Making good judgments about whether crossing railroad tracks is safe or legal for school children in an area must be made on a case-by-case basis. Nonetheless, when thinking about crossing railroad tracks, there are some useful guiding principles. To determe whether crossing railroad tracks in your community is appropriate for elementary school children, it is worth considering the following:
Together with America Walks, the National Center for Safe Routes to School recorded a webinar called, "Top Ten Engineering Treatments for Improving Walking and Bicycling." You can the webinar as follows:
According to federal guidelines, potential infrastructure projects that some States have used for existing SRTS or related programs include:
Making room for pedestrians and other road users involves maximizing the use of a street's existing right-of-way. If the existing right-of-way on a street does not have sufficient space for sidewalks on both sides of the street, providing sidewalks on only one side may be adequate. However, by working with local and/or state transportation professionals, you might find that it's possible to narrow car travel lanes or implement a "road diet" to provide additional sidewalk space.
To assess whether such a pedestrian HAWK signal treatment is suitable for your area, we recommend that you contact your Safe Routes to School (SRTS) State Coordinator. To obtain the contact information and website for your SRTS Coordinator please visit our Find State Contacts page and once there select your state on the interactive map or by using the drop down menu.
This is not an uncommon issue that Safe Route to School teams face. Not everyone sees the value in providing sidewalks for children and others to use. Overcoming opposition can be challenging once it has arisen.