are benefiting all demographic groups. The SRTS program looks to address the unique barriers that different demographic groups within the school system may face to ensure safe, healthy and fair outcomes for all students.
Additional examples of initiatives that can be funded by SRTS are as follows:
Infrastructure: Funds may be used for the construction of projects that will substantially improve the ability of students to walk and bicycle to school through sidewalk improvements, traffic calming, implementation of speed reduction measures, improved street crossings, on-street bicycle facilities, off-street bicycle and pedestrian facilities, secure bicycle parking, and traffic diversion improvement near schools.
Non-infrastructure: Funds may be used to encourage walking and bicycling to school through public awareness campaigns, outreach to press and community leaders, traffic education and enforcement in the vicinity of schools, student sessions on bicycle and pedestrian safety, health and environment, and trainings for volunteers and managers of Safe Routes to School programs.
The SRTS program benefits not only the students, but also the whole community. The infrastructure that is installed as part of the program increases the walkability in the Townships, increases safety for our students, can lower the traffic congestion around school campuses, and promote a healthier lifestyle for our schoolchildren.
For more information regarding Safe Routes to School, please visit the following websites:
Michigan Safe Routes to School - https://saferoutesmichigan.org/
National Center for Safe Routes to School - http://www.saferoutesinfo.org/
Safe Routes to School National Partnership - https://www.saferoutespartnership.org/
For questions, comments or inquiries on how to be involved in the program, please contact Erin Mattice at (248) 846-6502 or firstname.lastname@example.org