Since 2006, the number of walking school buses at Green Street School in Brattleboro, Vermont, has more than tripled, thanks to parents’ steady support of Safe Routes to School.
“The biggest barrier we faced and still face is the culture of driving kids to school,” said Alice Charkes, SRTS coordinator for Green Street School and a high school French teacher. “Most folks think it’s faster to drive to school and more convenient.” She believes that is primarily a perception rather than a reality.
Plain City, UT, is a small town of about 5,000 citizens. On June 27, 2006, the Weber County School District passed a bond to build a new elementary school in Plain City. The new school’s location is near three large subdivisions, which increased the number of students who walk to school from 270 students at the school’s old location to 420 students at the new location. Although the school is within walking distance, the narrow access road that leads to it poses access and safety issues for both pedestrians and motor vehicles.
The kindergarten through sixth grade students at Shelley Elementary School in American Fork, UT, have no bus system to take them to and from school.
The only buses available are intended for the pre-kindergarten students and those students in special education, which means the remainder of the student population, totaling 1,021 children, must walk, bicycle or carpool to school.
Neighborhoods and schools in Taylor will be connected with a 2.4-mile pedestrian and bike path to make the way to school safer for elementary, middle and high school students.
Taylor has a growing population of approximately 18,000, and it is part of the Austin metropolitan area. Its economy is based on both agriculture and manufacturing. The community within Williamson County takes pride in its ethnic diversity.
When officials from the Town of Pleasant View saw that children were walking to school—even without sidewalks—they decided to take action.
The town of Pleasant View has a population of about 4,100, and approximately 595 students in kindergarten through fourth grade attend Pleasant View Elementary School. Within two miles of the school, there are three neighborhoods comprised of a total of more than 300 homes, as well as the downtown area and Main Street.
Officials from Dubuque, IA, decided to develop a comprehensive pedestrian plan to seek input from all 29 schools in the district, a process patterned after one they successfully used when developing the city’s Bike-Hike Trail Vision plan.
“We want to include the community so they can be involved in the process,” said Chandra Ravada, Co-Director of the Transportation and Planning Department of the East Central Intergovernmental Association.
Murch Elementary School built community consensus for Safe Routes to School (SRTS) efforts that enabled it to overcome barriers to walking and bicycling to school, to educate and encourage students to walk and ride to school, and to build sidewalks to make that trip safer. The school’s efforts earned it the 2009 James L. Oberstar Award for Safe Routes to School.