Fairview Park plans to make walking to school safer

January 26, 2014 by  

Efforts in the area are ongoing to obtain funds from a grant called ‘Safe Routes to School’, which is federally funded but overseen by the state, with a meeting held last month to seek local opinions.

Early in 2013, a Fairview Park resident asked the city to make the walk to Gilles-Sweet Elementary School safer for pedestrians, and that request turned into a citywide project to improve the streets.

The effort began with committee meetings in which school and government officials, as well as concerned citizens and members of the county board of health, met to compile data on the patterns of vehicular and pedestrian traffic near three schools in Fairview Park. The Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program demands research be undertaken to determine where funds can be used most effectively.

Matt Hrubey, a city official, has been the leader in the effort and held a public meeting on December 16, seeking residents’ input. He noted the city had been working on the project for several months, and wanted to ensure things were on the right track. Hrubey said the meeting gave residents an opportunity to voice either their support or their concerns.

The project calls for both infrastructure and non-infrastructure improvements. Among improvements to the infrastructure are new sidewalks in some areas, bike racks, signals activated by pedestrians, and warning signs. Non-infrastructure proposals involve educational programs about traffic safety, bicycle safety, and the proper use of helmets.

City officials could work with brochure printers to create a mailer for residents, explaining the program, and asking once again for their input.