Denver’s Safe Routes To School (SRTS) program use a variety of strategies to improve the ability for children to safely walk and bicycle to school. Many Denver schools struggle with traffic congestion and environmental pollution. Additionally, an increasing number of children in our communities engage in less daily physical activity, contributing to Denver’s growing childhood obesity epidemic. Successful SRTS programs involve the whole community - parents, children, schools, the city, residents, neighborhoods, non-profit organizations and public health agencies.
SRTS programming utilizes a Coalition made up of partners from Denver Environmental Health, Denver Public Schools, Denver Public Health, Denver Public Works, Bicycle Colorado, BikeDenver, Safe Routes to Schools National Partnership, Walk Denver, Livewell Colorado and others. Together, this Coalition is actively working to develop systematic programming so that all Denver communities can achieve state and regional Safe Routes to Schools goals.
The approach used in Denver is modeled after many successful programs around the country that use the 5 E’s (Education, Encouragement, Engineering, Enforcement, and Evaluation). Available in Spanish, here. This approach ensures the program works across the entire system since one “E” alone cannot create lasting change.
If you are interested in bringing SRTS grant funding to your school, learn more about the process at the Colorado Department of Transportation website. Keep in mind that a motivated parent or school employee can start encouraging students to bike and walk without funding.
Share Concerns with Your School or the City - To report concerns or questions about SRTS related issues within Denver or at your school, contact 311. Within Denver, dial 3-1-1. Outside of Dever, dial 720-913-1311. It is important to be specific with the concern, such as explaining why a specific intersection is dangerous.
The following example illustrates what is helpful: At the intersection of Fake Street and Made Up Avenue, there is only a stop sign for east and west travelers. Children try to cross the street here and have a difficult time because north south drivers do not have to stop.
Examples of what to report:
In the Cory-Merrill neighborhood an active parent has organized “Walk Safely to School Days” where the community comes together to walk their children to school. She engaged local City CouncilmanPaul Kashman, and Denver Police Department to raise awareness for Safe Routes to School around the school’s campus. She also took the initiative to sell “Drive Like Your Kids Live Here” signs to parents of the students at the local elementary school to remind commuters to slow down! Way to go Cory-Merrill!
The West Colfax Re-Design Project has engaged local partners to help assess and lobby for improved infrastructure improvements near Cheltenham Elementary. CU planning students conducted a walk audit surrounding the school andthe West Colfax Business Improvement District haspartnered with Denver Public Sschools to collect data and make a case for infrastructure improvements. This is just the beginning of the process, and they are offto a great start!
Next meeting is January 13, 2016 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Department of Environmental Health, 200 W 14th Ave, 2nd Floor, Grand Mesa.