Traffic waits as bicyclists cross Anderson Road on Eighth Street after school on Wednesday afternoon. A Street Smarts audit will gather data on local traffic patterns in an attempt to map out safe routes to Davis schools. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo

Local News

Bike/walk audits will examine routes to schools

By From page A3 | March 19, 2013

Students and parents are invited to participate in a series of bike/walk audits at local elementary and junior high schools over the next few weeks. The process began Monday night with an orientation session at the Davis Senior Center.

The idea is make it easier for students to bike and walk to school by learning about what route students take, what problems they may encounter along the way (uneven sidewalks, difficult intersections, heavy traffic) and the condition of the racks where students park their bikes.

“We hope that you will join us to discuss how to make walking and bicycling safer, easier and more accessible for youth and families,” said Jennifer Donlon-Wynant, an organizer of the project. “The schedule for all 11 audits, information about the project, and an online interactive map where you can show us your route to school and provide community feedback are all available at www.street-smarts.cityofdavis.org/saferoutes.”

City and school district leaders are working with the consulting firm Alta Planning to conduct two or three school audits a week between now and early May. Recommendations will then be developed to make improvements.

“We want the report with recommendations for improvements to be ‘grant-ready’ so that these projects will be ready to go when funding becomes available,” Donlon-Wyant said.

Results of these audits will be used as part of the city’s long-term transportation planning strategies to implement positive changes in neighborhoods adjacent to schools. The goal is to provide safe and fun routes to schools that promote walking and biking as primary modes of transportation.

The project is being funded through a Caltrans Safe Routes to School grant, which covers grades K-8. (A separate audit may be done later for campuses serving high school students.) Donlon-Wyant stressed that while the words “Safe Routes to School” are in the grant title, the project involves all aspects of walking and biking to school, including bike parking on campus or near campus, so she encouraged students and parents to share their thoughts.

Audits are planned at 7:45 a.m. at:

* Birch Lane Elementary, April 15;

* Chávez Elementary, April 18;

* Emerson/Da Vinci Junior High: May 17 (7:30 a.m.);

* Harper Junior High, May 10 (7:30 a.m.);

* Holmes Junior High, May 7 (7:30 a.m.);

* Korematsu Elementary, May 16;

* Montgomery Elementary, May 14;

* North Davis Elementary, April 12;

* Patwin Elementary, April 9;

* Pioneer Elementary, April 11; and

* Willett Elementary, May 9.

Jeff Hudson

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