Looking for champions for Safe Routes to School | PostIndependent.com

Looking for champions for Safe Routes to School

New Century TransportationCathy TuttleGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

The Safe Routes to School (SR2S) Coordinating Team is making preparations for a comprehensive Safe Routes to School Program this spring. We are asking for your help to make this effort a success. A key part of this project is to conduct a physical survey of school sites and surrounding neighborhoods to identify areas that harbor unsafe conditions for children on their way to and from school. These volunteers (aka champions) will be concerned parents and citizens working in conjunction with city staff representatives and school faculty to conduct the school and community reviews.

This school and neighborhood analysis will include, but not be limited to, the bus drop-off area, the pick-up and drop-off area, parking lots, sidewalks, crosswalks, paths and trails within one to two miles of community schools, bicycle storage, school policy and crossing guard programs.The teams will start to meet this month with special training and community and school audits occurring during the months of March and April. Keeping in mind that people’s time is valuable, we will try to keep meetings as efficient and effective as possible.Project deliverables will include: 1) from the site surveys, a safe-route map for each school in each regional community, 2) a prioritized list of safe route improvement projects for each regional city. This will be used for an active transportation-safe routes to school budget recommendations for city/town 2008 budget cycles, and 3) a recommendation for a Safe Routes to School sustainability outline for 2008.Additionally, a Bicycle Colorado representative will present safe routes to school training information to area educators, which they offer on a statewide basis. The curriculum has been designed to specifically incorporate Colorado state traffic laws and the Colorado Model Content Standards for Physical Education. A central valley location will be selected for this one-day presentation.

Through this program, area physical education instructors will be offered training for kindergarten through fourth-graders, which will include pedestrian techniques and basics of bicycle safety essential to their well-being. This curriculum involves discussion of physical fitness and wellness through an active lifestyle as well as risks and safety factors associated with pedestrian and bicycle activities. Additional training offered for fifth- through eighth-graders will be in advanced pedestrian activities as well as bicycling skills. Students will learn the rules of the road as they pertain to pedestrian and bicycling activities as well as refine their coordination, awareness and handling skills while on a bicycle.It is believed that this program will not only provide students with lessons to help them meet state standards, but also prepare them for a lifetime of active living and a healthy lifestyle. We would like to thank the Re-1 and Aspen school districts and community representatives and staff from Glenwood Springs, Carbondale, Basalt and Aspen for their past participation and support, which has enabled New Century Transportation Foundation, CDOT and Bicycle Colorado to conduct previous surveys. We are excited about going forward with a detailed safe routes to school-active transportation program this spring.

To become involved in your community’s safe routes to school program, please contact Cathy Tuttle, Active Transportation-SR2S, New Century Transportation Foundation at 274-1875 or by e-mailing ctuttle@newcenturytrans.org. For general information regarding transit and trails issues in our valley, please visit http://www.newcenturytrans.org or http://www.RFTA.com or by calling 704-9200. Cathy Tuttle is with the New Century Transportation Foundation.

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