St. John, KS – “The new sidewalk along First Street makes me feel safer about letting my son walk or ride to school, I just wish the sidewalk went all the way to the school for our children walking, said Randee Olive, a local St. John parent.
With the start of the school year, parents are aware about the lack of safety for children walking to school. According to the CDC, 20% of children under the age of 14 who were killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians in 2013.
With the help of Live Well Stafford County (LWSC) volunteers, Walk Audits were conducted in four local communities to identify unsafe, missing and broken sidewalks.
High-concern, low-safety areas included:
- Stafford: Main Street and Broadway Street
- St. John: sections of First, Third and Main Streets
- Macksville: Main Street and Gilmore Avenue
- Hudson: Main Street and View Street
A map highlights commonly traveled pedestrian and walk-to school routes that is being used for the Master Bike and Walk Plan created for St. John and Stafford. The Plan encompasses sidewalk infrastructure, proposed bike lanes and curb extensions.
“Making these improvements to our sidewalks will make it safer and more inviting for kids to walk to school. We’re already seeing, though, that it’s not just kids who benefit. Almost every evening I’ve driven by the new sidewalk on 1st Street I’ve seen senior citizens, and in particular those in wheelchairs utilizing it,” said Carolyn Dunn, Executive Director of Stafford Economic Development and Leadership Team member for Live Well Stafford County.
Here are four lifesaving tips from the National Center for Safe Routes to School:
- Train children to cross the street safely:
- Stop at the curb.
- Look left, right, left, behind and in front.
- Wait until no traffic is coming to cross.
- Keep looking for traffic while crossing.
- Walk across the street, do not run.
- Have a parent or responsible person walk with young children. Not only for safety reasons but it is a nice way to get exercise and spend time together.
- Pre-plan a daily walking route away from busy streets and in low speed areas. Trace the steps from home to school, looking for potential dangers or rush hour. Always have the child use the same route every day. Avoid crossing highways and busy streets.
- Wear bright-colored clothing or reflective gear. Drivers often do not watch out for pedestrians.
About Live Well Stafford County
Live Well Stafford County is a volunteer-based health coalition dedicated to improving the health of all Stafford County residents by building local infrastructure that supports walking and biking to maximize safety, economic, accessibility and environmental benefits. LWSC is invested in community education to promote healthy lifestyles and improve the overall quality of life for all residents.