Safe Routes to School Expands

The Safe Routes to School program is expanding in the City of Decatur. With the opening of the new 4/5 Academy at 5th Avenue, another elementary school has been added to the successful program. In preparation for the opening, the school Champions (parent volunteers at each school) have been working on planning since late 2011. Surveys were sent home to all future students of the new school asking which routes their children would take if walking and/or biking to school. The SRTS committee, which is made up of City of Decatur Active Living staff, Public Works and Engineering, City Police and Firefighters, Zoning and Planning staff, City Schools of Decatur and the parent volunteers, met several times to map out the recommended safe routes. Routes which were the most traveled in each section of the city were selected and modified to serve the most children. All routes are easily accessible from adjoining streets. Routes were also selected on their safety or ability to make safer for the children.

 The Public Works Director came up with the idea to mark the routes with sidewalk markers to make them easier to follow, as well as posting the recommended routes to 5th Avenue on both the City Schools of Decatur and the City of Decatur websites. The map indicates which side of the street the children should travel on, as well as where the safest places to cross are located. The engineering department is working to repaint and install crosswalks. Active Living Staff and parent “champions” are working to install the markers on the sidewalks.

 The 5th Avenue project is a pilot program, and if successful, will be expanded to include all of the participating city schools. All of the city’s elementary schools participate in the SRTS program and Renfroe Middle School will be joining the program for the 2011-12 school year.

Planning for the 4/5 Academy at 5th Avenue

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