Selecting design treatments for school neighborhoods addresses the needs of all: walkers, bicyclists, bus drivers and motorists. A well-designed network of streets and sidewalks reduces conflict, providing students with safe routes to school whether they are walking, bicycling or riding. Signs, paint on the road and artful approaches can make schools zones stand out, encouraging motorists to be on their best behavior. Infrastructure upgrades can improve conditions for walking and bicycling to school, and even lead to reduced traffic speeds in school zones.
The development of a School Travel Plan, with a community working group committed to SRTS, is one of the building blocks for a successful SRTS program. Just as a master plan describes a community’s long term blueprint for the future, a school travel plan is a blueprint that describes how your program will improve the walking and bicycling experience of students and parents traveling to and from school. A School Travel Plan identifies the changes that will allow students to walk and bike safely as well as the goals and measures associated with the implementation of your program.
Ideal conditions for school-aged pedestrians include low volumes of traffic moving at slow speeds, sidewalks and separation from traffic. According to Safe Kids World- wide, children do not develop the skills they need to correctly gauge the speed of vehicles until at least age 10. Providing facilities for young walkers not only addresses their needs but can help make children’s movements more predictable to motorists.
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School aged-pedestrians feel most comfortable and safe when bicycling to school on roadways with low traffic volumes where vehicles are traveling at low speeds. Bike paths that separate the bicyclist from motor vehicle traffic are ideal for a school neighborhood. Roadways optimized for bicyclists, such as bike boulevards, can be another alternative.
Click to view more types of Bicycle Design Solutions (PDF).
Traffic calming measures can be categorized into volume control or speed control. Volume control targets minimizing volume or cut-through traffic thorough restricted turns, roadway closures or median barriers. Speed control measures include passive concepts such as gateways or streetscape that changes a driver’s perception of a corridor and active concepts that force a driver to physically alter their travel path and slow down.
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To download a copy of the document, click Engineering and Design Solutions for SRTS (PDF)