Spring 2004, p.10

Safe Schools
DOT Launches Safe Routes to School
Huge Win for Kids, City, T.A.!

Safe Routes to School programs are popular. Bronx Borough President, Adolfo Carrion, cuts the ribbon on a new school speed hump.

Since 1996, T.A. HAS been encouraging the New York City Department of Transportation to launch a Safe Routes to School pedestrian safety and traffic calming program. Being struck by an automobile is the leading cause of preventable injury and death for children 5 to 14 in New York City. Now, two years after hiring the RBA Group as a consultant, and after one year of data gathering, Commissioner Iris Weinshall publicly unveiled the DOT’s long awaited Safe Routes to School program in a February announcement.

The DOT, through its consultant, the New York-based RBA Group, has already inspected more than 1,400 public and private schools and noted and corrected any deficiencies with traffic controls. It has also assessed the traffic safety records at these schools and identified 135 “priority” school locations for in-depth treatment.

Streets around schools should invite people to walk.

RBA will survey principals, teachers, pupils and parents at these 135 locations, which total 156 different schools, to pinpoint the traffic hazards children are confronting near their schools. Once it finishes collecting the data, RBA will suggest a series of traffic safety improvements, including, but not limited to sidewalk widening, installation of raised center medians and changes to street design and traffic.

T.A. strongly supports the DOT’s Safe Routes to School program and heartily applauds Commissioner Weinshall’s statement that, “Children who walk to and from these schools deserve extra protection on our streets, and we are going to ensure that they get it.”

The DOT’s Safe Routes to School project has three steps:

1. Survey and map conditions and crashes around all 1,357 New York City schools.

2. Identify 135 schools with the worst pedestrian safety problems.

3. Pick 32 priority schools for traffic calming street engineering in 2004 and 2005.

Speed humps around schools are an effective and inexpensive way to slow traffic and save lives.

Read the latest news on this subject.