Safe Routes to School

Ensuring the Safety of our School Children

The City is doing its part to improve the safety of Glendale’s school-aged children when walking and bicycling to and from school by implementing a comprehensive Be Street Smart Glendale Safe Routes to School Program (SRTS) in 21 elementary and 4 middle schools. The SRTS Program is funded by a $500,000 grant awarded to Glendale through the Federal Cycle 3 Safe Routes to School Program to implement a Non-Infrastructure Safe Routes to School Program.

The purpose of the Be Street Smart Glendale SRTS Program is:

  • to encourage more students and parents to walk or bike to school and educate them about the proper and safe way to do so
  • to raise awareness among all motorists about the role they play in being responsible and careful drivers, in particular when traveling near schools and school children

The SRTS Program incorporates the Four E’s: Education, Encouragement, Enforcement and Evaluation, in keeping with best practices in Safe Routes to School programs nationwide.

Education & Encouragement

The cornerstones of the Be Street Smart Glendale SRTS Program are education and encouragement: educating students, parents, teachers, and school administrators and staff about pedestrian and bicycle safety and encouraging school children to walk and bike to and from school more often. The many events, activities and materials are intended to teach the school children of Glendale – in grade level, easy-to-understand methods – how to be safe pedestrians and bicyclists. See the Calendar of Events for planned activities and events which include:

International Walk to School Day occurs every October and it’s an opportunity for all Glendale elementary and middle schools to participate in the effort to raise awareness about the benefits and ease of walking to school and the need for the driving public to be alert and mindful of walking students. Each school prepares walking route maps, students create posters and banners, and the entire school – parents, teachers and administrators – takes part.
These workshops engage students in interactive learning, challenging their critical skills as it relates to their bicycling and pedestrian behaviors – not just between home and school, but also in their neighborhoods, around the city and anywhere they walk or bike. Students learn about the rules of the road for pedestrians and bicyclists, the meaning of traffic signs and signals, proper helmet fitting and use, safe places to walk or bike, as well as the benefits of walking and biking on their health and the environment.
“Hands-on” rodeos allow children and teens to experience traffic situations as pedestrians and bicyclists in a traffic simulations course called Safe Moves City – a miniature city that simulates “real-world” situations with streets, sidewalks, intersections, buildings, schools, houses, vehicles, bike lanes, and traffic signals which students must navigate. Age-appropriate lessons plans support the hands-on experience.
A walking school bus is a group of children walking to school with one or more adults. If that sounds simple, it is, and that’s part of the beauty of the walking school bus. It can be as informal as two families taking turns walking their children to school to as structured as a route with meeting points, a timetable and a regularly rotated schedule of trained volunteers. A variation on the walking school bus is the bicycle train, in which adults supervise children riding their bikes to school. The flexibility of the walking school bus makes it appealing to communities of all sizes with varying needs. Working with elementary schools, the SRTS Program will organize Walking School Buses and Bicycle Trains at least once a month to encourage students and families to walk and bike to school more often. Armed with walking and biking route maps to make travelling safe and convenient as well as banners and signs, students, parents and teachers draw the attention of nearby motorists while at the same time participate in healthy activity.
Understanding that parents serve as positive role models, their active participation is critical to ensuring that children understand and practice safe behaviors while walking or biking to school and when they’re away from the school setting. The interactive workshops educate parents on the basics of bicycle and pedestrian safety, general bike maintenance and bike helmet use, including fitting and adjustment. The workshops are often a refresher of the rules of the road for many parents who perhaps haven’t been on a bike in a while or need a reminder on the proper and safe way to cross the street.
Train the Trainer sessions will use a standardized methodology to train other interested parties, such as parents, PTA members and leaders, high school and college students, and community safety advocates, so they can in turn share their learning with others. The sessions provide a step-by-step approach to implement a sustainable and successful pedestrian and bicycle safety program, which can be tailored for each school and grade level.

Enforcement

Working closely with the Glendale Police Department, the SRTS Program monitors school pick-up and drop-off areas, analyzes crash data, and observes crossing guard sites to identify unsafe student/parent and driver behavior, and assess the needs for enforcement activities and education outreach and materials.

Evaluation

Each school year, parents and teachers take a survey at the beginning of the school year then again at the end to determine the commuting habits and trends of the students in their school and how those have changed over the course of the school year. Utilizing a standard federal SRTS survey instrument, the data helps the City determine changes in school travel modes, trip distances as well as how many students walk or bike to school and how often. In the summer/fall of 2016, the “pre” survey was conducted in Glendale elementary and middle schools with the “post” survey taking place in late spring 2017 after SRTS Program activities have taken place in schools.