Safe Routes To School: A Band-Aid for the Last 60 Years of Planning Around the Vehicle

The following post was written over three years ago today. As school starts back up across the nation, it is important to consider how our kids get to school. Safety has to always come first as a parent, but the hidden safety factor of our children’s health must also be considered. Walking to school is a very simple and effective way for our kids to get their necessary daily exercise.

Urban Landscapes

Safe Routes To School is a government initiative created in 2006 that “assists communities in enabling and encouraging children to safely walk and bike to school.”  There are very good reasons for this initiative because for most schools, children walking to school is like rolling the dice with safety.  Part of the problem is the nature of the schools themselves and their desire to have frontage on not one, but TWO collector streets for access and visibility.

The primary issue that I see happens to also be one of the fundamental contributors to sprawl, our road classification system.  Our classification system in the United States was created in an effort to reduce congestion.  It creates a series of loops and lollipops for the “local” streets in subdivisions with typically two options for getting in and out of the subdivision.  Instead of the historic grid and network of streets…

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One Comment

  1. We’re experiencing this tension first-hand in here in Albuquerque, NM. As parents and neighbors of a middle school founded in 1938, we’re chagrined to see its slide from a “neighborhood school” to one comprised of nearly 50% transfer students from out of district. I have no inherent objection to making a good school available city-wide, except that now the local school board wants to construct a 24′ wide blacktop “loop” road around the perimeter of the campus in an effort to more efficiently “stack” morning and afternoon traffic. Of course, the new loop road lies smack in the middle of the path of the few remaining neighborhood kids that do enter the campus on footpaths. It’s infuriating, and the school district has zero interest in collaborating with parents and neighbors to find an alternative solution. We’re on the losing end of the national trend, I suppose. Check out our web site if you’re interested, http://www.HaltTheLoop.com. Thanks!

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