Denton hires Safe Routes To School consultant

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On June 15, 2010, Denton signed a $10,000, 2-month contract with engineering firm Freese & Nichols to prepare a new plan for a Safe Routes To School program at elementary and middle schools.

This plan will cite areas around each school that require attention for crossing of barriers and provision of sidewalks or other safety measures to encourage walking or bicycling to school for households within one mile of school.

In addition to interviewing each of the 20 elementary school administrators, the consultant will identify and prioritize the following barriers to walking and bicycle within one mile of the school:

  • Missing or insufficient walkways (sidewalks and paths)
  • No safe place to ride a bike to school
  • Crossing streets and intersections are difficult or dangerous (volumes, speeds, control)
  • A major roadway or expressway divides the school from residential areas
  • Walkways are not accessible to students with disabilities
  • Bike parking at school is missing, insufficient or non-secure
  • Public safety concerns (crime, violence)
  • School or local policies negatively impact pedestrians and bicyclists

This project is an undoubtedly good move for Denton, although we realize that plans can be ignored or require additional planning.  The real kicker is how the city will (or won’t) fund the final recommendations.  We hope that the final recommendations will include formation of an ongoing Safe Routes program for Denton and not just a one-time analysis.  The national Safe Routes website explains how to set up a successful program, and as you can read, it ties together folks from all parts of a community to work continuously towards improvement.

Did you notice that Krum recently received $1,000,000 in Safe Routes funding?  They must have applied for funding from the $54 million that Texas distributed this year for Safe Routes.  Let’s hope that this consulting plan gets us closer to applying for funds of our own, because I must admit, we weren’t expecting a Krum to lead the local mobility charge.  Like all those cities that applied for the $54 million in 2009, we need a shovel-ready plan.

Key players:

Frank Payne, city engineer, frank.payne@cityofdenton.com

Kevin St. Jacques, Freese & Nichols senior transportation planner, krs@freese.com

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4 thoughts on “Denton hires Safe Routes To School consultant

  1. stearns says:

    What’s crappy is that they will have a “safe route” to the elementary schools but will not teach the children how to ride their bikes safely. I also think they should expand the safe routs to the middle and high schools. With the obesity problem you’d think they would want to promote more physical activity. Also there are usually middle schools close to elementary schools so I would think that it wouldn’t be too hard to expand the program.

  2. howard says:

    The contract states that they are working with both elementary and middle schools. Agreed on the high-schools, though.

  3. Jennifer Lane says:

    Is anything being done about the minimum length of traffic lights when only cycles are present?

  4. Dav says:

    Hopefully the fruits of this plan are implemented and our youth are allowed self-sufficiency and safety when going to school. Here’s an article summarizing some controversy in London on this issue: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1292642/SANDRA-PARSONS-Why-I-let-year-old-cycle-school-.html#ixzz0syNKx8KN
    In addition to safety and self-sufficiency, safe routes to school can also help normalize multi-modal transit in our youth and move society in a sustainable direction.

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