Schools, and the children that attend them, deserve special consideration. The design of our streets and societal trends towards cars-only have left students trapped in the back seats of their parents cars, or for some, trapped in the front seat of their own car once they get their license. The leading cause of death for children 4-14 (some statistics say 1 to 19) is motor vehicle crashes, and most of those occur in their own parent’s vehicles. Better to get students out of vehicles, and vehicles away from schools so that once again children feel safe and welcomed to walk and bicycle (and skateboard and scooter).

Policies:

  • Schools will never be sited unless all neighborhood students can safely walk to school. Though schools have often been sited in the past based only on economics or developer preference, the city must insist that walkability is the primary criteria.
  • Existing schools where neighborhood students cannot safely walk to school will be prioritized for walking improvements, with low-income schools at the highest priority. 
  • The city will fund pedestrian education in every school at one grade level. Additional education and other transportation modes will be the responsibility of the school districts. 
  • The city will proactively work with school districts to consider reduced speed limits on neighborhood streets and in school zones, and closed, restricted or one-way school-adjacent streets during arrival and dismissal times. State law allows cities and counties to set school zone speeds at 20 mph or 15 mph, but no place is the Sacramento region has yet done so. Many places in Europe and a few in the United States close school streets during arrival and dismissal, or for the whole school day (addressing air quality concerns as well as safety concerns). When drivers do not behave, they do not belong around schools, and we must keep them away.

About Dan Allison

Dan Allison is a Safe Routes to School Coordinator in the Sacramento area. Dan dances and backpacks, as much as possible.

Category

walkability

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