Winans Elementary is a kindergarten through fourth grade school in Lansing, MI. A survey of the school’s parents revealed that safety concerns were a main reason for parents not wanting their children to walk to school. Working together, township officials, county police, parents and school staff applied for and received $456,000 in Safe Routes to School (SRTS) funding from the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) to create a SRTS program that improved student safety.
Of the grant money received from MDOT’s SRTS program, $11,000 will go toward education activities for children and parents. During the summer, students can participate in a teacher-led bicycle and rollerblade summer safety program. Notices regarding the program will be mailed to parents, and students attending daycare in the school building also will be encouraged to participate. During the school year, children will be given pedometers, which will be used in walking challenges and incorporated into math lessons. Additionally, educational information will be sent to parents to inform them of children’s pedestrian safety strategies and of the events that are taking place at the school.
The remaining $445,000 of the grant will go toward various infrastructure projects. One major project will be the construction of a pedestrian refugee island that students can use when crossing the street as they walk or bicycle to school. Typically, a refugee island is located in the middle of a street and simplifies crossing the road. By breaking the crossing into two stages, refugee islands improve pedestrian wait time, reduce crossing distance and focus pedestrians’ attention on one direction of traffic at a time. Additional projects include resurfacing and expanding a connector path around the school and constructing sidewalks at the main corridor of the school and in the neighborhood closest to the school. Project construction is to begin in summer 2008.
In the future, the school plans to construct sidewalks in more neighborhoods leading to the school and to continue providing educational information and activities to students and parents. Officials are waiting to measure the results of their SRTS projects before considering applying for more funding.
Phone: (517) 319-3023