The curb extensions on Clement Ave. At Wilbur St. were finished just in time for school to start. Students, parents, the school crossing guard and morning commuters on Clement all have now gotten used to the new safety feature to get used to. To celebrate we held a ribbon cutting and Walk to School Day. While engineering improvements like the new curb extensions are important, it is more effective to leverage investments in infrastructure with campaigns to educate and encourage people about the rules of the road. Any traffic safety equation requires all the E’s: Engineering, Encouragement, Education, Enforcement of laws and Evaluation to see how if safety was actually improved. Together, the five E’s can be extremely effective in making it safer for kids to get to school thus increasing the number of parents who feel safe awaking with or allowing their child to walk to school.
This past week our Safe Routes to School staff taught all the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders the 2 hour Walking Wisdom course. It covers everything a kid needs to know about walking safety including an actual walk outside practicing crossing streets under guidance of our staff.
Clement Ave School hosted their Walk to School Day on Friday, October 30th, just barely sneaking it in to celebrate as part of Wisconsin Walks Month.
Next step will be Evaluation. We are sending our Parent Surveys and doing Student Travel Tallies and comparing them to past data to hopefully see an increase in the amount of walkers and bikers and Big Wheelers.
I asked a few parents today about the traffic and they all noticeably said it was less congested than normal. First step is showing them what is possible! I mentioned our Winter Walk to School day and they shuddered thinking of the cold to come, but once our bodies adjust and we get warm while walking it will become 2nd nature at Clement Ave!
Very many thanks to Alderman Tony Zeilinksi, City Bike and Pedestrian Program Manager Kristin Bennett, Clement Avenue School Principal Dr. Steve Carnes, the Clement Ave PTO and Phy Ed teacher Ms. Stankus and the crossing guard Kim Kostello out there everyday keeping the kids safe!
To review the rules for approaching a marked or unmarked crosswalk, we have pulled the following from our our Share & Be Aware pages:
Many drivers don’t realize that they have to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk. Many pedestrians don’t realize this either and are very timid when they need to cross the street. Drivers are required by law to yield the right of way to pedestrians in a marked and unmarked crosswalk. The illustration to the left shows 3 different types of crosswalks, two have pavement markings and one does not.
Motorists should watch ahead for pedestrians at or approaching the curb and slow or stop to allow people to cross the street. As soon as a person puts a foot off the curb, they are in the crosswalk and should be allowed to cross the street.
Many people are timid pedestrians and wait minutes until the entire road is clear of cars before they attempt to cross even though they have a legal right to cross the street. Other times people will dash across to fit in a smaller gap, assuming the cars will not slow or stop for them. Pedestrians cannot legally dart into traffic, and must give motorists appropriate and safe distance to stop before stepping off the curb, but they need not be wait forever. A good rule of thumb for a safe stopping distance on a street with a speed limit of 30mph or lower is half a block. Once there is a safe gap, a person should step off the curb and begin walking assertively across the street.
Pedestrians can even signal their intention to cross the street, but should remain vigilant in case the motorist does not stop.