Safe Routes Snapshots: Columbia, South Carolina — A Comprehensive SRTS Program at Rosewood Elementary School

Background

Rosewood Elementary School in Columbia, SC, has approximately 400 students in kindergarten through fifth grade. In 2006, a Rosewood Elementary teacher, who also is a parent, noticed on her morning walks to school with her daughter that cars were driving too fast in front of the school.

Almost weekly the teacher witnessed cars running the red light at one of the school's main intersections. The teacher heard about Safe Routes to School (SRTS), and with help from a SRTS planning committee, she worked to develop and implement SRTS activities at Rosewood Elementary.

Details

In October 2007, Rosewood Elementary received a $200,000 grant from the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT). Recognizing the need to work collaboratively to decide how to spend the funds effectively, a committee was established of parents, teachers, members from the school administration and the school nurse. Together, the committee has been designing and implementing a comprehensive SRTS program encompassing each of the five E's: education, encouragement, engineering, enforcement and evaluation.

The committee sends flyers with safety information to the students' homes and makes informative announcements over the school's public address system to help educate students and parents on safety. The committee also is incorporating bicycle and pedestrian safety information into the classroom activities.

As for enforcement, in 2006, law enforcement officers increased their patrolling of the streets surrounding the school after parents informed the officers of concerns regarding speeding cars. Since this time, law enforcement officers have become a regular presence around the school during morning arrival and afternoon dismissal to enforce school zone speed limits.

The school plans to survey the parents and students to gather their opinions on the SRTS program throughout the various stages of implementation. In addition, parents will be asked about the barriers of walking to school and how these barriers should be addressed.

Teachers also will contribute to the evaluation efforts by conducting in-class tallies to measure the different modes in which the students travel to and from school.

Results

Rosewood Elementary has succeeded in its early SRTS efforts, even garnering local television media attention. Based upon parent reports, the increased patrolling of the streets surrounding Rosewood Elementary has slowed traffic. Parents report that while driving, they are more aware of oncoming bicyclists and pedestrians. Pieces of the SRTS program, such as Walking Fridays, already are implemented and the students' excitement to walk to school has increased.

Contact

Tracy Shaw
Rosewood Elementary School
3000 Rosewood Dr
Columbia, SC 29205
Phone: (803) 343-2930

Listen to a new NCSRTS podcast featuring Tracy Shaw from Columbia, South Carolina, at our podcast library.