"Safe Routes Now!"
In an unprecedented show of political enthusiasm for traffic calming, all eight City Councilmembers in The Bronx wrote the Mayor calling for speedy construction of the 24 Safe Routes to School pedestrian safety plans. To date, the Department of Transportation has completed the construction of traffic calming devices at only one of the 24 schools for which Safe Routes plans exist. The Bronx Safe Routes to School, is a project of Transportation Alternatives, The Bronx Borough President and the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee, and has drawn national attention for its innovative methods. Political support for Safe Routes to Schools is not limited to the City Council. In February, Assemblymember Peter Rivera agreed to earmark $125,000 in State Multi-modal funds for the design and construction of traffic calming plans at several schools in his district. In his letter to T.A., the Assemblymember wrote, "The implementation of traffic calming techniques has been and remains a priority of mine. Most important is the installation of traffic calming devices in areas around schools." Unfortunately, public enthusiasm for the Safe Routes to School program has not translated into action by the DOT. Though DOT Commissioner Wilbur Chapman met with T.A. and expressed his personal support, the agency has not defined a timeline or even loose plans for actually building the traffic calming called for by Safe Routes. This is a big missed opportunity for DOT. Safe Routes has set the table for the DOT to move ahead with an ambitious school-based traffic calming program in The Bronx. The political and community support is there. The plans are complete. Now DOT should muster the energy and focus to get some traffic calming built.