One of the main bits of feedback that we receive through community engagement is that students would benefit from having designated routes to school. A route to school is designated when:
- It has been identified by the school community as a popular route.
- It can be easily identified through physical changes (e.g. wayfinding signs).
We call routes to school “Student Streets”, and designating them serves several purposes including:
- having an area of focus for safety improvements,
- increasing the amount of students walking along the same route,
- helping new active travelers identify common routes to school.
How we do it
Step 1: Identify Routes
With the School Walk Community Engagement tool, we learn how students get to school by having them draw their route on a map. To supplement this, we conduct on ground observation to learn not just the streets they travel on, but how they travel on those streets. This includes the side of the road they walk/wheel on, where they like to cross, and how they interact with other modes of transportation. Through both of these processes, we gain an understanding of the routes that are being used.
Step 2: Verify Routes
This step involves further community engagement to make sure that we got it right. There are two components of verifying routes. The first is a secondary survey to the school community that presents the main routes we have identified and asks them to confirm their route or suggest different routes. The second component is walking/biking these routes with students, so that they have an opportunity to show us the routes they take and what they like and dislike about them.
Step 3: Flag Locations of Concern
Through prior engagement, we already have a solid understanding of where and how students travel to school. We also have a good understanding of the barriers they are facing along the way. Now that we know there are barriers along a school route, we consult with the school community to learn what they would like to see changed, and work with them to engage the right folks within the City to make this happen. Step 3 is an ongoing process, as locations of concern are constantly changing.
Step 4: Designate Routes
There are many different ways to designate Student Streets. Initially, we place wayfinding materials along them, and indicate the routes on our interactive map.