Bossier, Louisiana: SRTS in Bossier, Louisiana

Introduction

Meadowview Elementary School is in Bossier City, which is one of the fastest growing cities in Louisiana. The pre-kindergarten through fifth grade school has approximately 600 students. Currently, 50 of the 160 students living in the designated walk zone walk to school regularly. There are 104 students who live in this are and are provided with bus transportation because of safety concerns. In 2007, Meadowview staff decided to decrease the number of bus routes, and they began brainstorming methods to encourage students to walk to school. The school staff had many infrastructure problems, however, to solve before they could begin any encouragement activities. With the help of a Safe Routes to School (SRTS) grant from the Louisiana Department of Transportation (LDOT), Meadowview Elementary staff developed and began implementing a SRTS program that addresses the infrastructure issues and promotes walking safely to school.

Activities

On March 20, 2007, Meadowview Elementary was chosen to participate in LDOT’s 2006 to 2007 funding cycle. A contract proposal was presented in April, and the Notice to Proceed with Federal Highway Administration authorization was presented in September 2007. Of the $286,034 awarded, $241,034 of the funds is designated for major infrastructure improvements, such as the repair and installation of sidewalks. Also, a fence will be constructed around a drainage ditch that is a safety hazard for those walking by it. These infrastructure improvements have taken longer to complete than first expected because the city had to select an infrastructure consultant at the state level.

The remaining $45,000 of the SRTS grant will go toward enforcement and education activities at Meadowview Elementary. The school is hiring and training more crossing guards in order to ensure that both pedestrians and drivers act safely at crosswalks. Also, the school has implemented a student safety patrol. The safety patrol and in-class pedestrian safety education programs incorporates the school mascot with the slogan, “Stop, Look, and Listen. Roadrunners are on the Way.” As part of an awareness campaign, parents and community members receive fliers promoting driver awareness and safety.

To ensure that the SRTS program is effective both in the school and the neighborhood, teachers, parents, community leaders and the principal worked together as part of a neighborhood forum. The neighborhood forum targeted Bossier City residents without children in the school system to let these community members know that everyone contributes to the school and neighborhood’s successes.

Milestones

Although the infrastructure improvements and enforcement and education initiatives have just begun, the SRTS program already has experienced success. By encouraging community involvement and inspiring community pride, the SRTS program has helped to rejuvenate the school and the neighborhood. The students look forward to the SRTS activities, and the community members can help to improve their neighborhood’s safety conditions.

Case Study

In the future, the principal at Meadowview Elementary wants to expand the SRTS program to include more bicycle safety information and to promote bicycling as a fun physical activity. The principal and the neighborhood committee plan to apply for SRTS funding again.

Contact

Shelly Barrett
Meadowview Elementary
4312 Shed Rd
Bossier City, LA 71111
Phone: (318) 549-5640
Email: shelly.barrett@bossierschools.org