Local governments collaborate to get children to school safely

Safe Routes to Schools (SR2S) is a national movement that encourages kids to safely walk, bike, and roll to and from school. Using active means of transportation can help reduce obesity, offset rising transportation costs, reduce traffic congestion, and improve air quality.

Through SR2S, communities identify how they can make it possible for kids to safely walk or bicycle to school. Strategies include improving infrastructure, education, and community programs.

For example, installing stop signs, painting crosswalks, or adding signal lights to intersections improves safety. Driver awareness campaigns and Walk-to-School events also help spread awareness so that children, families, and community members become more comfortable with children walking and bicycling to school.

The Humboldt County Association of Governments (HCAOG), in collaboration with Redwood Community Action Agency (RCAA), has developed a regional "prioritization tool" for examining the complex needs to get kids to school safely in Humboldt County. The prioritization tool offers a method for determining which schools have the greatest need and capacity for carrying out SR2S programs. It’s a tool to prioritize schools for funding opportunities.

Through this project, HCAOG and RCAA also created a database of schools countywide, identified where they most need help, and recruited a Task Force to guide SR2S projects in the County. The tool can be found online at: http://www.hcaog.net/sites/default/files/hcaog_sr2s_admin_draft_report_and_appendices_10_1.pdf.

Learn more about Safe Routes to School (under "Projects") at www.hcaog.net. For more information about the SR2S Prioritization Tool, contact HCAOG (707) 444-8208, or e-mail oona.smith@hcaog.net.