City of Decatur Chosen as Safe Routes to School Friend Partner of the Year for Metro-Atlanta!

JPEG - Safe Routes to School ColorEach year, the Georgia Safe Routes to School Resource Center receives nominations for Outstanding School Partners and Champions. This year, they introduced Outstanding Friend Partner and the City of Decatur is proud to be the first recipient!

 

The City of Decatur has had a Safe Routes to School program since 2005, when it partnered with GDOT to pilot the program. Beginning with the 2008-2009 school year, the Decatur Active Living Division of the City of Decatur took on the management and development of the program.

  • The City formed a SRTS committee of Parent Champions and meets monthly to discuss ways to encourage children to walk or bike to school and any barriers that might prevent them from doing so. Meetings include our GA SRTS representative Marielena and Nichole from GA Commute Schools, whom we work closely with,  communications staff from the school system, and an occasional principal. Police often attend.
  • Champions receive a SRTS t-shirt from the Active Living Division.
  • The City holds an annual Bike Month Poster contest in May.
  • The Public Works division works hard to ensure safe routes for children. Before the recent opening of the Talley Street School in Fall 2019, the city held community meetings to receive input on safety improvements to be made around the school. The result was a safer intersection with traffic controls and a new sidewalk. Another sidewalk is in the process of being planned, again with community input, on a much traveled route to the school.  The city received a grant from GDOT and recently completed the installation of the PHB on a busy street in front of an elementary school.
  • The Engineering Department makes sure that crosswalks along the routes are in good condition and restripes as necessary before school opens each Fall.
  • The city met with MARTA to secure permission to use their bridge over a busy road as part of the safe routes network.
  • Decatur Police Department hires, trains, and manages the city’s 34 crossing guards. With that many guards in just 4.5 square miles, I would venture we have the most per capita! Crossing Guards are located at busy intersections and popular crossings. The Police and Active Living Divisions partner to host a breakfast for the guards where they also receive certificates and gifts.
  • The City has created a map of the safe routes throughout the city. It is printed and given to all the schools, and is also distributed in digital format, as well as on the city’s and the school system’s websites.

 

 

Air Quality Awareness Week is April 27 – May 1

Virtual Air Quality Awareness Week Calendar

Decatur’s Safe Routes to School program works with GA Commute Schools to help to reduce pollution from idling around our schools, encourage families to walk, bike, ride the bus or carpool as well as celebrate School Bus Appreciation Week and more. They have now found a great way for families in Decatur to celebrate Air Quality Awareness Week virtually.

Click here to participate in the activities listed in the calendar above.

 

Bike Month Poster Contest Returns

Bike Month Poster Contest flyer 2020

February is Love My Bus Month!

Love my bus month graphic

February is Love My Bus Month and all month long the goal is to get students to love riding the bus to and from school. Encourage your child to ride the bus once a week or every day to decrease carpool line traffic around schools and around the City.

The school bus is important not only because it’ safe, cuts down on traffic congestion, and reduces air pollution, but riding the bus is also a time for students to bond with their peers and increases the likelihood that students will arrive at school on time and ready to learn!

School Bus Safety Tips

love my bus info

Benefits of a Safe Routes to School Program

Did you know that the City of Decatur has had a Safe Routes to School program since 2005? Initially the program was coordinated by volunteer parent committees at each school. However, beginning with the 2008-2009 school year, the Decatur Active Living Division took on the management and development of Decatur’s programs. Each month the parent “Champions” from each school meet with Decatur Active Living staff to share ideas, solve issues, and plan events and programs. We also work with staff from GA Safe Routes to School Resource Center and GA Commute Schools.

On International Walk and Roll to School Day in October 2019, 2556 children (or 64%) walked or biked to school! Our program keeps growing and includes all city of Decatur schools. Students at the high school work with GA Commute Schools to plan their own special walk to school and bike to school days, and even did a carpool day during the 2018-2019 school year.

Walking or biking to school has many benefits, as seen on the info-graphic below.

srp-benefits-infographic_final

We Love our Crossing Guards!

This is Crossing Guard Appreciation Week and the City of Decatur showed our 38 crossing guards some love!

The City held a breakfast for them this morning where they were recognized with certificates and a gift. Several schools also honored their crossing guards this morning with flowers and cards.

Next time you have a crossing guard to help you cross the street be sure to tell them how much you appreciate them! They are out early in the morning in all kinds of weather, then return mid afternoon and keep a smile on their face as they help children travel to and from school safely.

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For more photos of all of our crossing guards, visit facebook.com/decaturaactiveliving.

October 21 – 25 is School Bus Safety Week!

National School Bus Safety Week is October 21 – 25 and the theme is “My School Bus, The Safest Form of Student Transportation!

Held during the third full week of October each year, National School Bus Safety Week is an active and evolving public education program and an excellent way for parents, students, teachers, motorists, school bus operators, school administrators, and other interested parties – to join forces and address the importance of school bus safety. Designed to promote school bus safety, school districts throughout the country observe School Bus Safety Week.

For some tips on keeping your child safe on the bus, click here.

2016-winning-poster                                                         Photo from NAPT.org

How to Use a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon Safely

The City of Decatur three pedestrian hybrid beacons installed at busy crosswalks:

South Candler Street near Davis Street
Clairemont near the YMCA
Scott Boulevard at Westchester Elementary

The City is committed to improving the pedestrian, bicycle and Safe Routes to School networks throughout the City.

Bike Safety Poster Winners!

Each year the Safe Routes to School program has a bike safety poster contest for National Bike Month. Four winners are chosen from many entries and the students attend a City Commission meeting to present their present posters to the Commissioners.

Special thanks to Brian Dunne, owner of Bicycle South, who provided gift certificates to the winners.

Congratulations to our winners!
1st Place:   Sara Deshpande from Renfroe Middle School
2nd Place: Maggie McClung from F.Ave
3rd Place:  Ying Chan Abel from Clairemont Elementary
4th Place:  Haley Rogan from Glennwood Elementary

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And here are the winning posters!

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For more information about Decatur’s Safe Routes to School Program, visit http://www.decaturga.com/srts.

 

 

Safe Routes Champions of the Year!

 Due to their outstanding energy, creativity, love, and dedication, SRTS Parent Champions Steve Campbell, Kendall  Hamilton and Michelle Stevens at Westchester Elementary, aka the Bike Dudes, are Metro Atlanta Champions of the Year!

The three school Parent Champions at Westchester Elementary (aka the Bike Dudes) are full of energy and exude that energy to increase walking participation at the school. Westchester is located along a state route that sees a lot of traffic, along which many cars are speeding. Parents in the past have been afraid to allow their children to walk or bike to school. In the past few years that they have been the school champions they have come up with a route that takes students away from the state route and goes along a path behind the school. On walk days, each child is greeted by the “team” who are dressed for the occasion. Michelle has a stuffed animal, a wolf which is the school’s mascot, attached to her helmet. The others are also decked out. Each child who walks to school receives a marble that is then put into a clear cylinder. If the number of marbles reaches a certain line, the school receives 15 minutes of extra recess on Friday.

On Ga Walk & Roll Day and International Walk to School Day the school consistently has at least 60% participation.

They dress up and do skits at the community circles held on Friday mornings to encourage the students to participate. They are there to greet the students at the door not only on the “special” days, but at each month’s walk and roll day. For the Christmas holiday walk and roll, they had Santa and Mrs. Claus visit and be part of the skit at the community circle. The children were thrilled!”

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