The Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Plan provides a comprehensive approach to creating safe pathways for children to travel by foot or bike between home, school, and recreational facilities. The trail system is designed to get children safely from point A to point B and to encourage all residents to rediscover the healthy benefits of living an active lifestyle, reduce the community’s reliance on cars for short trips, and improve air quality.
As part of the planning process, Lochmueller Group addressed the Five E’s that are key to overcoming physical and perceived barriers that typically hinder implementation of such plans:
Education – Provide students, parents, and drivers with the knowledge to identify safety issues and provide the skills to cope with them.
Encouragement – Develop and identify activities that promote walking to school as a fun activity that will help increase the popularity of the program.
Engineering – Proper engineering of trails, sidewalks, and crosswalks that creates safer conditions for walking and biking as well as influence the way people behave.
Enforcement – Identify enforcement mechanisms that improve driver behavior, help children follow traffic rules, and increase driver awareness of pedestrians and bicyclists.
Evaluation – Document the progress of the program to help the city to understand the effectiveness of instituted activities and projects. For many cities that have followed the Five E protocol, the evaluation process has led to increased funding for further trail and sidewalk connectivity.
The plan resulted in the design of 11 miles of trails and 6 miles of bike lanes, ensuring that every resident of the City will be within a mile of a bike lane or trail. The trail and bike path system is separated into 20 segments, making it easier for the City to construct the system as funding becomes available.