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City seeks to promote safe school routes

POSTED May 17, 2011 3:28 p.m.


Safe Routes to Schools Program (SRTS) is a program that was established to create just what it sounds like — safe routes to public schools — and Great Bend is going to participate, or at least it will try to, the Great Bend City Council decided Monday night.
According to state information, SRTS was authorized in 2005, under the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Action.
City Engineer Robert Winiecke explained there are two phases to the SRTS program.
The first involves creating a SRTS plan for a community and the second involves actual improvements to the city infrastructure, such as sidewalk improvements.
In the resolution that was approved this week by the council, it was noted that the city would work together with USD 428 to seek grants for this work.
Information from the Kansas Department of Transportation explains areas that could be impacted by the project:
• Engineering – Creating operational and physical improvements to the infrastructure surrounding schools that reduce speeds and potential conflicts with motor vehicle traffic, and establish safer and fully accessible crossings, walkways, trails, and bikeways.
• Education – Teaching children about the broad range of transportation choices, instructing them in important lifelong bicycling and walking safety skills, and launching driver safety campaigns in the vicinity of schools.
• Enforcement – Partnering with local law enforcement to ensure traffic laws are obeyed in the vicinity of schools (this includes enforcement of speeds, yielding to pedestrians in crossings, and proper walking and bicycling behaviors), and initiating community enforcement such as crossing guard programs.
• Encouragement – Using events and activities to promote walking and bicycling.
• Evaluation – Monitoring and documenting outcomes and trends through the collection of data, including the collection of data before and after the intervention.
If the community is successful in receiving a grant, it would cover 100 percent of the approved project, the city engineer explained.

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